by P.G. Wodehouse
I picked this book up in Daunt’s last week as I was looking for a light read of light weight so as not to overburden my Balenciaga.
It fulfilled the criteria and, as the world has gone potty for all things British, I think it’s a good time to introduce this quintessentially English, character-rich tale now. Lord Emsworth is my favourite of Wodehouse’s characters and the Blandings series a source of endless joy.
A peer of simple tastes, Emsworth prefers reading about the care of pigs to partaking in productivity and, for this reason, despises the notion that the ever-efficient Baxter may return to the castle as secretary. Cue a loaded air gun, several trigger-happy aristocrats (and a butler), and one very disgruntled secretary.
This book is signature Wodehouse; irreverent, absorbing, brilliant. For those who think of Wodehouse as a foppish author of hackneyed storylines read this – his playful enjoyment of language and witty turns provide enough entertainment to convince you that explosive plots may not be all an author has to offer…
‘There is a breed of granite-faced, strong-jawed business man to whom lord Emsworth’s attitude towards Rupert Baxter would have seemed frankly inexplicable. To these Titans a private secretary is simply a hey-you, a Hi-there, a mere puppet to be ordered hither and thither at will. The trouble with Lord Emsworth was that it was he and not his secretary who has been the puppet. Their respective relations had always been those of a mild reigning monarch and the pushing young devil who has taken on the dictatorship. For years, until he had mercifully tendered his resignation to join an American named Jevons, Baxter had always worried Lord Emsworth, bossed him, bustled him, had always been after him to do things and remember things and sign things. Never a moment’s peace. Yes, it was certainly delightful to think that Baxter had departed forever.’