Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen by PG Wodehouse

The Maiden Eggesford horror…

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

When Bertie Wooster wakes one morning to find he has developed pink spots on his chest, his doctor orders him off to the country to rest. Aunt Dahlia finds him a little cottage, Wee Nooke, in the village of Maiden Eggesford, where she herself is visiting at Eggesford Hall. Needless to say, idyllic though the setting is, there’s no rest to be found for poor Bertie! Not only does Aunt Dahlia want him to help her nobble a horse in the big local race, but old flame Vanessa Cook has decided that she will marry Bertie, much to his horror. Not only is she the type of girl who expects him to give up smoking and cocktails, but she also feels he would be improved by reading more poetry. And Orlo Porter, who loves Vanessa and has been spurned by her, is on the warpath.

….“Lord Chesterfield said that since he had had the full use of his reason nobody had heard him laugh. I don’t suppose you have read Lord Chesterfield’s ‘Letters To His Son’?”
….Well, of course I hadn’t. Bertram Wooster does not read other people’s letters. If I were employed in the post office I wouldn’t even read the postcards.

This was the last novel PG Wodehouse finished before his death, and it’s in the nature of a reprise of all his greatest hits. All the plots in the Jeeves and Wooster books are fundamentally the same, and that’s a large part of their charm. You know exactly what to expect and Wodehouse never fails to deliver. He repeats jokes from book to book, and yet they seem fresh every time because he’s such a master of the witty turn of phrase and his use of language is delicious.

If she ever turned into a werewolf, it would be one of those jolly breezy werewolves whom it is a pleasure to know.

The books with Aunt Dahlia in them are always my favourites. In this one, she intends to nobble Potato Chip, the racehorse owned by Vanessa’s father, because she has bet her all on Simla, owned by her host at Eggesford Hall. To achieve her aim, she arranges to steal a cat to which Potato Chip has become so deeply attached he refuses to train unless the cat is with him, and of course where better to hide a stolen cat than in Bertie’s cottage! Bertie tries to point out how ungentlemanly nobbling racehorses is, but Aunt Dahlia simply doesn’t see it that way. As Bertie has come to realise, aunts aren’t gentlemen. Mr Cook is on the warpath…

He was a red-headed chap, and my experience of the red-headed is that you can always expect high blood pressure from them in times of stress. The first Queen Elizabeth had red hair, and look what she did to Mary Queen of Scots.

PG Wodehouse

Of course, things get progressively more tangled, until the inimitable Jeeves saves the day with his usual display of inspired brilliance. Despite this having been written when Wodehouse was in his nineties, it’s right up there amongst his best. I chuckled my way through it, safe in the knowledge that all would be well. Jonathan Cecil is the perfect narrator for these books, and they are guaranteed to bring sunshine into the greyest day. It’s time they made Wodehouse available on the NHS!

Audible UK Link
Audible US Link

48 thoughts on “Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen by PG Wodehouse

  1. Lovely; there’s rarely a dull moment in Wodehouseland even if his plots are rather like each other. This isn’t one I’ve read but do mean to, especially because of the cat. It’s American title, if I remember right, was ‘The Cat-nappers’

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    • The Cat-nappers is quite appropriate for the plot, but I prefer Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen – it’s such a Bertie-ish sort of phrase! Normally an author recycling plots would drive me crazy, but with Wodehouse it just adds to the feeling of comfort. Nothing really bad could happen in Bertie’s world!

      Liked by 2 people

      • True, it is very Bertie like. And I agree the comfort factor, both in Bertie books and Blandings and Wodehouse more generally lies in that nothing really bad could happen there. There might be an imposter or two, things pinched, some confusion but all put to rights before long.

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  2. Oh, no! Expect Bertie to give up smoking and cocktails? Perish the thought, FictionFan! There is just something fun, comforting, whatever-you-want-to-call-it about a Wodehouse novel, isn’t there? And they’re consistently fun to read, too, across the series. Wooster and Jeeves are two of those iconic characters that you don’t find very often, but always remember fondly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I know! Bertie seems fatally attracted to these girls who immediately want to change him into a serious intellectual – thank goodness he has Jeeves to fend them off! I always loved the Jeeves and Wooster books, but I must say I think I love the audiobooks even more – Jonathan Cecil is brilliant at them! Real chicken soup for the soul! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love these books so much, and I think this is one of my favourites – I had no idea he wrote it (or assembled it from previous books!) so late in life. I find audiobooks of the J&W books a bit difficult because Hugh Laurie *is* Bertie Wooster to me, and so I am always mildly affronted that they are being read by someone else – but I’ve listened to Jonathan Cecil reading other Wodehouse novels, and agree his is very good.

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    • It’s always been one of my favourites too, and this is the first time I discovered it was his last book too – amazing that he was still producing books as funny as this in his nineties! Gives hope to us all! I felt the same about Hugh Laurie and still do as far as TV goes. But Jonathan Cecil has won me over totally with his narrations and now he *is* Bertie to me – and I love that he is able to give all the other characters distinctive voices and personalities too. I love his Aunt Dahlia… 😀

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  4. This is an author I’ve never read, but always intended to. You’ve convinced me that it’s time to add one to my TBR! Love the photo. Anyone who welcomes a dog on the back of their chair like that is good in my eyes. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • These books really are such great fun – nothing bad ever happens, the sun nearly always shines, Bertie’s always in trouble over some female trying to drag him reluctantly to the altar, and Jeeves is always there to save the day! And Wodehouse did always seem as if he was a genuinely nice chap in real life too, just like his characters, in fact! I do hope they work for you if you get around to trying them!

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  5. There is something very soothing about Wodehouse, it must be the fact his plots are all pretty much the same. We always know exactly what we are going to get, but as you say, that is part of his charm. I don’t think I ever read this particular one, but he is one of these authors you can never go too far wrong with. I’ll maybe look this up the next time I need a laugh and not too much brain action.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Usually an author repeating the same plot again and again would drive me crazy, but somehow with Wodehouse it just adds to the feeling of comfort – a safe world where nothing really bad could ever happen, and it’s always summer! 😀 I have a little stock of them on my shelves and in my Audible library so I always have one available for days when I need a bit of instant sunshine! 🌞

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  6. I find that really good jokes continue to be funny, no matter how often they’re repeated. In this case, familiarity breeds continued appreciation. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never read any of Wodehouse’s work, although I’ve known about him for years. Perhaps I should add one of his to my pile?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You should, and then keep it for some time you need an urgent mood uplift! If everyone would read more Wodehouse there would be no need for people to take drugs – legal or illegal! 😉

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  7. The fact that he was writing good stuff like this into his 90s gives me hope, FF. Maybe there’s still time for me to churn out something worth reading! Of course, Wodehouse had the “formula” perfected, and today’s publishers seem intent on moving the target regularly. Nice to end the week on a high note!

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    • Indeed! Long life seems a much more attractive prospect if there’s the hope of staying funny right up to the end! I love Jonathan Cecil – he’s great at Bertie, of course, but he’s also brilliant at creating distinctive voices and personalities for all the other characters.

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  8. I have never read any of P. G. Wodehouse’s books. I always thought his humor wasn’t for me, but in the last few years I have tried a lot of new to me genres and new to me authors and have been pleasantly surprised. So I hope to try one of his Bertie and Jeeves books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He’s definitely one of those authors people either “get” or don’t. I love his humour and the fact that his characters live in a world where the sun always shines and all troubles are trivial! I do hope the books give you as much pleasure as they do me, if you decide to try them!

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  9. I think I would delight in these novels, they sound right up my alley. The quotes you included are so funny, I like that kind of humour in particular, and these predicaments sound just complicated enough to keep my interest, but when I know how everything turns out I can really relax into the dialogue too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great point – knowing what’s going to happen definitely is part of what makes these so relaxing, and leaves you just to enjoy his fabulously witty use of language. I hope you find time to try him one day! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. you’re absolutely right, I heard dr’s were going to start prescribing gardening and bird song, so we could do all that while listening to Wodehouse. I can’t wait to get back to Bertie!

    Liked by 1 person

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