Top positive review
27 April 2014
This stands alongside Right Ho, Jeeves as Wodehouse at his best, with Bertie Wooster finding himself up against it as never before while Jeeves rallies round to save 'the young master'. The novel is utterly idyllic.
Many of the old favourite characters make an appearance with Aunt Dahlia as ebullient and strident as ever while Gussie Fink-Nottle and Madeleine Bassett continue their feeble meandering through the world. We also meet some new characters who will develop into central figures in the Wooster oeuvre: Sir Watkyn Bassett (former magistrate and father of the simpering Madeleine), Roderick Spode, would-be leader of men, and Stephanie ("Stiffy") Byng, neice and ward of Sir Watkyn and the owner of Bartholomew, the redoubtable Aberdeen terrier.
Roderick Spode is an interesting character as he represents almost the only instance of Wodehouse indulging in political satire. Spode is an aspiring politician and is clearly modelled on Sir Oswald Mosley, leading a far-right group called 'The Saviours of Britain' who roam the streets wearing black shorts (yes, shorts rather than shirts, because, as Gussie Fink-Nottle explains to Bertie, 'by the time Spode formed his association, there were no shirts left'. He does, however, have a dark, zealously-guarded secret which will become central to the plot. He has also worshipped Madeleine and has sworn to punish anyone who in any way mars her happiness.
There are some classic set pieces here, on a par with Gussie's speech to the Market Snodsbury school from Right Ho, Jeeves, including bertie's first encounter with Sir Watkyn Bassett and Spode in an antique shop in the Brompton Road and Constable Oates's misadventure while cycling unaware of Bartholomew's proximity.
As is always the case with Wodehouse's novels, and particularly the adventures of Bertie and Jeeves, the plot is sinuous to the point of defeating summary. Suffice it to say that it revolves around a hideous silver cow creamer! The numerous twists are deftly managed, and all of the loose ends are resolved in full.
Pure entertainment from start to finish.