Sunday, December 14, 2008
The Code of the Woosters - P.G. Wodehouse
1938; 222 pages. Genre : British comedy. Overall Rating : A.
.O Happy day! My local library has a veritable trove of P.G. Wodehouse books! I can see me going on a "Jeeves" kick in 2009.
The Code Of The Woosters is a more typical Jeeves book than The Return Of Jeeves, reviewed earlier here. TCOTW is told in the first-person, and by Jeeves' usual employer, Sir Bertie Wooster.
.Bertie and Jeeves are guests at a neighboring estate, and Bertie is being blackmailed by three different relatives, each of whom wants him to purloin a cow creamer from there for them. The task is complicated by the fact that the present owner and his goose-stepping bodyguard already suspect that Bertie is a thief. It gets worse when someone pinches the local constable's helmet. Suspicion immediately focuses on Bertie, and inexplicably, said helmet keeps showing up in his room.
What's To Like...
This is vintage Wodehouse. Besides the plethora of threads, there is a recurring theme of Bertie & Jeeves confidently "taking care of everything", only to find themselves in deeper doo-doo five minutes later when something inevitably goes awry. When they take care of that new challenge, another unforeseen twist immediately shows up, landing them in an even stickier wicket.
.The book is well-written, quite funny, and full of Britishisms. It also is notable that Wodehouse takes some political jabs at Fascism in the book, save that here the brown-shirts are replaced by black-shorts. This buffoonery was quite brave, given that Wodehouse wrote this in 1938, when Hitler and Mussolini were on the rise in Europe. In the end, all turns out well, and the Code of the Woosters remains intact. I highly recommended this book, especially since it's probably available at your nearby library.
A few words on cow-creamers...
Maybe I've led a sheltered life, but I had never heard of such a thing as a cow-creamer. I could of course, deduce what it was. Still, it was nice to find that Google Images has dozens of pics of them, one of which is to the right.
Amazingly, the source of all my knowledge, Wikipedia, does not yet have an entry about cow-creamers. They give one short sentence about them bring a favorite Wodehouse prop, and that's it. So if you're yearning for instant fame by writing an article for Wikipedia, here's your opportunity.