Bill the Conqueror by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Felicia Sheridan is in love with Bill West but engaged to Roderick Pyke. Bill, meanwhile, is engaged to Alice Coker and is dragging her brother Judson to London to keep him out of trouble while he checks on his uncle's holdings. Bill's wealthy uncle Cooley Paradene has had the misfortune of adopting a young son who's in league with criminals intending to rob him. Let's see Wodehouse resolve all those plot threads and bring Bill and Felicia together...
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this is my favorite non-series Wodehouse book. It as all the Wodehouse trademarks: overbearing relatives, shiftless layabouts, imposters, engagements, alcohol, and dry British wit. This one is longish for a Wodehouse story and fills that extra bit with last minute plot twists. You get phony kidnappings, blackmail, swindles, and lots of witty banter, all crammed into less than 400 pages of hilarious prose.
The only recurring Wodehouse character, that slime ball Percy Pilbeam, is in fine form, though he doesn't do as much as he does in later appearances. Bill West is a typical Wodehouse hero; not too handsome or smart but able to get the job done. Felicia, or Flick, as she is sometimes called, is feisty and has more than her share of the funny lines, although my favorite comes from Judson Coker. "You look like a Sunday in Pittsburgh," or something to that affect.
If you like your books humorous, you can't go wrong with Wodehouse and this book would be a good intro to his work. Every romantic comedy every made could justifiably give P.G. 1% of the gross. He's still the master of the genre 35 years after his death.
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