Summer Lightning, first published in 1929, was the third book in P. G. Wodehouse's Blandings saga, and the first to deal exclusively with the assortment of aristocratic eccentrics and oddities, and their employees and hangers-on who inhabit or, as Lord Emsworth might put it, infest, the place. The first novel in the sequence, Something Fresh, dealt primarily with life `below stairs', the only Wodehouse book so to do. The second, Leave it to Psmith, focuses primarily on this eminent buzzer and uses Lord Emsworth and the others mainly as background material. In Summer Lightning, however, Emsworth comes to the fore. As such, this is the first novel to mention his obsession with his prize-winning pig, Empress of Blandings, and therefore the first to have the theft of said porcine champion as a major plot point. This is also the first appearance of Lord Emsworth's younger brother Galahad Threepwood, he of the scandalous early life, and the sort of man for whom padded cells were invented.
Lord Emsworth's nephew Ronnie Fish needs money to marry his beloved, chorus girl Sue. But Lord Emsworth is his trustee, and he is unlikely to unloose the purse-strings to allow his nephew to marry a mere chorus girl, particularly when Ronnie's last financial venture was a night club which went bankrupt very quickly. Meanwhile, his former partner in this ill-starred venture, Hugo Carmody, is now working as Lord Emsworth's secretary, and is in love with Millicent, Lord Emsworth's niece. Sue herself is being sent flowers by Percy Pilbeam, who, in his capacity of private detective, takes up a place at Blandings. Sue has also been dancing with Hugo, and these two potential rivals cause Ronnie a great deal of jealousy. Add to the mix the Hon. Galahad's decision to write his salacious memoirs, and the inhabitants of Blandings and its environs are far from sleeping easy in their beds. Ronnie, in order to try to get his money out of Lord Emsworth, decides to steal his uncle's prize pig. Lord Emsworth's former secretary, the efficient Baxter, returns to the castle at the behest of his long-time champion, Lady Constance. With all these subplots and subterfuges going on, the scene is set for a classic Wodehouse farce.
As the title suggests, this is a light, summery book, which no lover of fine comic writing will want to miss.