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VINE VOICEon 24 October 2011
'Mr Wooster,' he said, 'you are a typical young man about town.'

'Oh thanks,' I responded, for it sounded like a compliment, and one always likes to say the civil thing.

With these words Bertie Wooster finds himself packed off to the country by his doctor - who has diagnosed too much fast living, too many cocktails, cigarettes and generally too much of a good time for young Bertram. As ever, in the world of Wodehouse, the quiet country retreat is nothing of the sort. Instead, Bertie finds himself in the middle of a squabble over a horse race and stuck between a pair of young lovers (one of whom Bertie might be in danger of marrying, the other of jealous and violent disposition), with an affectionate cat hanging around and assailed by a favourite but wilful aunt with a dastardly ploy: all typical Wodehouse ingredients.

Published in 1974 this was not only the last Jeeves and Wooster book it was also Wodehouse's last novel. It is not Wodehouse at, perhaps, his very greatest. Elements of the story appear just a little too familiar perhaps and the wit and verve of the story is lacking compared to Wodehouse at his absolute finest. Very few authors are, however, anything like that good and, like me, I suspect that most readers will have a permanent inward smile as they read this. Wodehouse's prose is still a delight to read.

Fans of Wooster's world will be pleased to know that, despite the later publication date, this is still the one of indomitable aunts, serious young women (with views on improving Bertie), daft and impecunious young men and cocktails before dinner. Barring a reference to Billy Graham - which suggests a post-war setting - this could easily still be the pre-war heyday of Wodehouse.

Even if a falling off for Wodehouse, this is still well worth reading for hours of joyful and innocent fun.
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“And so began what I suppose my biographers will refer to as The Maiden Eggesford Horror – or possibly The Curious Case Of The Cat Which Kept Popping Up When Least Expected.”

Poor Bertie Wooster has discovered he has an outbreak of pink spots on his chest – consulting the noted specialist E. Jimpson Murgatroyd, he resolves to take a quiet seaside holiday and rents a cottage in Maiden Eggesford. There he knows he will find companionable company, as his aunt (Dahlia, the good one, not Agatha, the one who eats broken bottles) is staying there with some people by the name of Briscoe. But what he doesn’t anticipate is that he will also find in Maiden Eggesford Vanessa Cook who once rejected him, Orlo Porter who loves Vanessa and is not happy to find Bertie knows her, Major Plank who once tried to have Bertie arrested, and a cat who is pivotal to Bertie being able to remain in one piece and get everybody back where they ought to be. Hopefully Jeeves will be able to assist.

This is a great PGW book, and one which is a real classic, I think – full of the witticisms of Bertie and his long-suffering gentleman’s gentleman Jeeves – Bertie never misses an opportunity in telling us of the occasion when he won the Scripture Knowledge prize at his school, and his remarkable propensity to get engaged (whether he wants to or not) defies explanation. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in this book – pure classic PGW and one to be treasured and re-read. Just brilliant.
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on 9 September 2015
Not the laugh out loud Jeeves and Wooster novel that one can usually expect but good enough in parts. As other reviewers may have mentioned there are far too many walk on, walk off scenes involving a boomerang cat which, frankly, got a bit boring in the end. For goodness sake - cat's go where they want and DO what they want, so what's the point in picking the animal up and moving it around?

Having said that, I enjoyed this one eventually, but it was slow to get going. Jeeves was absent far too much for my liking but, as ever, he came up trumps in the end getting Bertie out of his customary sticky situation. I'm glad I read it but it wasn't as joyful as some. Plenty of titters, certainly!
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on 3 January 2014
I loved reading this book , I loved the long string of ridiculous scrapes Wooster gets himself embroiled in. Off course, Jeeves comes to his rescue and all is all well in the end.
Would heartily recommend to all Jeeves and Wooster fans.
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on 8 December 2014
Written towards the end of the master's life and it does show a certain tiredness. Too many rehashed painting-by-numbers phrases and situations. That said, it's still better than many humorous novels currently published; but , to use one of Wodehouse's own phrases, it's a selling-plater, not a classic yearling. If you are new to Wodehouse it wouldnt be fair to start with this.
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on 21 May 2016
Although this is PG's last novel, it was my very first foray into the wag's work. I remember enjoying it greatly, but there is such a time lapse between my reading of this book and this review that almost all the details are clouded in an amnesiac haze. However, I recall that at the time of reading I was convalescing from a rib injury, after falling on a tubular metal farm gate on the Isle of Skye, the largest island of the Scottish Hebrides, well known to Dr Johnson but (to my knowledge) unvisited by Felix Mendelsohn, although he visited Mull instead, the second largest island of the archipelago. The right of my rib-cage had been internally bruised and rigid for a month; then merely stiff and itching for a further month, like it was being attacked by a Highland midge swarm. Then I read this novel and, after several involuntary painful hysterical convulsions of laughter, usually about a formidable aunt, or that dim chap Major Plank or Bertie landing in the soup, I was cured. So, if you have an appetite for literary style and wit, haven't had your sense of humour removed at birth, or fall on a farm gate, or are just prone to bouts of misery, I can recommend this book as occupational therapy.
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I have loved almost everything P G Wodehouse wrote since I first encountered him 40 years ago in a Jeeves and Wooster omnibus volume from a book club. He makes me laugh on almost every page. But the essence of Bertie Wooster is that he is a silly young ass; he is not a silly late-middle-aged ass. And yet in the opening pages we find him harrumphing like a retired Admiral at the sight of a "protest march" in 1970s London. But Wooster is a young man, and it is always the 1920s or perhaps the '30s at the latest. The political mickey-taking that worked so well in, say, the short story "Comrade Bingo" from the 1923 collection "The Inimitable Jeeves", or all the various Spode episodes, where the peculiar looks and conduct of political extremists are guyed, just falls flat here. This is probably because Wodehouse is writing about something so outside his experience, so different from London in the first quarter of the 20th century, that he ends up sounding like a very grumpy old man. The book never really recovers, and the plot device of the cat who keeps reappearing seems merely tired. The old invention is gone, although the verbal dexterity remains, and there are plenty of chuckles to be had on the way. But Bertie is a curiously schizophrenic character here, and in the end this book detracts from the Wodehouse reputation.
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on 19 July 2014
I enjoyed this P G Wodehouse book, but not quite as much as ones I'd read in the 70's, maybe my tastes have changed, and I did find some of it rather maddening, especially when Wooster keeps doubting that he's got the saying or phrase correct ! It made me smile at times, but for me, not a laugh out loud book....
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on 5 November 2013
another marvellously funny book from this very clever writer. Jeeves is at his best , getting bertie wooster out of trouble. If you havent read any of these books i can only advise you to start now, you will be delighted by the excellence of the comedy.
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on 24 December 2012
As a fan of P.G. this another novel where Wooster nearly comes unstuck without the aid of jeeves who is visitng his aunt. Many laugh out moments with tears running down one's cheeks.
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