Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit by PG Wodehouse

Brouhaha at Brinkley…

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

When Jeeves returns to the old homestead after a short holiday, imagine his horror on discovering that in his absence Bertie has taken the opportunity to grow a moustache! Not everyone shares his distaste for the facial hair, though. Florence Craye, for one, thinks it’s simply marvellous. In fact, so enthusiastic is she that her fiancé, the beefy Stilton Cheesewright, develops a strong desire to break Bertie’s spine in four, or perhaps, five places. Only the thought that he has drawn Bertie in the Drones Club darts tournament and stands to win a hefty sum should Bertie triumph stays Stilton’s wrath. Bertie thinks it might be expedient however to retreat to Brinkley Court, Aunt Dahlia’s place, till the heat dies down, little knowing that he will soon find the place teeming with Florences, Stiltons, lovelorn playwrights, Liverpudlian newspaper magnates and Lord Sidcup, once known to all and sundry as the would-be dictator Roderick Spode. Will Jeeves overcome the coolness that has arisen over the matter of the moustache and rally round the young master in his hour of need? Or will Bertie find himself at last facing the long walk down the aisle into the dreaded state of matrimony…?

Wodehouse is on top form in this one, and I enjoyed meeting up with Florence Craye again – always one of my favourite Wooster girlfriends. She’s less drippy than Madeleine Bassett, less haughty than Honoria Glossop and less troublesome than Stiffy Byng. Were it not for the fact that she writes highbrow literary novels, I feel she would be a good match for our Bertie, but the poor man really prefers to curl up with The Mystery of the Pink Crayfish or suchlike.

I like B. Wooster the way he is. Lay off him, I say. Don’t try to change him, or you may lose the flavour. Even when we were merely affianced, I recalled, this woman had dashed the mystery thriller from my hand, instructing me to read instead a perfectly frightful thing by a bird called Tolstoy. At the thought of what horrors might ensue after the clergyman had done his stuff and she had a legal right to bring my grey hairs in sorrow to the grave, the imagination boggled.

Stilton’s jealousy gets a proper workout since, not only does he fear that Florence still has feelings for her ex-fiancé Bertie, but Percy Gorringe, a playwright who is converting Florence’s novel for the stage, seems to be mooning around after her rather a lot too.

PG Wodehouse

Meantime, Aunt Dahlia is trying to offload her magazine Milady’s Boudoir to a Liverpudlian newspaper magnate, Mr Trotter, so he and his social-climbing wife are in residence too as she hopes the wonders of Anatole’s cooking will soften him up and get her a good price. But when Uncle Tom invites Spode to Brinkley specifically to check out the pearl necklace he recently purchased for her, Aunt Dahlia is aghast. She has pawned the necklace to keep the magazine afloat till she sells it, and the pearls she is wearing are a paste imitation. Only Jeeves can save the day!

“…the core of the cultured imitation can be discerned, as a rule merely by holding the cultured pearl up before a strong light. This is what I did in the matter of Mrs Travers’ necklace. I had no need of the endoscope.”
“The what?”
“Endoscope, sir. An instrument which enables one to peer into the cultured pearl’s interior and discern the core.”
I was conscious of a passing pang for the oyster world, feeling – and I think correctly – that life for these unfortunate bivalves must be one damn thing after another…

Jonathan Cecil

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Jonathan Cecil who does his usual marvellous job of creating distinct and appropriate voices for each character – in this one he had extra fun with the Liverpudlian accents. His Bertie is perfect, and I love his Aunt Dahlia – one hears the baying hounds and distant view-halloo of the Quorn and Pytchley Hunts ringing in her tones each time she speaks.

Great fun – there’s nothing quite like spending a few hours in the company of these old friends to bring the sunshine into the gloomiest autumn day.

Audible UK Link
Audible US Link

43 thoughts on “Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit by PG Wodehouse

  1. For fun and a good yarn, you can’t go wrong with a Wodehouse, FictionFan! Little wonder Agatha Christie was such an admirer of his work. A nice way to spend a cold autumn day… And you’re right about the characters. I do like the way Wodehouse creates a community from them, so that you do feel you’re in their company.

    • I love the way the characters keep reappearing – half the fun is discovering which of Bertie’s old girlfriends will turn up and how he will avoid marrying her this time. And I love when he includes bits about his love for crime fiction too – I always end up wishing the books he mentions were real… The Mystery of the Pink Crayfish sounds like a gem! 😀

  2. There are so many characters that I got a bit turned around in this review, but I think part of that is I haven’t read any Jeeves and Wooster, so I don’t have the framework of the series memorized. I do love that part of the story hinges on a mustache, which reminds me of how nutty people go when Alex Trebek of Jeopardy! changes his facial hair, especially that iconic mustache.

    • Haha – that comment is a real indication of the cultural divide between Britain and America – you’ve never read Jeeves and I’ve never seen Jeopardy! Yes, the characters all reappear in different combinations throughout the books so half the fun is seeing who will show up this time… 😀

      • Oh, that’s clever! So many books are the same characters repeatedly, and I don’t know how readers tolerate it. I mean, I only visit family so often because I know then so well. I have to hear the same stories about the time my cousin melted his hose in a forest fire, or that time my granny accidentally sent a sexually explicit text to my mom. Reading a series with the same characters HAS to be like that.

        • Hahaha – but Bertie Wooster and his friends are so much more fun to spend time with than most people’s families *looks round warily in case her brother or sister are listening* My American uncle, now deceased, used to visit Scotland every five years and tell us all the same stories each time. I loved them all, but was kinda glad he didn’t visit every year… 😉

  3. This made me laugh because Peter is currently growing a beard…and I share Jeeves’ distaste for facial hair. I have yet to read any Wodehouse but I probably should!

    • Hahaha – Jeeves would be even more horrified by a beard, I suspect! Tell Peter you’ll make him marry Florence Craye if he doesn’t shave immediately… 😉 You must read Wodehouse – perfect for a day when life is getting you down… 😀

        • Personally, I think the Jeeves and Wooster stories are way above the rest, although lots of people have a preference for his Blandings series. You can really jump in anywhere with Jeeves – there’s no story arc or anything and he always fills in any necessary background as he goes along. The plot is irrelevant largely and basically always the same, which is why people often say they don’t remember which is which – it’s the glory of the humorous language that makes them special. I love this one, and Right Ho, Jeeves, and The Code of the Woosters, and Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen… 😀

  4. One of my favourite Jeeves and Wooster stories (which is really saying something, because I love them all so much). I always love Jeeves’ extremely professional manner of demonstrating disapproval over sartorial matters.

    • Haha – me too! And Bertie is always so generous in the end when he gives way. I love them all too, but they all tend to merge together in my mind so I never remember which one is which. This one is great – I always love the ones that happen at Brinkley. 😀

    • I love this narrator – he’s the perfect Bertie and he’s so great at all the other characters too, even the women! Haha – I’m thinking of moving to Bertie’s world – it’s so much better than this one… 😉

  5. I’ve only read a few of the Jeeves and Wooster books and this is one of them, though I can’t remember much about it now apart from the moustache. They’re such fun to read – I must read more of them soon!

    • I never remember anything about the books individually – they all merge into one in my mind, which is great because it means I can read them again and again without them feeling stale. This one was particularly enjoyable – I love the ones that are set at Brinkley Court with Aunt Dahlia… 😀

  6. I want to listen just for the Liverpudlian accent! I wonder if the regional dialects there are as easy for me to hear as the ones here. I love accents! So fascinating. Happy you had a great listen and now I want to listen to this one, too.

      • Even in the state I live in, the accent changes drastically from the coast to the mountains! Even for different regions of the coast. Some of it depends on how isolated the places are, and it also depends on who settled there…and again the isolation which preserves the dialect.

        My mom’s family is from a coastal area near Jamestown, Virginia, and they speak with a slight British accent (though it would probably not sound British to you, there are definitely similarities in the pronunciations of certain words) even after having forebears settle there over 400 years ago. 😂 about you not being able to understand all British accents. I love it! I bet you have a gorgeous accent, and so many fun words to use, too.

        • Even in tiny Scotland there are loads of different regional accents. My sister lives in Dundee which isn’t much more than 100 miles away from Glasgow and yet I often find myself struggling to understand some of them – partly unfamiliar words and partly accent. I can’t resist giving you a link to my favourite youtube vid about Glasgow and American accents – I warn you, though, there’s a bit of swearing in it…

          • I love this, FF! I cannot stop laughing! At times, the only thing I understood was the “eleven!” 😂 Sometimes I understood more, though! I feel like a dolt because of course you would have just as many or more dialects as we do. It’s just the way of the world, and it keeps it fun for sure. No wonder this is a favorite video of yours!

    • I think they all stand alone, even though there are recurring characters who do get engaged, married, etc., as they go along. But the plots are really secondary just to the silliness and his brilliant use of language, and he always provides enough background to each character as they appear. I would say, though, that like a lot of writers who live to a grand old age, his later books don’t have quite the same sparkle as his earlier ones.

  7. I agree with you about the sense of community, I love the Drones Club! I have a Wodehouse on my classics list and you’ve inspired me to read it soon – I haven’t come across this audible version, has he read many?

    • Haha – yes, I love when they all throw bread rolls at each other – more dinner parties should have that, I think! 😉 He’s done loads of them, maybe even all of them, I suspect. Because I know most of them so well, I’ve been really enjoying listening to them this time round for a change, and tried a few different narrators, and Jonathan Cecil is the best by miles! 😀

    • Haha – I love the nicknames! Yeah, I seem to be surviving on a constant diet of Wodehouse and vintage crime at the moment – when you find yourself getting nostalgic for the days of WW2 you know things must be bad…

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