I have never read a book by P.G. Wodehouse before. Where have I been? I wasn’t around while P.G. Wodehouse was writing. I checked out his fascinating biography on Wikipedia because the book didn’t have a published date on it, although it does say first printing. Money in the Bank was first published in 1942 in the United States.
The book jacket has this blurb:
“A Peer of original ideas, George, sixth viscount Uffenham, had converted his own and his niece’s fortune into diamonds and ingeniously hidden them at Shipley Hall, the ancestral seat. Unfortunately, an accident, due to his opposition to the convention of driving a car on the left, had impaired his memory and, search as he would, he was unable to find his precious hoard.
“Dire lack of funds compelled him to let Shipley Hall, with himself disguised as the butler, to Mrs. Clarissa Cork, the eminent explorer and game huntress, who established there a colony for the propagation of the Ugubu doctrines – which called for high thinking, tribal dances and, above all, vegetarianism. Her assorted guests included Soapy Molloy, a share pusher of some distinction, whose ingratiating efforts to sell Mrs. Cork a block of bogus shares aroused the ire of his jealous wife, Dolly. She, with the fury of a woman scorned, induced Mrs. Cork to seek the services of a professional snoop – one Chimp Twist – ostensibly to keep an eye on the extremely suspicious behavior of the butler but in reality to watch her apparently faithless spouse. The job of hiring this sleuth fell to Mrs. Cork’s wholly desirable secretary, Anne Benedick, Lord Uffenham’s niece, who saw in him a possible secret ally to whom the recovery of the missing gems was but a matter of routine. But Jeff Miller, the sleuth she engaged was an impostor, who fell head over heels in love with her.”
If you made it through that than you can make it through the book. P.G. Wodehouse was not Ernest Hemingway with a bunch of short declarative sentences. His prose is a joy to read, to understand. It’s witty. It is engaging and fun while being a bit of a mental exercise.
The plot is hilarious, which a good thing considering that he was a humorist. I love the characters with their outrageous slang and over the top personalities. Even though there were a few words here and there, I enjoyed this romp in an English country home. I will be reading more of P. G. Wodehouse’s novels.