through the ancestral halls of Blandings Castle.
Clarence, the Earl, is still as dotty as ever and every waking hour of the day, he would, if he could, spend with his pig, The Empress of Blandings.
His Brother, Galahad has been approached by one of his numerous Godsons to help him out of a tight spot........obviously this ends up in all sorts of japes and tomfoolery. Connie, Clarence's imperious Sister now married to an American is holidaying at Blandings for the Summer and has brought along with her a young lady she met on the journey over. This young lady professes to be the daughter of a very rich man which of course pleases Connie tremendously.
Then there is the odious Duke who has managed to inveigle himself into Blandings after a portion of his ancestral pile burnt down.
Another female turns up at Blandings too........a girl recently engaged to Galahad's Godson. The engagement is now off owing to a strange circumstance. Then there is another person who turns up apparently sent to Blandings by Freddie. There is also another American who has turned up who is desperately trying to regain something that the Duke bought at auction by outbidding him.
All of these various characters appear to have some kind of hidden agenda and most certainly one of them is a crook.
Galahad must play sleuth and 'Agony Uncle' to find out exactly what is going on. Clarence of course would be no help at all because as soon as he is spoken to, he forgets what has been told him and starts wittering on about pigs again. A thought, it must be lovely to go through life like Clarence!
All of these books are laugh out loud material and I caution against reading them in public places. You may be thought a 'bally fool'.
on 18 January 2001
If you like PGW, this will send you into transports of delight. If you have never read any Wodehouse this is a great place to begin. At age thirteen, it was my first Wodehouse and I've been hooked ever since. The plot is marvellously twisted and every character is woven wonderfully and interwoven with the plot and other characters splendidly. It is advisable not to read this book in public or they might cart you away. Even in private be forewarned of extensive internal injuries from laughing too hard. The book will keep you going from start to finish.
The ninth of Wodehouse's "Blandings" series is pretty much exactly what you would expect from the master of the light comic novel. Once again, we meet the mild and much put-upon pig fancier Lord Emsworth, as his 52-room ancestral abode is descended upon by all manner of family, pushy neighbors, mountebanks, and assorted hangers-on. The titular pelican is Lord Emsworth's younger brother Galahad, whose membership in London's Pelican Club propels him into all manner of misadventures, often involving various godsons. That's the case here, as one of these godsons prevails upon him to advance his case for marriage to the niece of another guest, an odious Duke. Galahad is also involved in a complicated scheme to swap a painting in the gallery before the Duke can sell it to a lovelorn American. The usual Wodehousian complications are unleashed on two sets of young lovers, and Galahad is prevailed upon to sort out all the imposters and guide events to a happy conclusion. As usual, an entirely enjoyable bit of fun.
Totally hilarious and utterly brilliant. The book itself, as penned by PGW, is of course a comic masterpiece. Add the talents of Martin Jarvis and you have something that cannot really be surpassed. I was totally astonished at Martin Jarvis' ability to switch from one character's voice to the next without a breath. His "Lady Constance" is hilarious, as is his "Lord Emsworth".
The story is, as always with Wodehouse, convoluted and complicated, but all leads to a happy ending (except for the `bounders', of which there is always at least one), and Clarence is left happily puttering about in the pig sty with The Empress, where his heart lies.
If you have never read or heard P G Wodehouse's work, this is a great place to start. The Blandings stories, along with Jeeves and Wooster, are absolutely my favourites.
Blandings Castle, Shropshire, England, is the setting for many of Wodehouse's comic extravaganzas. Accommodated in many of its 52 bedrooms is a varied collection of dotty relatives of Clarence, ninth Earl of Emsworth. Clarence himself, dottier than any of them, dotes on the Empress of Blandings, an enormous prize-winning sow, and is usually to be seen, day or night, leaning over the wall of her sty. Nagged by his sister Connie, bewildered by his many American visitors and in-laws, and dazed by the complicated comings and goings of the many moon-faced young men and dizzy young damsels whom he encounters in the castle and its grounds, he is steered safely through life by a dedicated butler.
Of course it all means nothing at all, and the characters are no more than comic cartoon figures, but the quality of the writing is superb. Metaphors, similes, classical allusions, sparkling dialogue - you'll find every component of stylish writing on display here.
If you are lucky enough to be able to buy, beg, borrow or download Nigel Lambert's reading of the text in audio book form, you'll find every component of the art of book reading on display also. All this makes an ideal entrée into the world of P G Wodehouse, in particular to many entertaining hours at Blandings Castle.
on 4 July 2008
Rather than be a visiting wild fowl the titular Pelican is Galahad Threepwood, brother of Lord Emsworth, on hand at Blandings to make sure the course of true love runs smooth and that a forged painting is replaced by the original without the owner becoming aware of its origin. The painting in question is a reclining nude which explains the American title of this Blandings farce `No Nudes is Good Nudes'. As ever a Blanding's romp wouldn't be complete without a number of imposters and in this case Galahads godson Johnny Halliday is impersonating Roddy Glossop's assistant whilst Howard Chesney is hiding his light of being a crook under a bushel and Miss Polk's father is not the man quoted as Mr Polk in `Who's Who'.
Written when he was 87 Wodehouse had put his best writing behind him but re-visiting old friends at his Eden of Blandings has brought out the best in him and this can stand up with the Blandings stories written in his greatest period. The outcome won't surprise anyone and the plot mechanics have been used by Wodehouse throughout his career but somehow seem fresh here. The last completed Blandings story is still a great addition to the saga and should be enjoyed by anyone wanting to dip into Wodehouse's utopia.
on 10 May 2014
It seems such a shame to be reaching the end of the Blandings series, one book left! These books are wonderful, so well written and funny. There are times when I am so engrossed I expect Beach to walk in! Wodehouse is the finest writer ever to put pen to paper.
on 31 May 2014
Do not waste you money on the Timothy Spall adaption of Blandings it is nothing like the real thing. This book has humour and smiles in bucket full. Brilliant. The BBC should have bought this to read befor attempting to film the awful Blandings
on 27 May 2012
Lord Emsworth's fearsome sister, Lady Constance, is once more in residence at Blandings Castle, Shropshire's foremost pile. The terrible Alaric, Duke of Dunstable, has invited himself to stay at the Castle once again, this time with his niece, Linda, who is in love with Johnny Halliday, one of Sir Galahad Threepwood's many god-sons. Linda is a ward of court and cannot marry without the Duke's consent. As so often in Wodehouse, there has been a row between the young lovers, and the sundered hearts need to be brought together once more. The Duke is still under the impression that Lord Emsworth is potty, and decides to call in the eminent brain specialist Sir Roderick Glossop to observe him. Sir Roderick not being available, who better to take the job than his junior partner? And what better way for Johnny to get into the Castle, to be near his beloved and repair their rift, than to pretend to be this non-existent specialist? Who else can Lord Emsworth call on to sort out the tangles but his ever-resourceful brother, last survivor of the celebrated Pelican club, the Hon Galahad Threepwood? With the usual mix of young lovers, fearsome sisters, and overbearing Dukes, as well as a roster of villains and imposters, all the ingredients are there for another classic farce in the great Wodehouse tradition.
The title of the review is not strictly accurate. Wodehouse returned to Blandings once more a few years later, but sadly that novel was left incomplete at his death, although it has been published under the title "Sunset at Blandings". This is the tenth Blandings novel, and was published in 1969, when Wodehouse was eight-eight, and not surprisingly, there are signs that the master's powers are on the wane. The writing is much sparser than previously, much of the plot thin and rushed. Yet there is still more than a trace of the old Wodehouse touch, still many of those moments of sheer delight in language of which Wodehouse was such a master. It is the perfect conclusion to a glorious saga, an autumnal final look at a paradise from which man has never been expelled. If this is not first-rate Wodehouse, it is certainly a joyous coda. There is an elegiac conclusion, with brothers, Lord Emsworth, and the Hon. Galahad Threepwood, quietly eating their dinner of good English fare, including a well-jammed roly-poly, while Voules, the chauffer, softly plays his harmonica. The novel's last words have the great Gally raising a glass and toasting his woolly-headed brother. "God bless you, Clarence," he says. God bless Gally, too. And God bless Wodehouse, who gave us so much joy.
on 5 May 2010
When one has read a few of Wodehouse Blandings one knows precisely what to expect: pure potiness, romance and impersonation. This book is no different. Indeed, on reading many of them in a row, I have real trouble keeping the books separate in my mind - in fact I would say it is almost impossible - each book being a variation on a theme. I suppose one would have to admit that the plots are formulaic and there is a certain sameness, but so what, you get precisely what it says on the tin. What is extraordinary though is that this book written about 50 years after the first book retains the self same atmosphere as the first and subsequent books - the seismic changes in modern history simply have no impact. In that sense the books are more akin to fantasy.
Thanks again go to Fr James V Schall for getting me back into Wodehouse after a 20 year gap.