Bill needs work closer to home, especially since he is engaged to Jill Wyvern, a neighbor who is a veterinarian and the daughter of the Chief Constable. ("We're all working at something," she tells Monica.) Jill is under the impression that Bill is working for the Agricultural Board, which explains his frequent absences. In reality, though, Jeeves has helped him set up as a bookie, Honest Patch Perkins. With Jeeves as his clerk, Bill has been bringing in a steady income. As the story opens though, disaster has struck in the form of Captain C.G. Brabazon-Biggar, whose double bet on two races came in for just over £3000. Not having the funds to pay out, Bill and Jeeves ran like rabbits from the race-course. Unfortunately for them, Captain Biggar is a Great White Hunter, who never loses his prey. He arrives at Rowcester Abbey in hot pursuit, having tracked their car all the way. Meanwhile another visitor has arrived, a twice-widowed American millionaire, Rosalinda Spottsworth. Monica, who met her in New York, has high hopes that she will buy the Abbey. Bill thinks that is a wonderful idea, because then he can pay off the Captain. There are a couple of small complications (of course): Bill has never mentioned to Jill that he met Mrs. Spottsworth when she was between husbands, and she doesn't appreciate hearing her fiancé called "Billikens" by another woman. The Captain doesn't like it any better, since he has been in love with Mrs. Spottsworth from afar for years. However, it is against The Code to play a fortune-hunter, so he needs that £3000 more than ever.
Naturally, it is for Jeeves to sort all this out. He does it while spouting tags and quotes from great thinkers, though told repeatedly to knock it off. He is actually quite talkative in this book! He explains early on why he was free to accept the position of butler and bookie's clerk at the Abbey:
"Mr. Wooster is attending a school which does not permit its student body to employ gentlemen's personal gentlemen . . . An institution designed to teach the aristocracy to fend for itself, m'lord. Mr. Wooster, though his finances are still quite sound, feels that it is prudent to build for the future, in case the social revolution should set in with even greater severity. Mr. Wooster . . . I can hardly mention this without some display of emotion . . . is actually learning to darn his own socks. The course he is taking includes boot-cleaning, sock-darning, bed-making and primary grade cooking."This seems unusually pointed and political for P.G. Wodehouse. He was living in the United States at the time, so he wasn't facing any social revolutions himself. I learned from a biography that I have on hand (unread) that this book was written from a play he had recently finished with Guy Bolton. Looking back, I can see that it would work well on stage, with most of the action taking place indoors. I enjoyed this more than I expected to, primarily because of Rory and the Moke. His enthusiasm for Harriage's is funny and a little touching, and he also has his foot perpetually stuck in his mouth. He can't resist pointing out all the Abbey's defects to Mrs. Spottsworth, to his wife's despair. I'd be happy to come across them again, in other stories.