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Anyone who involves himself with Roberta Wickham is asking for trouble, so naturally Bertie Wooster finds himself in just that situation when he goes to stay with his Aunt Dahlia at Brinkley Court. So much is obvious. Why celebrated loony-doctor Sir Roderick Glossop should be there too, masquerading as a butler, is less clear. As for Bertie’s former headmaster, the ghastly Aubrey Upjohn, the dreadful novelist, Mrs Homer Cream and her eccentric son Wilbert, their presence is entirely perplexing. Without Jeeves to help him solve these mysteries, Bertie nearly comes unstuck. It is only when that peerless manservant returns from his holiday that the resulting tangle of problems is sorted out to everyone’s satisfaction – except Bertie’s.
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.