Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse – review

Published by Arrow

Publication date – 28 June 2018

Source – review copy

‘Jeeves, of course, is a gentleman’s gentleman, not a butler, but if the call comes, he can buttle with the best of them.’

Bertie’s friend ‘Stinker Pinker’ needs his help. But helping his friend means venturing back into the dreaded Totleigh Towers and facing Sir Watkyn Bassett, his ghastly daughter Madeline and would-be dictator Roderick Spode once more. Despite having sworn never to set foot in there again, Bertie, true to form, answers the call of friendship.

But even the best laid plans can go awry and, as usual, the only one who can set this frightful adventure straight is Jeeves.

Read more on the Penguin website.

Bertie Wooster is visited at his club by his old friend Stinker Pinker. Stinker it would seem, is worried that his amour, Stiffy is going off him, so asks Bertie, who wouldn’t seem like anyone’s first choice to dabble in relationship counselling, to help. At first he refuses, given Stiffy is staying at her uncle’s house at Totleigh Towers, where Bertie is persona non grata following a misunderstanding with a stolen object d’art. However, circumstances conspire to find Bertie at the Towers. And soon things start to go in such a direction that only Jeeves can fix.

This is the first P.G. Wodehouse I have read. I picked it up with the intention of just reading a few pages to get a feel for the novel. I soon found myself chuckling away to Bertie’s narrative, the idiosyncracies of his relationship with Jeeves a joy to read.

Behind the steely, subdued exterior of Jeeves there lurks a sharp brain and an even sharper tongue. His job is less man-servant, more babysitter in some respects. He is there to ensure Bertie doesn’t dig himself into too deep a hole, and does an admirable job of hiding his master’s ineptness from the man himself.

This time Bertie is endeavouring to help an old friend save his engagement. What Bertie doesn’t foresee is that he will be accused of being a thief, again, and have to dodge a betrothal of his own, not to mention a dog who attacks first and asks questions later.

There are a rag-tag assortment of characters, all wonderfully villanous, inept, conniving and madcap in turn. There are also some wonderful turns of phrase and word play that make the reader laugh out loud. It’s apparent that Wodehouse had fun when he wrote these novels.

It’s farcical, frenetic at some point and highly entertaining, I’ll be turning to Jeeves and Wooster again when I need to escape the real world for a while.

About the author

Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (always known as ‘Plum’) wrote more than ninety novels and some three hundred short stories over 73 years. He is widely recognised as the greatest 20th-century writer of humour in the English language.

Perhaps best known for the escapades of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, Wodehouse also created the world of Blandings Castle, home to Lord Emsworth and his cherished pig, the Empress of Blandings. His stories include gems concerning the irrepressible and disreputable Ukridge; Psmith, the elegant socialist; the ever-so-slightly-unscrupulous Fifth Earl of Ickenham, better known as Uncle Fred; and those related by Mr Mulliner, the charming raconteur of The Angler’s Rest, and the Oldest Member at the Golf Club.

In 1936 he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for ‘having made an outstanding and lasting contribution to the happiness of the world’. He was made a Doctor of Letters by Oxford University in 1939 and in 1975, aged 93, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He died shortly afterwards, on St Valentine’s Day.

This was book 6 in my #20BooksofSummer challenge.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. I do love the Jeeves and Wooster books – such fun!

    Like

    1. janetemson says:

      This really was fun. I’ll have to read some more of them now!

      Liked by 1 person

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