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on 19 January 2007
A fascinating thing about P. G. Wodehouse is how very early on it was all in place. This was published in 1917 but is absolute vintage, top drawer Wodehouse - Plum's Roaring Twenties, with its millionaires and night clubs, is already in full swing.

The plot is of an ingenious complexity even by the standards of the master of ingenious complexity (at one point even the hero has to use a pencil and sheet of paper to work out where he stands) I have never read a book before where the lead character has to impersonate Himself, a wonderful conceit.

The whole thing is one big delight, P G Wodehouse revelling in the details of the Good Life on both sides of the Atlantic (don't buy that stuff about Wodehouse `showing up the hypocrisy of the upper classes' etc) There is a gallery of memorable characters as one would expect, but the fearsome feminist Private Detective, snarling through gritted teeth and reading Schopenhauer, has to be one of the most memorable characters in fiction full stop.

And there is a delightful, distinctly unsoppy Romance at the heart of it.

That much overused term feel-good could have been coined with Wodehouse in mind, and he is the one to turn to when the World seems down.
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on 12 January 2015
One of my favourite P G Wodehouse 'light novels', a relatively early work of his but with a mature many-layered plot, key to which is the title character having to pretend that he's someone else pretending to be himself, if you follow me. One puzzle though; the cover illustration of this edition doesn't have the faintest connection with the book. This is a story set mainly in New York and published in 1918/1919, but illustrated by a picture of a 1938 London tube train at what's recognisably East Finchley station. That's not even on the Piccadilly Line, which might have some tenuous link to the title, it's on the Northern Line! But don't let my pedantry put you off the book!
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on 28 May 2002
Picadilly Jim is one of the best, if not the best light novel(Non Jeeves and wooster, and non Blandings) Wodehouse ever wrote.
Jimmy Crocker's life was just one drunken brawl after another. Until his Aunt Nesta decides to bring him to america to reform him. Unfortunately, on the way there, he meets the girl of his dreams, and decides to reform himself.
A highly complicated plot, involving the threat of being blown up, and a wonderful piece of Wodehouse twisted logic, has Jim pretending to be himself. Also the sins of his past come back to haunt him, as he is in pirsuit of the girl he loves.
With conmen, thieves, and impostors, this is one wodehouse not even the staunchest wodehouse hater can afford to miss.
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on 21 January 2006
This is well written, entertaining Wodehouse with much to enjoy. While not as laugh out load funny as his more English based stories and characters definitely not in the same league as Psmith or Wooster for example), there is still much to recommend it. And Wodehouse not at his best is still miles ahead of most of his peers.
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on 26 July 2011
Better known as Piccadilly Jim by the scandal sheets, James Croker has always taken a light-hearted view of life, witness his two breach of promise cases. Deciding that he has caused enough trouble to those near to him, particularly his hen-pecked father, he takes passage on a boat for America where he meets Ann Chester, about whose book of soppy poetry he was very cruel in a review some years ago. Ann doesn't recognise him, and he ends up impersonating himself as a group of crooks, detectives, and assorted geniuses descend on the house Ann shares with her hen-pecked uncle and his stepson, the obnoxious Ogden Ford from `The Little Nugget'. The scene is set for some typical Wodehouse mix-ups and much buzzing from one of his best early heroes in a novel whose plot is as convoluted as any Wodehouse ever conceived. This is an early novel, but one of his best.
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on 13 November 2014
I am an avid Wodehouse fan and didn't think I should give anything by him less than the full five stars. This book is clearly an early one where he is still forming his wonderful characters who, lets face it are the same in every book, no matter what they are called. This is the joy of these books and is how we know that if we like any, we will enjoy them all.
Still very well worth buying.
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on 24 April 2014
This is Wodehouse in 1917, well before Jeeves and Lord Emsworth capture the world. The plotting is there already and the wit is hatching from its shell. The gorgon ladies are in place and the silly ass is in full cry. Plum already knew how to write a love story. Read this and you'll see how it all began.
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`Piccadilly Jim' is the story of Jimmy Crocker and how his love for Ann Chester saves him from a life of little more than one drunken brawl after another. Things are never straight forward in Wodehouse's world and Ann is not only under the impression that Jimmy is in fact called Bayliss but also that she despises Jimmy for a piece of journalism he wrote some years previously.

Add to this that international thief Gentleman Jack is also in residence as Lord Wisbeach in order to steal the explosive Willie Partridge is fraudulently claiming to be a world beater from under the nose of maid come private detective Miss Trimble. If that wasn't enough Jimmy's dad has run away from his home in England and is posing as the butler, Skinner, in order to keep up with his beloved baseball scores. All in all this is one of Wodehouse's most elaborate farces with the imposters outstripping anyone answering to their own name by at least two to one.

The only blot on the Landscape is Ogden Ford making a return visit from `The Little Nugget'. That's not to say Ogden's presence damages the novel but mealy that it ties it to a period of Wodehouse's writing which is not up to the standard that runs through `Piccadilly Jim' like an American from a cricket ground.
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on 4 September 2013
Funny in places and in others some of the situations are quite drawn out. There is plenty of identity switches and lots of entertainment value from the situations which arise, in order to protect each other. You do need to focus in places to work out who is who and which identity they have, including the lead character Jim impersonating himself and his father pretending to be a butler, and why they needed these different identities.

As with a lot of Wodehouse's stories it focuses on the upper classes and the continued need to eat and drink in the poshest of places. Its not the laugh out loud kind of book but it had some very amusing parts, and I love the way the prose flows throughout the book. It's perfect for curling up on the sofa or sitting in the garden.
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on 27 July 2007
I agree with a previous contributor that Psmith and Wooster novels are better, but in Piccadilly Jim, Wodehouse reached heights I had never experienced before in his novels.

I read Chapters 4 and 5 while awaiting take-off at Nantes airport and I laughed so much I was in distress. It took several warnings from the crew to compose myself and convince them that I was not inebriated.

If you have never read Wodehouse, trip down to your local bookshop and read Chapters 4 and 5. It will cost you nothing but will make you a Wodehouse fan just like the rest of us.
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