- Hardcover: 682 pages
- Publisher: Avenel Books (1983)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0517405385
- ISBN-13: 978-0517405383
- Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #449,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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P.G. Wodehouse : Five Complete Novels (The Return of Jeeves, Bertie Wooster Sees It Through, Spring Fever, The Butler Did It, The Old Reliable) Hardcover – November 15, 1995
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Top Customer Reviews
The novels are set in post-World War II England, and as such they reflect those dispiriting times. The great mansions are in ruin from confiscatory taxation, TV distracts the intellect, Hollywood (not the London theater) dominates popular entertainment, and a loyal butler like Jeeves is clearly a holdover from a different era in which his employers were not, relatively speaking, impoverished.
Wodehouse's fans (of which there are many, both in the UK and the USA) will probably want to read these novels anyway. But if you are contemplating your first exposure to Wodehouse, I'd recommend instead any of his "classic" Bertie-and-Jeeves novels from the 1920s, when social class, punctilio, pith, dry wit and a plenitude of household help for the rich were integral elements of this type of humor. CARRY ON, JEEVES! happens to be my favorite, but there are plenty of other wonderful reads from this era.
Imagine the surprise that many P.G. Wodehouse fans have when they open The Butler Did It and find that the butler in question is a Mr. Augustus Keggs, the English butler for one J.J. Bunyan, an American multimillionaire. But this Keggs is a worthy character who fans of Jeeves will find to be very rewarding.
The book has one of the most intriguing plots in all of the Wodehouse novels. As the story opens, it is the night of September tenth, 1929, just before the collapse of the American stock market. Bunyan is entertaining a group of bored millionaires who are having a hard time deciding how to spend the money they are raking in. Among his guests is Mortimer Bayliss, his art curator, who cannot help but want to stir up the philistines. Bayliss proposes that the men each put up $50,000 with the proceeds of the tontine to go to the last of their sons to marry. Naturally, they have to keep the whole matter a secret or deny themselves the possibility of ever having grandchildren.
The book then glides forward in time to the mid 1950s in England as the end game of the tontine arrives. Mr. Keggs is a fellow tenant with Lord Uffenham (who has fallen on hard times), whom he formerly served as a butler, and his niece, Jane Benedick. Mr. Kegg's own niece, Emma, is engaged to marry Roscoe Bunyan, son of the late J.J. Bunyan, of the tontine. Like the wise and omniscient butler he is, Mr. Keggs had recorded the conversation that night and knows all about the tontine. The tontine is down to Roscoe and one other. Mr.Read more ›
But, dash it, they are Wodehouse and show an important part of his personality and the personality of his wonderful characters. Imagine a Jeeves-on-loan! Brilliant! It proves that Jeeves isn't only Jeeves at Bertie's side.
By the way, isn't "Bill" Shannon (aka, "The Old Reliable") an lovely example of the modern, liberated woman! "The Butler Did It" also takes a deserved, but painless, whack at modern art.
Don't let preconceptions tarnish what could well be "five of the best" from the master.
I enjoyed them immensely.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love PG Wodehouse, and this is an excellent collection. I don't think I can pick a favorite.Published 5 months ago by L. Sims
I said "predictable" as a compliment to the late P.G.Wodehouse's writing. I know I'll probably almost always find his tories and characters amusing, refreshing, and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by B. Jackson
A sublime collection by the greatest comic writer of the century. And the language...exquisite prose. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Moon
Great stories by one of the best English writers. Book is well printed.Published 14 months ago by James Dylan