The Book: Wodehouse on Crime by P.G. Wodehouse
The Challenge: A book of short stories
If you haven't read any of P.G. Wodehouse's books, stop reading this, go out, find one, and read it. I'll wait, and you'll thank me for it.
I picked up this book because after the last two books I read for the Reading Challenge, I needed something light-hearted, and who better to read than the man who is quite possibly the most humorous writer the English language has ever produced?
Wodehouse on Crime is a collection of twelve "crime" stories. As it is Wodehouse writing, the "crimes" usually are some sort of faux pas caused by the bumblings of the Edwardian upper class. Included in this anthology are a few from:
- The Jeeves series: Jeeves is probably Wodehouse's most famous character. In any collection of his writing, these are usually my favorite and Jeeves and Wooster will forever be portrayed by Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in my brain. Included here are "The Purity of the Turf", "Without the Option", and "Aunt Agatha Takes the Count", of which "Without the Option" was my favorite.
- The Mr. Mulliner series: which involve Mulliner telling stories about his seemingly endless supply of nephews. I knew about these, but had never actually read one in the series. Of the ones in this book, my favorite was "The Smile that Wins", which details Adrian Mulliner, the private detective, and his attempts to overcome dyspepsia by smiling, unwittingly causing people to think he knows about their crimes.
- The Blandings series: This is also new to me, as I had only recently discovered the T.V. show "Blandings" (itself a wonderful adaptation) and was surprised to discover that I hadn't heard of it. The story included in this book is "The Crime Wave at Blandings", which involves Lord Emsworth's nephew bringing an air gun to the castle and causing a series of shootings which result in the resignation of the butler and the engagement of Emsworth's niece to her hither-to banned from the estate boyfriend.
- The Golf series: I don't know what to call these, actually. Wodehouse wrote a lot of short stories involving an (as far as I know) unnamed country club, where the Oldest Member traps unsuspecting people to listen to his stories. They are represented in this book by "The Purification of Rodney Spelvin". As far as Wodehouse's golfing stories go, this one is good, but not my favorite. I would heartily recommend looking up "The Salvation of George Mackintosh".
- Ukridge: Another of Wodehouse's series, these involve the escapades of the perpetually broke yet unwilling to work Stanley Ukridge as he comes up with numerous schemes to get rich, each one more elaborate than the last. "Ukridge's Accident Syndicate" is my favorite of the ones in this book.
All in all, Wodehouse on Crime is a wonderful collection of his short stories. This book will delight fans of Wodehouse and would serve as a fantastic introduction for those who haven't read his writing before.