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One of the things I like most about Wodehouse books is that everyone's always talking about money - having it, losing it, marrying for it, borrowing it - in great detail. The result is that you end up learning a lot about the economic conditions of the time in which the stories are set. And that's one of the best aspects of this book.
'Ring for Jeeves' is set in post-WWII Britain, when the term 'impoverished nobility' was more applicable than ever before: the economy was a mess, the pound had been devalued, and even titled aristocrats - who formerly had lived on 'private income' or income from large country estates - had to start getting real jobs and selling their 15-bedroom castles to Americans, who were the only ones with enough money to handle the upkeep.
The male members of the leisure class are forced to take jobs at Harrods-like department stores, and the 'delicately nurtured' female members are becoming more independent and career-minded: Hilarity ensues!
In many ways, the story feels like a Blandings Castle novel onto which Jeeves has been grafted. It's not entirely successful (apparently wrote the play first, and then turned it into a book, and I think the retrofitting is apparent) but overall it's a decent story, has some good moments of humor, and provides a great insight into the upper classes in the late 40s and early 50s.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I avoided this for a long time because Bertie Wooster isn't in it. Big mistake. It's a delightful story, every bit as laugh-out-loud funny as any Wooster and Jeeves outing, and Nigel Lambert is a wonderful reader. Wodehouse treats his characters badly, ratcheting up the tension and the potential calamities down to the last 15 minutes - and then Jeeves, as always, saves the day with a few brilliant, fish-fed suggestions. It's all based on the psychology of the individual - and no one is better manager of that than Jeeves.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful