Spring Fever by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Lord Shorthands (aka Shorty) needs 200 pounds so he can marry his cook but he's competing with his own butler for her affections. Mike Cardinal wants to marry Teresa Cobbold, Shorty's daughter, but she thinks he's a player. Standwood Cobbold wants to marry the actress Eileen Stoker but his father won't hear of it. Throw in a valuable stamp, imposters, mistaken identity, and a domineering daughter and watch the chaos ensue...
I've been feeling crabby and directionless lately so I picked up a P.G. Wodehouse novel and started reading a couple days ago. While I'm still somewhat crabby and directionless, I'm also working a lot of 1930's British slang into my regular routine. The point is, I'd enjoy reading P.G. Wodehouse even if I was simultaneously hacksawing one of my own legs off.
Spring Fever was written during the apex of Wodehouse's career and it shows. Wodehouse maneuvers his characters through the story like a puppeteer. The plot twists are impeccably timed, hitting at the end of the chapters and making the book very nearly unputdownable.
Wodehouse is a writer firmly in the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it school." While he's worked from the same plot for nearly all of his books, it's always a pleasure to see what new wrinkles he adds to the old situations. I loved that Mike Cardinal's butler used to be a safecracker, that Shorty's butler has a gambling problem, and that Teresa Cobbold is a strong willed female cast from the same mold as a lot of other Wodehouse heroines.
The wordplay is a huge draw from me in Wodehouse books and this one was no exception, from the antiquated British slang to the insults to throwaway refences to the elder Cobbold's secretarie's shorthand resembling pneumonia germs, Spring Fever has a high grins per page rating.
While it's not a Jeeves or Blandings Castle book, Spring Fever is firmly a top shelf Wodehouse. If you want to see the master of the comedic novel at the top of his game, look no further.
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