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The trouble which begins with Gussie Fink-Nottle wandering the streets of London dressed as Mephistopheles reaches its awful climax in his drunken speech to the boys of Market Snodsbury Grammar School. For Bertie Wooster's old friend has fallen in love with Madeline Bassett and, as usual, makes a hash of the affair until Jeeves comes to the rescue. In the meantime, Jeeves must also solve the mystery of the white mess jacket, while sorting out the lives of Bertie's cousin Angela, her mother, and her mother's French chef. In short, a normal working day for that prince among gentlemen's gentlemen in what must be a candidate for the name of the funniest novel in the English language.
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.