Jeeves and the King of Clubs [Ben Schott]

Source: Amazon India Kindle edition

Read date: 26 March 2020

Goodreads link.

Goodreads Summary:

What ho! A new Jeeves and Wooster novel, penned in homage to P.G. Wodehouse by bestselling author Ben Schott, in which literature’s favorite gentleman and his gentleman’s personal gentleman become spies in service to the Crown.

The misadventures of P.G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster and his incomparable valet, Jeeves, have delighted audiences for nearly a century. Now, bestselling author Ben Schott brings this odd couple back to life in a madcap new adventure that is full of the hijinks, entanglements, imbroglios, and Wodehousian wordplay that readers love. And, by Jove, there’s a hook!

In this escapade, the Junior Ganymede Club (Jeeves’s association of butlers and valets) is revealed to be an arm of the British intelligence service. Jeeves must ferret out a Fascist spy, and only his hapless employer can help. Unfolding in the background are school-chum capers, affairs of the heart, drawing-room escapades, antics with aunts, and sartorial set-tos.

Energized by Schott’s effervescent prose, Jeeves and the King of Clubs delights longtime fans and introduces a new audience to the comic joys of these beloved characters.

Notes:

  • My plan to read only light nonfiction while CoViD-19 burns the world also had me buying a book for the first time in ages. And boy, was it worth it!
  • So, first things first – this book is in a sort of uncanny valley. The humour and language have the joyous energy of a PG Wodehouse book, but without being the same sort of sentences PGW would have used himself. It’s still perfectly enjoyable – you just end up feeling “This is not exactly how Joy in the Morning or The Code of the Woosters would have done it.” But to be fair, the later Wooster books also have that slightly disjoint language from the earlier ones.
  • And as other people have pointed out in the Goodreads reviews, this book makes Bertie far more intelligent than you would expect.
  • I’m prepared to deal with that in an in-universe way – Bertie did join British intelligence, and this was the secret memoir he wrote about it. All the other Wooster books, written to make him seem such a blithering idiot were the cover he maintained. Now, the classified, real memoirs are being released. What ho!
  • The “all a distraction to maintain cover” explanation also provides one explanation for why the Wooster saga, while taking only about six to eight years, stretches from the 1920s to the 1970s. But I hope the world also gets an alternate, scifi / time travel explanation. My pet theory is that Jeeves is able to alter the laws of physics around himself, which is also how he is able to get bowties into the perfect butterfly shape. Oh my god, what if Jeeves is the Eleventh Doctor?
  • Time to plug my other theory that Wooster is wounded in World War 1, suffers PTSD, and then subsequently hallucinates all his adventures. Sir Roderick Glossop is obviously his attending doctor and Jeeves is the nurse.
  • Coming back to this book, I ship Bertie and Iona and I hope they went off and had adventures together all through WW2 and the Cold War.
  • Why am I character-crushing on Iona so much considering she’s probably pale and spindly? Amy Pond hangover, perhaps.
  • I loved that Ben Schott included annotations to explain the references and jokes – but I wish they had been endnotes instead of footnotes, where they just disrupted my flow of reading.
  • My favourite annotation was to discover that Types of Ethical Theory, which Florence Craye rams down Bertie’s throat when Jeeves and Woosters first come into each other’s orbit, is a real book!
  • The infodump on the clubs of London is my next favourite set of annotations.
  • The side plot of Aunt Dahlia attempting to create a competing Worcestershire sauce to Lea and Perrin is glorious. The tantalus one is just meh, though.

 

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