I’ve always loved going to the library and spending some time browsing the shelves, discovering books I’d never seen or heard of before and choosing which ones to take home with me. Browsing their ebook collection online isn’t quite the same, but I was pleased to discover recently that they had added a few P.G. Wodehouse books that I hadn’t read. Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit (also published as Bertie Wooster Sees it Through) was one of them.
At the beginning of the book, Bertie Wooster has grown a moustache while his valet, Jeeves, is away on a shrimping holiday. When Jeeves returns, it’s obvious that he disapproves – and so does everybody else, with the exception of Lady Florence Craye. After a series of misunderstandings, Florence’s suspicious fiancé, G. D’Arcy ‘Stilton’ Cheesewright becomes convinced that Bertie is trying to steal Florence from him. The jealous Cheesewright threatens to break Bertie’s spine in three places (soon increasing to four, then five) so that Bertie is forced to spend most of the novel devising ways to avoid him.
Meanwhile, Aunt Dahlia (Bertie’s “aged relative”) begs Bertie and Jeeves to help her conceal the fact that she has pawned her pearl necklace to fund the rights to a new serial novel for her magazine, Milady’s Boudoir. When her unsuspecting husband invites an expert to the house to have the pearls valued, Dahlia knows she’s in trouble, so she asks Bertie to pretend to ‘steal’ the necklace – which he does, with disastrous results! As usual, it’s up to Jeeves to get everyone out of the predicaments they’ve found themselves in.
I loved this book; it was so funny, though I would find it difficult to actually quote any examples as a lot of the humour results from the ridiculous, complicated situations Bertie gets himself into. The language is great too, of course. What ho! The only problem I had is that as I haven’t read all the previous Jeeves and Wooster books there were sometimes references to things that had obviously happened in earlier novels that I haven’t read yet. It wasn’t too big a disadvantage, though, and I could still follow the story without having all of the relevant background knowledge.
Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit may not be a hugely important, must-read novel that will change your life, but it’s perfect for brightening up a boring Sunday afternoon or relaxing after a long day at work – and sometimes that’s all I really want from a book.