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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 24 April 2014
This is one of the (not many) PGW books I haven’t previously read, and it’s great to see so many of his earlier or not so well known works now being republished, some for the first time in a long time. This was first published in 1956.

Jo, Kate and Terry, three sisters who live on a chicken farm in Bensonburg, New York come into some money on the sale of their late father’s play to a tv production company. Jo and Terry are determined to squander their share of the money on a once in a lifetime holiday in France, so Kate comes with them to keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t get into trouble. But trouble is waiting, in the form of the Marquis de Maufringneuse, the Comte d’Escrignon, Mrs Winthrop Pegler, Frederick Carpenter, J Russell Clutterbuck, and last but not least Pierre Alexandre Boissonade, Commissaire of Police. Add in the long-suffering M. de La Hourmerie, the hard-done by M. Punez and his brother-in-law M. Floche and you have a great PGW adventure, full of misunderstandings, singular coincidences, long-awaited come-uppances and of course happy endings. Delightful, a real winner.
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on 17 August 2009

'French Leave' is one of the more obscure novels in the P.G. Wodehouse canon. Indeed, it is notoriously tricky finding a copy these days. Written in 1955, it contains none of his established characters (not a Wooster, Emsworth, Ukridge or Psmith in sight), nor is it set in his more familiar territory of rural England, bustling London or sunny Hollywood. As such it is something of an oddity from the pen of such a prolific writer, albeit an enjoyable one.

The principal story revolves around various misunderstandings and schemes in the France resort of St. Rocque, where real millionaires mix with pretend millionaires and genuine (but penniless) aristocrats talk on level terms with yacht-owning sparkling water magnates. The inter-linking of characters has all the makings of a typical weekend at Blandings Castle. Among the convoluted twists-and-turns, we follow the fortunes of a young American girl, Terry (short for Teresa) and her search for a rich husband, which leads her to the door of titled-but-poor, Jeff. There are some fine comic moments along the road towards true love, most of which occur one fateful night in the Hotel Magnifique, and which see a conniving chief-of-police on the receiving end of a black eye (a "marron" in Wodehouse speak), and more on-off engagements than you could expect from the complete works of Jane Austin! These scenes play like a fine stage farce, and it is not difficult to imagine doors of a set opening and closing as characters enter and exit the scene with perfect comic timing.

However, 'French Leave' perhaps lacks the warmth of the very best of Wodehouse's books. The intricate plotting does much to cover up the fact that none of the protagonists here have the genuine likeability of his most popular characters. Indeed, this reviewer found the shenanigans of the irresponsible Old Nick (Marquis de Maufringneuse) rather trying, given that he came across as a rather inferior and rather underhand Galahad Threepwood. Likewise, the blending of French and English-speaking characters is a little awkward, and not enough is made of attempts by one side to speak the other's language to comic effect.

Nevertheless, 'French Leave' is thoroughly-enjoyable fluff, the perfect fare for a holiday reading in the sun. This may not be 5 star luxury Wodehouse, but it certainly provides comfortable accommodation for an amusing break.
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on 13 February 2002
All the typical elements of a Wodehouse story are combined in this glorious romp through French spa towns. Follow the Marquis de Maufringneuse as he tries to help sundered hearts come together, whilst helping himself, of course..
Fans will be as ever enchanted, oh to live in Wodehouse's world!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 10 June 2013
I suppose the fact that this book has been out of print for some years suggests that it is not one of Wodehouse's best but nevertheless this still makes for a most enjoyable summer read and should be welcomed by all who enjoy a lighthearted romp of a novel. Not groundbreaking but bloomin' good fun.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 January 2014
French Leave must be Wodehouse's answer to French lover-in-the-cupboard vaudeville. Two young American girls leave their chicken farm to take a holiday in France in search of a rich husband. Meanwhile, a penniless marquis happens to be looking for an American heiress to bail him out of his debts. It is all material for spicy misunderstandings and light-hearted comedy, though strictly in good propriety, and it is guaranteed to end well thanks to the marquis's honest and hard-working son, a budding writer. This is all the Wodehouse I have read, so I can't compare with his better-known works, but French Leave is well-written, well-constructed, and a pleasure to read.
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Teresa `Terry' Trent, American chicken farmer, on receiving a small windfall travels on holiday to the French resort of Roville to see how the other half live. The Marquis de Maufringneuse knows how the other half live, having once belonged to it, and now he is acting as an adventurer seeking rich American Women to introduce to his novelist son Jeff, the Comte d'Escrignon. On meeting Terry he assumes she to be rich enough to keep her father in law in the manner he used to be accustomed and so he is instrumental in their blossoming romance until he realises Terry has no money when he tries to break them up.

Confusion with the Marquis de Maufringneuse's ex-wife, two mineral water millionaires, a bent policeman, a drunken publisher and some stolen money all ensure that true love doesn't run a smooth course however we needn't worry too much, in Wodehouse's world only those whom truly deserve it get an unhappy ending.

A Wodehouse novel written without his usual formula, containing no references to members of the Drones or any of Wodehouse's stock characters; I should be praising it for its originality and as a jewel in the Wodehouse crown but if I'm honest what it is lacking is an English ass as the hero and a Country house setting, sorry.
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on 30 April 2013
It does not disappoint as a classic piece of Wodehouse. as always, it warms the heart and makes one smile.
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on 21 December 2015
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on 10 December 2013
Another great classic. However the picture showed a dust jacket and was priced accordingly. But arrived without one. I wrote to the seller who immediately agreed to take it back or refund 50%. I accepted the refund which was made promptly. Really appreciated the service after a mix up.
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on 21 January 2015
As ddescribed
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