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Ring for Jeeves by PG Wodehouse

10/01/2015

In the spare moments of repose I afforded myself during an enjoyable holiday break in a northern seaside destination I delved into the wonderfully whimsical world of PG Wodehouse and his redoubtable Jeeves, a Butler of extraordinary resourcefulness.

Ring for Jeeves sees the great man on-loan to the 9th Earl of Rowcester (pronounced “Roaster”). The Earl is described as “intensely amiable and beloved by all who knew him [but] far from being a mental giant”.

The novel is set in the 1950s as the aristocracy see their way of life under threat and the Earl finds himself in the position of needing to seek gainful employment, a state deplored by his class. After consultation of the newspapers and encouragement from Jeeves, the Earl becomes a bookmaker. His early success contributes to a renovation of his estate  but bemuses those who know the Earl to be in a state of impecuniousness.

However, such happiness does not last for the Earl who soon finds himself owing a sizable debt of over 3000 pounds to the tempestous Captain Biggar, a big game safari hunter not to be trifled with.

Confounding the Earl’s problems is his betrothed, a trained veterinarian of greater intellect than himself who would surely be scorned should she learn of his unsavoury dealings which have led to his peril.

Add into the mix an eccentric wealthy widower with an obsession for the paranormal who may purchase the Earl’s decaying estate thereby resolving his financial travails and you have a recipe for an absurdly hilarious story for which Wodehouse was rightly famous. With his most elegant prose, such fare is ideal for a quiet chuckle in the midst of holiday repose.

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