We want Jeeves....

Well, I wanted Jeeves anyway, as I read If I were you, the first Wodehouse book I've ever read that left me oddly disappointed. I usually find Wodehouse hilariously funny, and always original. This novel raised the odd smile, but none of the laugh-out-loud moments that I usually get with Wodehouse. The plot is pretty derivative too owing something to The Importance of Being Earnest along with a touch of the warming-pan baby affair.

Everything seems fine in the life of Anthony Bryce, Earl of Droitwich. He has a car that he adores, is engaged to be married to Violet Waddington (heiress to Waddington's 97 Soups) and an aunt and uncle who love him. If he's not entirely convinced that the Waddington match is the love of the century, does it really matter, when he knows that all of that cash is going to come his way and maintain the family home at Langley End? Disaster is about to strike though when Nanny Price comes to visit and reveals that she swapped her own baby with Earl Droitwich's infant son shortly after birth. Her apparent son, Syd Price, barber and manufacturer of hair restoratives, is about to be restored as heir to the Droitwich Estate.

This is not unadulterated bad news though for Anthony, as although he may have lost an estate and his fiancee, has found his true love in Polly, a manicurist at Syd Price's London salon. Can Syd keep away from the clippers? Can Anthony avoid Violet? Why is Freddie Chalk-Marshall interested in marketing hair restoring lotion? All will be revealed in Wodehouse's If I were you. 

As is usual with Wodehouse, it's clever and funny, but it does lack the smoothness, ingenuity, and plain laugh-out-loud zaniness of his writing at its best. A must-read for Wodehouse aficionados, but not the Master of Comedy at his best.


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