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on 4 January 2010
If you want an unbiased review, you had better go elsewhere. I have been a devotee of P.G.Wodehouse for decades. Why?

Because of his beautiful English; because of his clever plotting; because his characters are totally harmless; because his similes and metaphors are outrageously inventive; because he is funny; and - oh, just because.

Wodehouse has no hidden scenario, no sub-text, no 'message', no axe to grind; he writes simply to entertain.

If you don`t believe me, just read it. But beware; there should be a health warning on the cover. It can be addictive. But if you do get hooked, think what a lovely prospect opens out before you: Wodehouse wrote over 90 books.
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on 25 May 2012
Now that Lord Emsworth's fearsome sister Connie is safely married to a millionaire and living in America, another even more domineering sister rules the Blandings roost: Lady Hermione Wedge, who looks like a cook - sometimes a cook pleased with her soufflé, sometimes a cook about to give notice, but always a cook. She has instructed her daughter, the cloth-headed Veronica, to break-off her engagement to another American millionaire, Tipton Plimsoll, in the mistaken belief that he has lost all his money in a stock-market crash. Hermione is also trying to manoeuvre Lord Emsworth into marrying another overbearing female, Dame Daphne Winkworth. As if this weren't enough to cope with, Lord Emsworth has yet another new secretary, Sandy Callender, who is loved by Sam Bagshot, although their relationship has hit a rough patch. Who better to unite the sundered lovers, and extricate Lord Emsworth from a fate worse than death with Dame Daphne, than Lord Emsworth's brother, The Hon. Galahad Threepwood. With Gally in charge, the stage is set for another of Wodehouse's classic farces involving pigs, domineering sisters, and imposters, all under the disapproving eye of Beach, the Butler.

This is the ninth novel in the Blandings series, published in 1965 when Wodehouse was already eighty-three. Despite his age, and although there are echoes of earlier books, and even entire phrases lifted verbatim, Wodehouse is still master of his craft, and the old magic is still very much in evidence. The plot is as complicated as anything he ever wrote, and it runs along nicely in its accustomed groove. Wodehouse was a master, not just of comic writing, but of the English language, and his prose style is one of the most beautiful in the whole of literature. The novel contains many of those verbal felicities Wodehouse devotees have come to love. This is another of those supreme farces set in Wodehouse's perfect idyll, Blandings Castle.
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This is not the story of the girl who said to her betrothed `I will not be dictated to!' and then went and got a job as a stenographer, it is rather the ninth Blandings novel continuing the saga with the characters Timpson Plimsoll and Veronica Hermoine whom we previously met in `Full Moon'. Once again Galahad Threepwood must re-unite them as well as bringing wedding bells to his nephew Wilfred Allsop and Sam Bagshott whom have fallen in love respectively with Lord Emsworth's pig girl Monica Simmons and secretary Sandy Callender.

Blandings Castle which, as has been noted previously, has imposters in much the same way other Castles have mice and here is no exception with Sam appearing as legendary pig authority Augustus Whipple, author of `The Care of the Pig'. The Butler, Beach, is aware of the deception but initially struggles to be taken seriously.

And so mistaken identity and misunderstanding build this into a typical Wodehouse farce which leaves us gasping as Galahad manages to dot all the i's and cross all the t's before the sun sets on Blandings.
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on 11 December 2012
I now have all the Blandings audio books that Martin Jarvis has narrated. His interpretation of all the characters (esp Lord Emsworth), is just right. When I am listening, I forget that it is one person speaking - it is a whole novel-full of characters come alive.
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P.G. Wodehouse once said that you could write about life as it is or as musical comedy. He chose to do the latter. As a result, I strongly prefer to listen to audio recordings of Mr. Wodehouse's novels. The dramatic portrayals add a great deal to the humor of the stories.
If you are familiar with the stories about Jeeves and the gentleman he serves, Bertram (Bertie) Wooster, which Mr. Wodehouse also wrote, you will feel at home with this tale, as well. Galahad plays the Jeeves-like role, but with greater elan than Jeeves ever did. You'll like Galahad. He's never let a pal down, and he has lots of them from his days carousing at the old Pelican Club. He's the bright, ne'er-do-well younger brother of Clarence, Lord Emsworth (who is fond of pigs, especially his prize-winning, Empress of Blandings, and his peace and quiet).
The story begins with a misunderstanding (not unlike the ones that Shakespeare used in his comedies -- it must be something about the water in England). An American millionaire, Tipton Plimsoe (I apologize for the fact I may have the spellings wrong in this review, since I have only heard the audio cassettes), runs into his fiancee's cousin, and they imbibe a bit too much. In the middle of the night, he awakens to find himself in jail. Someone has taken the millionaire's wallet, so he has no money to post bail. The cousin remembers that Lord Emsworth is in New York, staying at the Plaza, so they call him. Lord Emsworth is a little simple and has a poor memory. Although he dispatches the $20 by messenger to release the two, he mistakenly interprets this as meaning that the millionnaire has lost all of his money in the stock market crash of 1929 (the backdrop of this story).
The consequences of this misunderstanding almost cause three sets of lovers to be kept apart and Lord Emsworth to become engaged to a most unsuitable person. Worse yet, the Empress of Blandings herself is put at risk!
You might think that such a story would have a very predictable plot. Nothing could be less true. Just when the plot seems to be comfortably taking you left, Wodehouse puts in a complication that suddenly causes a u-turn. Then, when you get settled into that direction, he sends you off suddenly at a 45 degree angle. And pretty soon, you are overwhelmed with complications to keep you amusingly occupied with how in the world this can ever be straightened out . . . even though you have a pretty good idea of how things must turn out eventually.
But the complications serve an important purpose beyond keeping up the suspense. They also provide wonderful chances to show the true nature of the characters, and to flesh them out. This I found to be particularly well done in this book. Basically, Wodehouse likes to contrast those who care about others in a sincere way with those who are only concerned with their self-interest. The self-obsessed people unwittingly do themselves in, while the caring people somehow muddle through. The caring people have to also clean up the messes the self-interested ones make.
This book includes two of P.G. Wodehouse's most intimidating and unstoppable older women, Clarence's and Galahad's sister, Lady Hermione, and her friend, Dame Daphne Winkworth, who has her eye on Clarence. The upper class men are, as usual, very unintelligent (except for Galahad), which makes for much of the humor.
I suggest that you use your experience with hearing the narration of this story to think of a story that you would like to read aloud to a child you know. Then do so. Be sure to pick one that you can make very entertaining and which teaches valuable lessons.
See the humor . . . even in the worst circumstances!
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on 5 September 2012
This novel is dedicated to the wonderful efforts of Galahad Threepwood and his bizarre past. This chivalrous, inventive man aims to bring sunshine and light to those around him and he certainly succeeds. An extremely funny book complete with masses of the traditional Wodehouse feelgood factor.
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on 5 January 2001
What can you say. Classic Wodehouse, wonderful escapism, a mastery of the comical side of the English language unsurpassed. Emsworth, Gally, Connie and the obligiatory sundered hearts. Top stuff
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In this ninth of his eleven Blandings Castle farces, P. G. Wodehouse brings a large cast of mostly repeating characters to Blandings Castle in Shropshire, where their adolescent behavior, their misplaced values, and their obliviousness to real issues in a real world, allow Wodehouse to create gentle but pointed satire of the British upperclass, of which he himself was also a member. Written in 1965, but set in 1929, this novel, like all Wodehouse writing, is timeless in its ability to capture the silly, the petty, and the laughable in complex and hilarious plots in which numerous misunderstandings occur because characters refuse to be honest with themselves and with each other.

Tipton Plimsoll, who begins the novel "sleeping it off" in the pokey in New York City after a riotous night on the town with fellow Englishman Wilfred Allsop, discovers that his wallet has been stolen during the night. Unable to pay his way out of jail, despite his large fortune, he calls Lord Emsworth, a future in-law, who is in New York, telling him he has lost his money and needs to borrow a small sum. This is October, 1929, however, and Lord Emsworth and everyone else who hears this story, assumes that Tipton, engaged to marry Lord Emsworth's niece, is bankrupt as a result of the stock market crash. While in New York, Tipton has discovered that his friend and cellmate, the slightly built Wilfred Allsop worships from afar the Amazonian Monica Simpson, who takes care of the Empress of Blandings, Lord Emsworth's prized pig. Tipton determines to bring them together.

When all the characters have returned to Blandings, Tipton Plimsoll's fiancée, Veronica Wedge, is instructed by her demanding mother Hermione to break off her engagement to Tipton, her now "penniless" fiance. Galahad Threepwood, Lord Emsworth's younger brother and an incorrigible meddler, also at Blandings Castle, is determined to keep his overbearing sister out of the relationship. He himself plans to bring together Sandy Callender, Lord Emsworth's "secretary" and her former fiance Samuel Galahad Bagshott, who in pique has called her a "ginger-haired fathead." As one might expect in a farce, complications arise in even the most elementary plot lines, and as the various lovers try to "conquer all," Galahad Threepwood remains front and center pulling the strings.

The action is fast and furious, with one complication following another. The humor is obvious and very visual, with silly characters behaving much the way they do in the early TV sitcoms or Marx Brothers movies. Wodehouse's sense of timing and his fine grasp of his characters, many of whom repeat throughout the series, keep readers amused and feeling as if they are reading about the escapades of old friends who don't quite "get it." A delightful entertainment which allows Wodehouse to tweak upperclass pretensions and values, which he has seen up close in his own life, Galahad at Blandings is fun to read for the memories it conjures of a much earlier time and place. n Mary Whipple
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on 1 September 2011
Very funny book, very sharp wit, which is interesting as PGW was about eighty when he wrote it. There is also something a bit different in this one, which enriches it in a subtle way. I won't tell you what it is. If you read the book you may spot it for yourself. Two things, actually.
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P.G. Wodehouse once said that you could write about life as it is or as musical comedy. He chose to do the latter. As a result, I strongly prefer to listen to audio recordings of Mr. Wodehouse's novels. The dramatic portrayals add a great deal to the humor of the stories. This is the first one that I have heard by Jeremy Sinden. He is very talented and flexible in his characterizations, moving easily from men to women, from one English class to another, and even to including Americans.
If you are familiar with the stories about Jeeves and the gentleman he serves, Bertram (Bertie) Wooster, which Mr. Wodehouse also wrote, you will feel at home with this tale, as well. Galahad plays the Jeeves-like role, but with greater elan than Jeeves ever did. You'll like Galahad. He's never let a pal down, and he has lots of them from his days carousing at the old Pelican Club. He's the bright, ne'er-do-well younger brother of Clarence, Lord Emsworth (who is fond of pigs, especially his prize-winning, Empress of Blandings, and his peace and quiet).
The story begins with a misunderstanding (not unlike the ones that Shakespeare used in his comedies -- it must be something about the water in England). An American millionaire, Tipton Plimsoe (I apologize for the fact I may have the spellings wrong in this review, since I have only heard the audio cassettes), runs into his fiancee's cousin, and they imbibe a bit too much. In the middle of the night, he awakens to find himself in jail. Someone has taken the millionaire's wallet, so he has no money to post bail. The cousin remembers that Lord Emsworth is in New York, staying at the Plaza, so they call him. Lord Emsworth is a little simple and has a poor memory. Although he dispatches the $20 by messenger to release the two, he mistakenly interprets this as meaning that the millionnaire has lost all of his money in the stock market crash of 1929 (the backdrop of this story).
The consequences of this misunderstanding almost cause three sets of lovers to be kept apart and Lord Emsworth to become engaged to a most unsuitable person. Worse yet, the Empress of Blandings herself is put at risk!
You might think that such a story would have a very predictable plot. Nothing could be less true. Just when the plot seems to be comfortably taking you left, Wodehouse puts in a complication that suddenly causes a u-turn. Then, when you get settled into that direction, he sends you off suddenly at a 45 degree angle. And pretty soon, you are overwhelmed with complications to keep you amusingly occupied with how in the world this can ever be straightened out . . . even though you have a pretty good idea of how things must turn out eventually.
But the complications serve an important purpose beyond keeping up the suspense. They also provide wonderful chances to show the true nature of the characters, and to flesh them out. This I found to be particularly well done in this book. Basically, Wodehouse likes to contrast those who care about others in a sincere way with those who are only concerned with their self-interest. The self-obsessed people unwittingly do themselves in, while the caring people somehow muddle through. The caring people have to also clean up the messes the self-interested ones make.
This book includes two of P.G. Wodehouse's most intimidating and unstoppable older women, Clarence's and Galahad's sister, Lady Hermione, and her friend, Dame Daphne Winkworth, who has her eye on Clarence. The upper class men are, as usual, very unintelligent (except for Galahad), which makes for much of the humor.
I suggest that you use your experience with hearing the narration of this story to think of a story that you would like to read aloud to a child you know. Then do so. Be sure to pick one that you can make very entertaining and which teaches valuable lessons.
See the humor . . . even in the worst circumstances!
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