Jeeves in the Morning by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The 2012 re-read:
Bertie Wooster, with Jeeves in tow, is dragooned into visiting Steeple Bumpleigh, home of Aunt Agatha and her husband, Lord Worplesdon. Bertie soon walks into a web of broken engagements, arson, and delightfully horrible misunderstandings, including an engagement to Florence Craye. Can Jeeves extricate Wooster from what will be known as The Steeple Bumpleigh Horror?
Of course he can. See how Jeeves' head bulges out in the back? That's where his extra brain power comes from.
This book is a great example of how Wodehouse mines rich veins of comedic gold from the same old formula in almost every book. Nobby Hopwood, Worplesdon's ward, is engaged to Bertie's friend Boko Fiddleworth. Stilton Cheesewright, the local constable and an old classmate of Bertie's, is betrothed to Bertie's former fiancee Florence Craye. Lord Worplesdon is in the process of a merger between his shipping company and that of J. Chichester Clam, an American shipping magnate. Throw in a boyscout named Edwin whose hash everyone is dying to see settled and there you are. All the pieces are in place and Bertie is tossed into the mix. You know everything will turn out okay but it's a lot of fun getting there.
As always, Wodehouse weaves a web of whit along the way to the happy resolution. I'm partial to “When a girl uses six derogatory adjectives in her attempt to paint the portrait of the loved one, it means something. One may indicate a merely temporary tiff. Six is big stuff.” and “It is true of course, that I have a will of iron, but it can be switched off if the circumstances seem to demand it.”
Any complaints? Only that this was a re-read and I wasn't experiencing this comedic gem for the first time. While I didn't remember every wrinkle of the story, I did remember most of the pivotal ones. Still, you can't go wrong with Jeeves when you want some dry whit.
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