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J. Wellington Gedge seems to have everything a man could desire: a rich wife, a chateau, a life of ease in the south of France. But all he really wants is to return to California, not least because Mrs Gedge, who holds the purse-strings, is scheming to have him appointed as American ambassador in Paris, which means he will have to wear a sissy uniform. Fortunately, her plans are thwarted by a complicated series of events which involves French aristocrats, American crooks, an English novelist and the appalling Senator Opal, whose daughter, Jane, has a mind of her own.
Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (always known as ‘Plum’) wrote about seventy novels and some three hundred short stories over seventy-three years. He is widely recognised as the greatest 20th-century writer of humour in the English language.
Perhaps best known for the escapades of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, Wodehouse also created the world of Blandings Castle, home to Lord Emsworth and his cherished pig, the Empress of Blandings. His stories include gems concerning the irrepressible and disreputable Ukridge; Psmith, the elegant socialist; the ever-so-slightly-unscrupulous Fifth Earl of Ickenham, better known as Uncle Fred; and those related by Mr Mulliner, the charming raconteur of The Angler’s Rest, and the Oldest Member at the Golf Club.
In 1936 he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for ‘having made an outstanding and lasting contribution to the happiness of the world’. He was made a Doctor of Letters by Oxford University in 1939 and in 1975, aged ninety-three, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He died shortly afterwards, on St Valentine’s Day.