June 11, 2004

Much Obliged, Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse

It's only fair to say that I was under the influence of a lingering sinus infection when I read this book, and this might have jaundiced my view, but for once Wodehouse has failed to impress me. The book was published in 1971, just a few years before Wodehouse' death, and frankly it feels tired. Here's the plot: Bertie goes to visit his Aunt Dahlia, and sits idly for the rest of the book. While he's sitting, doing not much, a variety of complications appear, take their turn on the stage, and then evaporate. He's briefly engaged to marry Madeline Bassett; and then suddenly he's not. He's briefly engaged to marry Florence Craye; and then he's not. He's briefly in danger of being arrested for stealing an article of silver from one of his aunt's guests (an accusation which, for once, he is innocent of, even if the article is found in his possession), and then suddenly he is not. He's briefly in danger of being seriously embarassed by publication of the Junior Ganymede club book, and then he isn't. In fact, (and this is the crowning glory, if glory is the word I'm looking for, which it isn't) at the conclusion Jeeves agrees to destroy all of the pages in the club book which refer to Bertie--and this for no particular reason.

Even Jove nods, they say, and I fear this time he nodded right off. The plot has lots of elements but no complexity; with the exception of Bertie, Jeeves, and Aunt Dahlia the continuing characters (Madeline, Florence, Spode) are but shadows of themselves.

I dunno. It's possible that my mood affected my reading, but I think it more likely that this one's just a stinker.

Posted by Will Duquette at June 11, 2004 07:03 PM

Phil said:

Remarkable! I'll have to look into this.