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Title: Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit
Series: Jeeves Omnibus #4.1
Author: P.G. Wodehouse
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Bertie has grown a moustache, which Jeeves disapproves of. G. D’Arcy “Stilton” Cheesewright, a fellow member at the Drones Club who has drawn Bertie’s name in the annual club darts sweep, becomes jealous when Cheesewright’s fiancée Florence Craye says she loves Bertie’s moustache. Florence and Bertie were engaged in the past, and Stilton mistakenly believes Bertie still loves her. Stilton is also jealous of Percy Gorringe, a playwright dramatizing Florence’s novel Spindrift.
Disappointed with Stilton after he refuses to grow a moustache, Florence asks Bertie to take her to a night club for research for her next novel. Hoping to talk her into returning to Stilton, Bertie agrees. However, the night club is raided. When Florence tries to run away, Bertie trips a policeman chasing her. Florence escapes and Bertie spends the night in jail before paying a fine of ten pounds. Shortly afterward, Florence and Stilton reconcile when Stilton agrees to grow a moustache.
At her home of Brinkley Court, Aunt Dahlia, Bertie’s aunt who runs a magazine called Milady’s Boudoir, is trying to sell the paper to the Liverpudlian newspaper magnate Mr. Trotter, who brought along his wife Mrs. Trotter and his stepson, Percy Gorringe. Aunt Dahlia has hired the successful novelist Daphne Dolores Morehead, who is staying at Brinkley, to write a serial for Milady’s Boudoir, to make the magazine appear successful to Mr. Trotter. Aunt Dahlia is also trying to win over Mr. Trotter with the magnificent cooking of her French chef, Anatole, though this does not seem to be working.
Florence has also gone to Brinkley Court. Aunt Dahlia tells Bertie to come to Brinkley to cheer up Percy, who is in love with Florence and upset that she is with Stilton. Stilton discovers that Florence and Bertie went to a night club together, and breaks his engagement to her by telegram. He comes to Brinkley Court, seeking revenge on Bertie, who avoids Stilton.
Bertie learns from Aunt Dahlia that she pawned the pearl necklace her husband Tom Travers bought her to pay for the new serial, without telling Tom. She is wearing a fake pearl necklace instead, and fears that Lord Sidcup, a jewellery expert who is coming to see Uncle Tom’s silver collection, will reveal the necklace as a fake. Jeeves suggests that Bertie act as a burglar and steal the fake necklace. Bertie attempts to do so but mistakenly enters Florence’s bedroom. She is moved to see him and assumes that he is in love with her. When Stilton comes to return her letters, Florence says she will marry Bertie, and Stilton, finding Bertie in Florence’s room, becomes aggressive. Bertie saves himself by reminding Stilton about the Drones Club darts sweep: hurting Bertie could cost Stilton fifty-six pounds and ten shillings. Uncle Tom locks Aunt Dahlia’s necklace in a safe. In addition, Lord Sidcup is revealed to be the recently elevated Roderick Spode.
After selling his Drones Club darts sweep ticket to Percy Gorringe, Stilton again threatens Bertie. Bertie tries, unsuccessfully, to fend off Stilton with a cosh, though Stilton forgets about Bertie and Florence when he sees Daphne Dolores Morehead and falls for her. Seeing Uncle Tom’s safe open, Bertie takes a pearl necklace he sees there. Next he talks to Aunt Dahlia, who says she took the fake necklace from the safe. The necklace Bertie took belongs to Mrs. Trotter. Bertie tries to put back the second necklace, but is unable to do so since Mr. Trotter shuts the safe door.
At breakfast, Aunt Dahlia’s butler Seppings presents Mrs. Trotter’s pearl necklace on a salver, stating that he found it in Jeeves’s room. Though Bertie prepares to confess stealing the necklace to save Jeeves, Jeeves says he planned to find the necklace’s owner, since he realized the pearls were fake and assumed the necklace belonged to a housemaid. Spode, or Lord Sidcup, confirms the pearls are fake. Percy admits that he pawned his mother’s real pearl necklace to produce the play based on Florence’s novel. Florence is touched, and she and Percy get engaged.
Mr. Trotter dislikes Anatole’s cooking. However, he feels much better after having one of Jeeves’s special drinks, and purchases Milady’s Boudoir. Grateful to Jeeves, Bertie agrees to shave off his moustache.
Much like authors, I am going to dedicate this review to someone. I’ve never understood why authors do that, because who cares? I’m doing it because I like poking people for the fun of it 😀 Back when I started this Jeeves series, or maybe even before, I talked with Irresponsible Reader on one of his posts and he really doesn’t like the humor of Wodehouse. I on the other hand absolutely LOVE the humor in these books. So, HC, here’s mud in your eye 😉
This was a full length novel but surprisingly, to me, I enjoyed the whole thing. It didn’t feel overly long or stretched out. The stupid-humor of Bertie Wooster never grated or came across as “too much”. So many mis-happenings and accidents just made me smile.
Now, I never did find myself laughing out loud, as I have in previous books, but I also never groaned. It felt very much like a “Classic Jeeves” story. Besides a short story collection, this felt like a high point.