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The Indiscretions of P G Wodehouse
on 10 October 2007
The Indiscretions of Archie is set shortly after the Great War and Archie was recently demobbed from the trenches of France where he was `making the world safe for the working-man to strike in'. His English `people' have realised outside of the army Archie has no real worth and so have promptly despatched him to the brave new world of America to find employment or a suitably wealthy wife.
Archie has fallen in love with hotel heiress Lucille Brewster and in stark contrast to Wodehouse's usual structure they have married before the book kicks off. Mr Brewster feeling for Archie is similar to his own family and rather than be a novel at all `The Indiscretions of Archie' are a series of episodes with Archie trying and generally failing to curry the favour of his father in law. The book is basically a series of short stories with a constant theme, that's not intended as a criticism as Wodehouse is the master of the short form and as an entertainment this book cannot be better, just don't expect enlightening as to any of the words theological questions.
Archie is a self confessed `ass, genus priceless, an ass yes but not a silly ass', a sort of Bertie Wooster but with a modicum of Jeeves' insight which suggest solutions to the problems with which he is faced. More often than not inappropriate solutions, but solutions none the less. The episodes take Archie from sitting for artists, looking after a snake for Theatrical publicist Roscoe Sherriff (whom we met previously in `Uneasy Money'), industrial relations and the purchase of a worthless ornament whist bidding against his father in laws agent.
The book is possibly less satisfying than a Wodehouse novel by the virtue of not being a novel, but as a book I would still strongly recommend it.