Meet the eccentric characters who dwell in the beautiful and surreal world created by P.G. Wodehouse. Blandings Castle is home to The 9th Earl of Emsworth, Clarence, who is the head of the family, though he has little influence over his family and other relations. His absentmindedness is at the forefront of his personality and the most important thing in his life is The Empress, his prize white sow. The Honourable Fredrick Threepwood, is Clarence’s younger son, who, clearly inherited his father’s absentmindedness and general incompetence in all manners. He is newly engaged to the American Aline Peters, daughter of J. Preston Peters. Clarence is overjoyed at the prospect of being rid of his younger son after he has been imprisoned in Blandings so as to make sure he didn’t get into further mischief which, was the one thing he excelled in.
Before we are introduced to these exquisitely created characters we meet some other interesting beings who dwell in London and are not all too familiar with the family previously described. Ash Marson writes adventure stories where the hero always manages to get himself out of a sticky situation. He meets the rather wonderful, in his opinion, Joan Valentine a fellow writer at the Mammoth Publishing company, who writes for the Home Gossip. Together they embark on their own adventure, unknowingly in competition to rescue a stolen Scarab Beetle. This Scarab Beetle, an ancient Egyptian amulet, belonged to the American J Preston Peters, an avid collector, it was stolen by Lord Emsworth who believed it to have been a gift. So, they all pop off down to Blanding’s castle, Ash and Joan in disguise, where mayhem and madness ensue! The Hon Freddie is utterly disinterested in Aline and frankly would rather read the ‘Adventures of Gridley Quale’ the adventure stories written by Ash. Aline on the other hand is being courted by another who is also at the castle and hates Freddie’s guts, George Emerson. Lord Emsworth’s secretary, the efficient Baxter, is aware of the worth of the Scarab beetle, a $5,000 (a fortune in the 1930s) and guards it with his life. It would be a near impossible task for anyone to recover the Scarab but can the adventure writer Ash Marsden do it, or will Joan beat him too it?
So now you know what this book is about, why should you read it? Well, let me tell you! First, the eccentric and frankly hilarious characters which Wodehouse creates are just out of the very top draw of comedy writing; this bunch of miscreants get into all sorts of trouble and soon you will be desperate to know how they get out of various scrapes. Clarence and The Hon. Freddie for me are the stars of the show. Their complete inability to complete any task or even converse in a way that suggests sanity is magnificent. If you are on the lookout for some top class hilarity and jollity then look no further book lovers. Come and join in the madness of Blandings Castle and its occupants to experience escapism at its best. Which is something we all need now, more than ever!
Love Sophie x