Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ice in the Bedroom

Ice in the BedroomIce in the Bedroom by P.G. Wodehouse

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Freddie Widgeon needs money so he can invest in a coffee plantation and marry Sally Foster. Too bad Soapy Molloy swindled him out of his life savings. Soapy and his wife, Dolly, are looking to recover some jewelry they stole that's stashed in a country house, a country house currently occupied by Sally's employer, novelist Leila Yorke. Will Freddie be able to navigate the labyrinth of complications P.G. Wodehouse throws in his way and get the girl?

Ice in the Bedroom was written in P.G. Wodehouse's declining years but that doesn't mean it's not a great time. All the classic Wodehouse plot elements are here. We've got the jeopardized engagement between Freddie and Sally, imposters Soapy and Dolly Molloy, misunderstandings, lost loves, and a lot of dry British wit.

Leila Yorke, the novelist coming to idyllic Valley Fields to write a novel, is now one of my favorite Wodehouse characters, and I fear this is her only appearance. She's tough, ballsy, and isn't afraid to fire a shotgun. She also constantly says hilarious things, like "Pass me that champagne. Mustn't let it congeal." I'm also sad that Soapy and Dolly Molloy and their uneasy ally, seedy detective Chimp Twist, aren't in more of Wodehouse's books, although Chimp and the Molloys are in at least one other book whose name escapes me at the moment.

Freddie and Sally are the leading characters and are actually the characters I found the least interesting, since they are fairly typical for Wodehouse leads. He's not all that bright and she's a pretty tough cookie.

Like I said, there is a lot to like about Ice in the Bedroom. Wodehouse weaves a serpentine plot but everything comes together nicely at the end and it's a fun journey. I wouldn't start your Wodehouse experience with this book but it's definitely on par with a lot of his earlier works.

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