What do P G Wodehouse, Damon Runyon and Ernest Bramah have in common? First, they were all extraordinary comic writers with an astonishing ability to choose exactly the right words, and the knack of perfectly matching style to plot. Second, they each manipulated language to give their characters and narrators a unique voice, entirely artificial and self-contained (Bertie Wooster's Knutspeak, Runyon's overarticulate historic-present mobsters, Bramah's wondefully elegant circumlocutions). Third, they created pocket universes for their characters to live and play in.
It's wonderful to see Bramah back in print after too many years in the wilderness. If you only buy one book this year, make it this one