goodreads tells me i ve now read seventeen wodehouse books, with sixteen of those being novels and short stories the other is a wonderful collection i can only highly recommend, called Wodehouse On Wodehouse that is part memoir of his time writing for musical theatre, and partly selected letters, and also part sort of autobiography so it should be obvious that i love a good wodehouse novel but i m coming to terms that i have certain favourites and that wodehouse has a cast of archetypes for goodreads tells me i ve now read seventeen wodehouse books, with sixteen of those being novels and short stories the other is a wonderful collection i can only highly recommend, called Wodehouse On Wodehouse that is part memoir of his time writing for musical theatre, and partly selected letters, and also part sort of autobiography so it should be obvious that i love a good wodehouse novel but i m coming to terms that i have certain favourites and that wodehouse has a cast of archetypes for his fiction, and depending on which set you read first, you might take on a preference i definitely have it s jeeves and wooster that i love best though there are individual stories with many of the characters, the drones, mr mulliner, uncle fred in particular, that i also adore i ve thought about wodehouse characters, trying to slot them into the various archetypes he uses and trying to determine the overlap and traits, and from them, my own predilections wodehouse has a template and it s a mistake to focus on it his comic archetypes and his classical structure serves its purpose as a springboard for wodehouse s pen, dripping with outrageously clever language, and dialogue, his remarkable facility with them might remind us again of that highly successful career in musical theatre, mostly writing the lyrics to guy bolton s book they collaborated in a fruitful partnership of hits with composer jerome kern above all, he has a truly genius comedic witand sometimes it hits one harder than others, in some booksso than others wodehouse fans all have their favourites and so, i must make it clear that while i m invariably in wodehouse s corner, he s at a disadvantage here with me because i m not with jeeves and wooster.in this novel, summer lightning, we are at blandings castle, with clarence, lord emsworth who is a fine an old mad lord as one could ever wish for, pig happy and free of all cares except those that are visited on him by his fussy family his nephew, ronnie fish son to his sister, julia stirs up trouble by wanting to marry a showgirl lord emsworth is largely unaware of this for the most part while they, and the rest of his satellites his bossy sisters, his brother, a jeeves like sage aptly named galahad who is writing infamous memoirs, his scheming secretaries former and current , his butler, his daughter, the much maligned neighbour slash pig competition competitor all conspire around him shenanigans ensue, and they are funny but a little long for me and then to find the action continued in the follow up summer lightning, which further extends the story of the romance of ronnie and his show girl sue, and also resolving the other major plotline revolving around the memoirs that galahad s been writing that dash it all might tarnish the reputations of several members of the british aristocracy who also serve as family friends and acquaintances again the same story in essentials and in short, too long i may have perhaps liked them better had i not read them back to back but they do feel like one really, really long novel to me and perhaps it s just not as absurd as i like my wodehouse certainly, i know i seem contradictory i just said one had to go with the structure but there s too much of it, and just not enough i find funny here or enough wodehouse flourish to make me forget and beyond that, i miss jeeve s ability to bring order to the chaos, and i miss bertie s ability to bungle it so jeeves has to do it all over again as they did in a similarly themed young lovers, scandalous memoirs short story called jeeves takes charge that introduced the two characters, which i read, incidentally, on first delving into wodehouse books in earnest preference established it s never out and out boring and a middling wodehouse is still better than many this one just isn t a favourite A joy to read and chortle along The hapless jealous Ronnie in love with the delightful Sue Brown, the chorus girl with the heart of gold Galahad Threepwood with his explosive reminiscences threatening Sir Gregory Parsloe Parsloe career in politics Clarence with the love of his life the Empress Throw in Pilbeam a detective with no scruples and Carmody and Millicent Combined we have a farce with hilarity Beach the butler trying to do the right thing Efficient Baxter not being efficient The A joy to read and chortle along The hapless jealous Ronnie in love with the delightful Sue Brown, the chorus girl with the heart of gold Galahad Threepwood with his explosive reminiscences threatening Sir Gregory Parsloe Parsloe career in politics Clarence with the love of his life the Empress Throw in Pilbeam a detective with no scruples and Carmody and Millicent Combined we have a farce with hilarity Beach the butler trying to do the right thing Efficient Baxter not being efficient The Empress is stolen several times to garner the goodwill of Lord Elmsworth We have a castle full of imposters, deception around every corner as well as lovers misconstruing innocent activities Sit back, read and laugh I know that Wodehouse had a short and unsuccessful career in Hollywood but, while reading this novel, I found myself wondering what influence Wodehouse s books and characters might have had on the screenwriters of some of the 1930 s screwball comedies. I needed a diversion for a couple of days from the national tragedy that is unfolding before our eyes and figured some Wodehouse would help.Sir Galahad Threepwood is writing his Reminiscences, much to the horror of his sister, Lady Constance Keeble As she tells her strangely sinister sycophant Rupert Baxter, the former hated private secretary to her pig obsessed brother Clarence, Lord Emsworth, she must get her hands on Gally s manuscript because it is full from beginning to end of libelous I needed a diversion for a couple of days from the national tragedy that is unfolding before our eyes and figured some Wodehouse would help.Sir Galahad Threepwood is writing his Reminiscences, much to the horror of his sister, Lady Constance Keeble As she tells her strangely sinister sycophant Rupert Baxter, the former hated private secretary to her pig obsessed brother Clarence, Lord Emsworth, she must get her hands on Gally s manuscript because it is full from beginning to end of libelous anecdotes, Mr Baxter About all our best friends If it is published we shall not have a friend left Galahad seems to have known everybody in England when they were young and foolish, and to remember everything particularly foolish and disgraceful that they ever did Will Galahad s nephew, the obsessively jealous Ronnie Fish, be able to hide Sue Brown s past as a laid off chorus girl and the fact that her mother was once the rage of London s cabaret nightlife Will Ronnie be able to convince Clarence to give him some of his trust fund to afford marriage Will his best friend and partner in a recently failed London nightclub, Hugo Carmody, succeed in his new role as Clarence s assistant and successfully woo Millicent Threepwood, Clarence s niece, even as Constance strongly disapproves When Clarence s prized pig the Empress of Blandings goes missing, his rival for the title of Shropshire s Agricultural Show fattest pig competition, Sir Gregory Parsloe Parsloe, seems the most obvious suspect Sir Gregory also fears the consequences that will come with the publication of Galahad s book He enlists the slimy private detective, Percy Pilbeam, who has an infatuation with Sue Brown, to steal it for him Pilbeam will investigate the missing pig as a ruse to join the human menagerie clustered at Blandings Castle In the meantime, the odious Baxter schemes to get his hands on the manuscript and get his job back, despite Clarence s objections, through Lady Constance s patronage How will the tensions about love, a pig, a book, and the turmoil they create be solved For those uninitiated to P.G Wodehouse s universe, he may well be the greatest comedic writer in the English language The prose of Summer Lightening is at its sharpest and the laughs never relent Although there were a few books at the time of its publication with the same title, this one fulfills Wodehouse s modest hope that this story will be considered worthy of inclusion in the list of the Hundred Best Books Called Summer Lightening It certainly is.With all the horrendous noise coming out of Washington these days, I have a feeling I ll be revisiting Wodehouse a fewtimes this year Escapism may never have been as therapeutic as it is now I m only as reliable as Lord Emsworth when it comes to judging which among Wodehouses s numbers is his best, but I believe this one is right up there among his finest As if Lord Emsworth, Hon Galahad and the efficient Baxter weren t enough material, there were atleast a dozen other weapons of mass amusement that were thrown in for good measure, on the whole building up enough ammunition to take eons of pent up stress to the cleaners. For less than the price of a cup of English tea Each book that PG writes, proffers hours and hours of delightful entertainment.This accomplished and sophisticated writer always delivers.Highbrow, erudite comedic writing is difficult to summit even once.And yet, Mr Wodehouse is a singular Sherpa in this vocation.A tip of my bowler to you, again, sir. Evenlike A Midsummer Night s Dream fortified with extra McGuffins than all the other Wodehouses I ve read so far Would not be surprised if that was the intention here.It seems my enjoyment of the Blandings stories is partly dependent on the characters of the usually young people staying at the house and causing havoc Something Fresh remains my favourite of the novels so far because I liked Ashe and Joan so much nor was anyone else notably objectionable Ronald Overbury Fish, however, Evenlike A Midsummer Night s Dream fortified with extra McGuffins than all the other Wodehouses I ve read so far Would not be surprised if that was the intention here.It seems my enjoyment of the Blandings stories is partly dependent on the characters of the usually young people staying at the house and causing havoc Something Fresh remains my favourite of the novels so far because I liked Ashe and Joan so much nor was anyone else notably objectionable Ronald Overbury Fish, however, is an utter arse Given his name, I was rather tempted to use the other word, making a bad taste pun that one is really not supposed to but it would be rather out of keeping with Wodehouse, never mind potentially attract irate commenters for no worthwhile reason Besides, in the peculiar unspoken gradations of meaning attached to swearwords, I m not sure it quite suits him But yes, Ronnie Fish has no notable redeeming qualities, is lazy, violent, dishonest, unattractive, and above all has a serious jealousy problem that meant I was sincerely hoping he did not get married in the end I thought this was probably irredeemable in 1929, when Freud hadn t so much as arrived in London yet, and a world in which young men usually possessed of a crust of calm detachment from all human emotion, built up by years of Eton and Cambridge would even consider therapy was many decades away His ex girlfriend travels hundreds of miles to his house, uninvited, after being dumped, whilst pretending to be someone else which is really not on either, but otherwise she basically is a likeable and civilised individual, if deluded in wanting to marry this awful man, whose relatives have the decency to warn her His cousin Millicent is worryingly jealous too, but I found her likeable otherwise it was her reading Schopenhauer whilst broken hearted that sealed it and at least she displays no inclination to fly off the handle and punch people.I am relieved to see that Ronnie does not appear in many other books In the second half he was mostly off screen which made the restenjoyable, with a return of the feelings of warmth and cosiness and good humour that are the point of these books Still, I was increasingly dismayed by the misunderstanding and mistrust heaped on poor Baxter I suspect, that rather like my tendency to feel sorry for Basil Fawlty and hope he would win occasionally, one isn t supposed to feel this way Regardless, I do have some strange affection for the rest of the regulars, in whom attributes that would surely be trying in person somehow become loveable eccentricities on the page, and the idyllic setting is undoubtedly a character in itself I would love a Blandings autumn or winter though Wodehouse clearly loved his endless summers, but having got through several in succession, as a fan of the colder, darkening months perhaps such people did not exist in draughty castles of the pre central heating era I am starting to find these summers like my equivalent of the Narnian winter The Honourable Galahad Threepwood has decided to write his memoir a tell all that could destroy polite society Everyone wants this manuscript gone, particularly Lord Emsworth s neighbor Sir Gregory Parsloe Parsloe, who would do anything to keep the story of the prawns buried in the past But the memoir isn t the only problem A chorus girl disguised as an heiress, a double dealing detective, a stolen prize winning sow, and a crazy ex secretary are only a few of the complications that must be dealt with before everyone can have their happy ending Although I can see why I don t usually partake of a steady diet of any genre much less author, there is something to be said for immersing oneself in a serious study of comedy For one thing it recognizes comedy as art and as such not to be viewed lightly, however much it entertains For another, constant exposure to the medium has the effect of reducing one s susceptibility to the comic influence through immunity thus allowing for greater objectivity in viewing what has facilitated our mirth Although I can see why I don t usually partake of a steady diet of any genre much less author, there is something to be said for immersing oneself in a serious study of comedy For one thing it recognizes comedy as art and as such not to be viewed lightly, however much it entertains For another, constant exposure to the medium has the effect of reducing one s susceptibility to the comic influence through immunity thus allowing for greater objectivity in viewing what has facilitated our mirth.These are both important for me I like and need to laugh, but have never given much thought to why or what makes me do so When our daughters where growing up, we watched the Jeeves and Wooster series with them repeatedly They were family favorites despite being formulaic and predicable, made evenso through repetitive viewings Reading the actual Wodehouse books now, I see they are even better than the film series Several audio versions I have listened to recently enhance the experience due to expert readers.In Summer Lightning, Wodehouse really sizzles All his characters crackle with the energy of a summer electric storm and there are plenty of interesting personalities for collectors of that sort dotty old Lord Elmsworth devoted Sue Brown sometimes of another alias pimply Pilbeam Reminiscences writing Honorable Galahad Threepwood, or Gally the Efficient Baxter dying for a dance Hugo Carmody and the infamous kidnapped Empress of Blandings none other than a pig, to name a few Wodehouse disclaims writing about real life , preferring to poke fun at it at us I admit it I can see myself in his stories And really when you get right down to it, is there anything funnier than one s own idiosyncrasies Summer Lightning is one of Wodehouse s Blandings Castle series, a series which is slowly replacing Jeeves Wooster in my affections.Most of the stories in the Blandings Castle series use the same plot devices a broken engagement or two , an imposter or two , and the kidnapping of Lord Emsworth s pig, the Empress of Blandings Summer Lightning is no different Wodehouse gets a lot of mileage out of the old formula but it never fails.Hugo Carmody and Ronnie Fish both end up on the outs with th Summer Lightning is one of Wodehouse s Blandings Castle series, a series which is slowly replacing Jeeves Wooster in my affections.Most of the stories in the Blandings Castle series use the same plot devices a broken engagement or two , an imposter or two , and the kidnapping of Lord Emsworth s pig, the Empress of Blandings Summer Lightning is no different Wodehouse gets a lot of mileage out of the old formula but it never fails.Hugo Carmody and Ronnie Fish both end up on the outs with their ladies Uncle Galahad is at Blandings writing his memoirs Lady Constance wants the terribly efficient Baxter back as Emsworth s secretary When the Empress turns up missing, Percy Pilbeam ends up on the case.If you like Wodehouse, you ll love Summer Lightning If you don t, get your act together You probably spend most of your time beating up old women or something