Lonesome Wooster

10:18 AM 23 FEBRUARY 2019

This slim volume was first published in 1960 and appears three quarters of the way down the lengthy list of Wodehouse novels featuring the inestimable Jeeves. In fact, in this episode the celebrated gentleman’s valet quickly departs for a holiday in Herne Bay, Kent and helps decide Bertie Wooster to accept a summons to his Aunt Dahlia’s ‘rural lair’. Ordinarily one of the highlights of the series is the interplay between the two main characters, however, with Jeeves absent for most of the tale, Bertie is without his customary foil, which at times feels like just half of a double act. The plot works though and the other characters aid the comic moments, but Bertie, unprotected by the attentive Jeeves, does feel somehow incomplete.


While her husband (Uncle Tom) has gone away to schmooze a wealthy business partner and get an important deal over the line, Aunt Dahlia must host the other abandoned spouse (Mrs Cream) and her son (Wilbert), ensuring that nothing is done to jeopardise the deal from afar. Joining the group for the weekend at ‘Brinkley’ is Lady Wickham’s daughter (Roberta), whose reputation as a prankster precedes her; Aubrey Upjohn, former headmaster at Wooster’s preparatory school; and Upjohn’s stepdaughter (Phyllis). But for Jeeves absence, Bertie would have avoided such a toxic brew, but consoled by his journalist friend, ‘Kipper’ Herring and reminded that at least the party would enjoy the delights of Chef Anatole’s kitchen, he relents. Still, ahead of his departure, Bertie gets a call from a distraught Lady Wickham, who has discovered in ‘The Times’ the announcement of her daughter’s engagement to Bertie. Intriguingly this is also news to Bertie. Yet, since his former proposals of marriage to Bobby Wickham were so unceremoniously rejected, Bertie rightly deduces that a game is afoot.
As usual, the rather pleasant-but-dim Bertie is cast as an important cog in the machinations of others, in which he is destined to be the weak link. The final outcome, of course, being the culmination of unintended consequences and a belated intervention by Jeeves.


Poking fun at the aristocratic classes, masterfully manipulated by their intellectual superior in Jeeves, remains a rich seam, well mined by Wodehouse. However, it is the interplay between beloved characters, the past era of gentry and intricate plotting, which the author satirizes so mercilessly. For the reader, this familiar though ridiculous portrayal of a bygone age remains a glorious example of English farce.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A Plum Novel

12:31 AM 7 JULY 2017

Few writers can raise a smile to the lips after just one paragraph and have me snortling by the end of the first page. But then, P.G.Wodehouse remains an exceptional talent and in Wooster & Jeeves he created a rare literary tonic. Described by the Society (UK) bearing his name as “the greatest humourist of the twentieth century”, Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (affectionately elided to ‘Plum’ by friends and family) has also retained the capacity to lift spirits into the new millennium. Clearly he was a writer of his time, replete with well-defined British social strata of the 1920’s and 30’s, but it is surely his ability to lampoon the elite classes and etch caricatures such as Bertie Wooster and Aunt Dahlia into the national consciousness, which is his greatest legacy.

In this short novel, against his better judgement, Wooster is lured to Totleigh Towers, Gloucestershire, home of Sir Watkyn Bassett, to rescue the faltering engagement of long-term friends ‘Gussie’ Fink-Nottle and the daughter of the host – Madeline. This is not entirely an altruistic act, since Bertie has every reason to believe that should the betrothal not be realized, he may be expected to step into the breach in Madeline’s marital prospects. This is consequently a matter of paramount concern to Bertie, dwarfed only by the abject horror such a turn of events would visit upon Sir Watkyn!

Thus, the familiar entourage is transported to the country, where ‘Gussie’, ‘Stinker’ Pinker, Roderisk Spode, ‘Stiffy’ Byng, Emerald Stoker, et al proceed to dispense the farcical social carnage, which generally accompanies their ludicrous interactions. And once again it falls to that paragon of calm, Jeeves (Bertie’s valet) to divine a course to preserve his employer’s bachelor status and simultaneously settle a whole series of potential disruptions. A wondrous spin through something akin to the Hatter’s tea party, but what a great time is to be had in this company!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Gentleman’s gentleman

5:25 PM 10 SEPTEMBER 2016

The classic meanderings of Bertie Wooster and his long-suffering manservant Jeeves are so quintessentially English and laugh-out-loud funny that every library should own one. P.G.Wodehouse’s iconic creations are so creatively intertwined and the language so florid that the stories evoke a wondrously different era of gentlemen, gentlemen’s clubs and formidable matriarchs. Wotto Bertie!!

SOURCE: HTTP://WWW.GOODREADS.COM/REVIEW/SHOW/1521144978

Rating: 5 out of 5.