by P.G. Wodehouse
Jeeves reluctantly gives his notice because Bertie won’t stop playing the banjolele, even “within the narrow confines of a country cottage.” But Jeeves is never far, for he goes into the service of Bertie’s friend Lord “Chuffy” Chufnell, owner of said cottage. Of course, Jeeves paves the way for nuptials between Chuffy and his betrothed, repairs a cancelled real-estate transaction, and even gets Roderick Glossop out of a tight spot. And that’s not even touching on the blackface Bertie finds himself in, two frightful children, and the homicidal dipsomaniac socialist butler Brinkley.
This is easily one of Wodehouse’s best Jeeves books. The lengthy scene in which Bertram keeps getting mistaken for a burglar as he finds different places outside to sleep had me laughing to tears. And delicious lines like “We looked at each other with a wild surmise, silent upon a first floor back in Chuffnell Regis” show that the literate Wodehouse wit is at its acme. A masterpiece, flawed only in the unfortunate use of the dated and offensive term for blacks and a plot point requiring blackface, which is not perhaps quite the keen drollery it may have been in the thirties.
[Read three times: 5/1/94, 5/20/08, 3/10/12]