“Everything in life that’s any fun, as somebody wisely observed, is either immoral, illegal or fattening.”

I’ve recently found that no one can make me laugh with such highbrow British humor like P.G. Wodehouse can. While his stories can sometimes seem (to steal a term from a fellow reviewer) formulaic, they are nevertheless entertaining each time, with characters that delight and plot twists that leave you giggling and groaning with anticipation at what zany fiascoes will pop up next. Nothing is ever quite what it appears or as easy as you hope in the Wodehouse world, and we readers are the better for it.

“The shock of bad news affects different people in different ways. Some hardy souls are able to take it with a stiff upper lip, but on none of the three upper lips at the moment under advisement was there anything remotely resembling rigidity. Crispin, who on receipt of Barney’s bombshell had quivered like a jelly in a high wind, was still quivering; Jerry uttered an odd gurgling sound which might have proceeded from the children’s toy known as the dying rooster; while Chippendale once more requested some unspecified person to chase his Aunt Fanny up a gum tree. It would not be too much to say that consternation reigned.”

In this Wodehouse novel, we meet several slightly absurd characters. Firstly are the Pyles. Homer, the American businessman, and his sister Bernadette (or Barney) Clayborne. Barney has just been apprehended for shoplifting, and Homer is wondering if a nice trip to England might not be just what the society pages ordered. Meanwhile, as he has been serving jury duty in London, Jerry West has just fallen in love with the girl of his dreams. The only problem is, he doesn’t know her name and he is also engaged to someone else. Finally, we have Crispin and Willoughby Scrope. The elder of the Scropes (Crispin) is in possession of a large country house and a non-traditional butler named Chippendale, and the younger is in possession of a vast deal of money which the elder envies. Enter all of this a small and valuable miniature painting – “The Girl in Blue” – and you have yourself a story.

This, while not quite as entertaining as the two other Wodehouse novels I’ve read, is still a gem of a book and comes highly recommended for high humor from me, to you.

“The Girl in Blue” was written by P.G. Wodehouse and published in 1970.

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