A chappie feels like an ass looking for Jeeves in a Blandings book, but I saydash it!you know, and all that rot, some fellows just cant be replaced, don't you know. The story is set in the sprawling Blandings castle where the semi-senile Lord Emsworth lives with his family, with his secretary The Efficient Baxter running the place. The story takes place during a house party and features what seems to be Wodehouses favorite plot device of somebody trying to steal something that was taken by mistake but the rightful ownerfor whatever reasonis too embarrassed to ask for the item back. While not as funny as the Jeeves books I have read, Something New did make me chuckle from time to time, causing my fellow bus passengers to give me funny looks and surreptitiously shift their backsides away. The pottering Lord Emsworth, the idiotic Honourable Frederick Threepwood, the always suspicious Baxter and the butler Beach, with his endless health complaints, and others are brilliant comic creations and I highly recommend that you acquaint yourself with them at your earliest convenience. Imagine a nice American lady coming to read to you while you are ill, you are not going to insist that she does accents, are you? It would be more accurate to say that Baxter felt like a man taking his first ride in an express elevator, who has outstripped his vital organs by several floors and sees no immediate prospect of their ever catching up with him again.
(3.5 stars) A light, amusing snack between meatier meals, this is the first installment in Wodehouses Blandings Castle series and every bit as silly, witty and delightfully early 20th century (published in 1915) as the other books Ive read by him (though I think I prefer Jeeves & Wooster).
Although this novel was published in 1915 and shows a social world that doesn't exist anymore, Wodehouse is still a brilliant read today due to his colourful characters (all larger than life and yet believable), witty dialogue, and scene staging.
This book is about a gathering in Blanding Castle where three people are after a scarab for their own purposes.
G. Wodehouse's Blandings Castle stories. This story follows Ashe Marson into the drafty halls of Blandings Castle, where he will try to make "something new" of his life by purloining a rare Egyptian scarab all for the best motives, of course. He will appear as this American millionaire's valet on a trip to Blandings Castle, but his real mission will be to steal back a priceless scarab which has made its way into Lord Emsworth's collection through a series of misadventures. I look forward to future adventures at Blandings Castle as I make my way through the remainder of my Wodehouse Challenge books.
The setting of Blanding castle and the scarab farce is hilarious.
The action starts in London, on a beautiful Spring morning, with the meeting between to young expats down on their luck: Ashe Marson and Joan Valentine, both writers of stories for popular magazines, after trying various other positions on the job market. Leading the British pack is Clarence, Lord Emsworth - 9th of the line, his younger son, the Honorable Freddie Threepwood, engaged to Aline and an ardent fan of the detective stories written by Ashe, numerous relatives and servants at the castle plus a shady Londoner that goes by the name of R. The plot is the usual fare for a Wodehouse novel, involving a lavish country house, fake identities, engagements in danger of being broken, absent minded nobility and stern servants, hijinks in the middle of the night (best scene in the book by far) trying to steal a hilarious McGuffin in the form of an Egyptian scarab of the reign of Cheops of the Fourth Dynasty, and the inevitable blossoming of romance : If girls realized their responsibilities they would be so careful when they smiled that they would probably abandon the practice altogether. There are moments in a man's life whe a girl's smile can have as important results as an explosion of dynamite.) Wodehouse sense of timing is flawless as usual, coreographing the movements of each character up and down stairs, in and out of guestrooms and servants quarters, strolling around the park or dashing into the neighboring village, like a master puppeteer with ten hands instead of two. It's not only the coincidence of my Goodreads nickname (this comes from another book about a mouse), it's the question of his relation with the hero of the other major series by Wodehouse, and where else he makes an appearance. A second theme of ardent social actuality at the time and present in many Wodehouse novels, is the emancipation of women, a battle that was far from won in 1915. It is left to fiery, self-reliant Joan Valentine to carry the torch for womanhood and to cut young Ashe attempts at chivalry in the bud, demanding equal treatment and a share in all the excitement: It won't do, Mr. Marson.
He worked with Cole Porter on the musical Anything Goes (1934) and frequently collaborated with Jerome Kern and Guy Bolton.