June 16, 2005

Cocktail Time, by P.G. Wodehouse

It is the stated goal of one Frederick, the Earl of Ickenham and the uncle of Pongo Twistleton, to spread sweetness and light wheresoever he goes. And as he so seldom goes anywhere, being kept on a tight leash by his lady wife, he is all the more determined in his efforts when opportunity presents.

In the present instance, the good Earl has several aims. He wishes to find a source of ready funds for his godson, impoverished author Johnny Pearce, so that he can grant a decent pension to his old Nurse, so that she can marry the local constable, so that he can marry his beloved Belinda and offer her a home from which his old Nurse is thoroughly absent. Meanwhile, the Earl's old school chum, Sir Raymond "Beefy" Bastable the barrister, has written a scandalous novel about the evil ways of the younger generation. This work is entitled Cocktail Time, and should word get out that Bastable wrote it he will never be a Member of Parliament. Bastable wishes the novel to be suppressed; Ickenham wishes to see Beefy happily married to his old flame, editor Barbara Crowe. And then of course there's Albert Peasemarch, Beefy's butler and Ickenham's old army buddy, who wishes to marry (Wodehouse alone knows why) Beefy's not-very-bright sister. And then there's the con-artist Oily Carmichael, and his beloved wife and helpmeet (very handy with a cosh, she is); they've figured out who really wrote Cocktail Time, and figure there must be a pile of money in it for them--especially after Hollywood gets hold of it.

Wodehouse's Uncle Fred stories are always a treat; grab this one and enjoy it.

Posted by Will Duquette at June 16, 2005 08:24 PM