Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit (by PG Wodehouse)

I have a large collection of PG Wodehouse books on my shelves. I was first introduced to this classic author by my father, when I was about twelve, and have collected new and second-hand editions ever since. Yet I don’t read them very often, and there are some which I don’t ever recall having read before…

One such volume is ‘Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit’. I have a paperback edition, and I have no idea where it came from. Probably a charity shop many years ago. The ‘Jeeves’ books are some of my favourites, so it was with great delight that I selected this for my bedtime reading for the past few days.

The story, as usual, involves a series of misunderstandings. The valet Jeeves is horrified to find that Bertie Wooster has grown a moustache, and makes his disapproval clear. Bertie, however, is determined to take a strong line. In some of the stories, Jeeves displays passive aggression, refusing to help his young master solve his unlikely problems, until the object of his dislike has been removed. But in this one, as the title suggests, Jeeves rises above such pettiness, and solves many potential problems.

Much of the action takes place at Brinkley Hall, the stately home belonging to Bertie’s favourite Aunt Dahlia and her somewhat pernickety husband Tom. Aunt Dahlia sends Bertie a telegram, requiring his presence to attempt to cheer up young Percy, who is in love with Florence, who is engaged to D’Arcy Cheesewright…

Yes, as ever with Wodehouse, there are many characters involved in a complex dance of relationship. Florence (step-daughter to Bertie’s least favourite aunt, Agatha) is convinced Bertie is in love with her. Percy has asked Bertie to lend him some money so that he can put on a play he has written, dramatising a novel published by Florence… oh, and there are two pearl necklaces involved, as well.

The humour is gentle satire rather than anything to make me laugh aloud. Literary references abound, and Bertie’s general ignorance would become irritating if it weren’t for his extreme generosity and kindness.

An enjoyable story which would make a good introduction to PG Wodehouse and the ‘Jeeves’ stories.

As well as being widely available second-hand in many editions, this is sometimes found as part of an 'omnibus' edition of Jeeves and Wooster books. It might also be found inexpensively or free as an ebook. 

Review copyright 2017 Sue's Book Reviews

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