Published in 1923, this is the second Blandings novel and he fourth and final Psmith book. It seems that Wodehouse stopped writing Psmith novels because he couldn’t think of more stories for the character. Fortunately he didn’t take that view of Blamdings, and carried on writing the same story for another sixty years.
Apart from Psmith (the P is silent, I will refrain from the ancient joke) the book also features the Efficient Baxter, the Earl’s secretary, and the bane of his life. I always feel the peril is more real when Baxter is about.
Psmith enters the castle masquerading as a poet with plans to help Freddie Threepwood (heir of the Earl of Emsworth) in a plot to purloin a valuable necklace which he needs…
Let’s just say that it’s complicated.
Baxter is judged to be mad by Emsworth after a scene involving plantpots and pyjamas (which will be mentioned in subsequent books) and Psmith foils a second plot to steal the necklace before all the romances are rounded off and Freddie Threepwood gets the money he needs to set up as a bookmaker.
I doubt I’m giving any secrets away here, as this is what you would expect. That’s really what you read the Blandings books for – romance, mild peril and everlasting summer.
I’ve been reading Wodehouse recently, which is always a good thing to do when convalescing. I’ve always thought laughter is good for you, and there seem to be other people who think so too. In the gaps I’ve been reading a history of the Irish Guards in the Great War and the Wikipedia list of Prime Ministers of the UK. Neither of them make particularly cheerful reading, though you can’t base all your reading on its capacity to induce laughter.
I have an interest in the Great War, though I’m not one of those experts who talk knowledgeably about divisions, Army Orders and such. I’m more interested in the human element such as the history of watches and why the government set children to collecting conkers.
The wrist watch became much more popular as a result of the Great War, as a pocket watch isn’t very practical when you are lying face down in mud whilst somebody shoots at you. There had been various attempts at wrist watches over the years but the war was the beginning of the end for the pocket watch.
The conkers were a bit of a distraction, as it turns out.
When I saw that I could get the Irish Guards book for 49p on Kindle I thought I may as well have a go. Apart from my interest in the subject, I was interested in seeing what it was like as it’s written by Rudyard Kipling. Sadly, despite the quality of the writing (and the frequent insertion of light relief in the form of interjections from a comic Irishman) it’s only as interesting as the subject matter allows it to be. It also contains the news that Lieutenant J Kipling was posted missing after the Battle of Loos in 1915. Those must have been hard words to write.
That just leaves the Prime Ministers. I thought I’d brush up on them as I’m a bit deficient in my knowledge of PMs but after a quick run through I realised that I’d discovered an antidote to Wodehouse. I don’t need that, so I’ve left them for the moment – a monument to my ignorance. Well, one of several…