The Inimitable Jeeves (also published as Jeeves) by P. G. Wodehouse is one of a series of books set around the 1920s, about a good-natured aristocrat named Bertie Wooster and his trusty valet, Jeeves. Each chapter is a short episode in the life of Wooster, as he manages to get himself into all kinds of challenging predicaments. Wooster is well-meaning and thinks he can manage problems on his own, but usually his ideas end in disaster. Jeeves is very civil and highly intelligent, so he always finds a way to solve Wooster’s problems. The stories are hilarious and I enjoyed this book immensely.
I especially liked a chapter in which Wooster tries to help a friend named Bingo Little. Bingo is in love with a lady named Honoria Glossop. Honoria has a little brother named Oswald. Wooster’s idea is to shove Oswald off a bridge so that Bingo can dive into the lake and rescue the boy, to win the heart of Honoria. When the time comes to execute the plan, Bingo suddenly decides that he no longer loves Honoria, so Wooster must attempt to save Oswald himself. As a result, Honoria falls in love with Wooster instead of Bingo. Jeeves comes to the rescue by triggering a series of events that cause Honoria’s parents to become very angry at Wooster. The Glossops forbid their marriage and Wooster is saved from an unhappy union.
I also enjoyed reading about Wooster’s aunt, Agatha. She is described as having a beaked nose and mostly grey hair. She is very refined and proper, so she disapproves of Wooster’s lazy habits. Aunt Agatha is always trying to convince Wooster to get married and to do something useful in his life. She becomes very aggressive toward Wooster, from his perspective. Wooster sometimes describes her metaphorically as “coming at him with a hatchet” or “polishing her hatchet at this very moment.” Their interactions are always very amusing.
Overall, I highly enjoyed this book as well as the other Jeeves books that I have read. Jeeves’ refined use of the English language is delightful to read. I am always amused at Jeeves’ calm and gentlemanly demeanor even as Wooster gets into ridiculous situations. No matter what happens, Jeeves politely addresses Wooster as “sir” and finds a clever way to get him out of trouble. This book is a delight to read and I hope to someday read all of the Wodehouse books.
The Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.