Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Quick Service

Quick Service, P.G. Wodehouse

I don't know that I could pick a single favorite Wodehouse character, but Psmith would have to be one of the top four or five.  After all, it was Psmith that really put me under PGW's spell, as I mentioned before.  So when I saw a reference to Joss Weatherby, the hero of Quick Service, as "Psmith with the volume turned up three or four notches" (by a favorite book blogger, Will Duquette, I thought I needed to meet Joss.

Quick Service has quite a cast of characters, familiar Wodehouse types, including two imperious American women who aren't technically aunts but should be; Joss's fussbudget boss, J.B. Duff the ham king; and Lord Holbeton, who sings Trees in a reedy tenor and seems too wet for the Drones Club.  There is also an ex-boxer, married to one of the ladies, which worried me a bit at first, because PGW seems to find boxing fascinating.  Books like The Adventures of Sally can get a bit bogged down in boxing detail and language.  Perhaps because Howard Steptoe is retired from the ring, PGW restrained himself here.  But just to shake up the cast, the butler is a young man, engaged to a local barmaid, and the hero takes a post as a valet.

Joss is a painter scraping a living doing ad posters who ends up taking the job as valet, to be near Sally Fairmile (the ladies' poor relation and fiancée of the wet Lord Holbeton).  He's no Jeeves, though he does manage Steptoe pretty firmly, but he is a great character who can piffle with the best. He is quick-witted, resourceful and chivalrous, and he can charm anyone from the cook up to the lady of the house.  But pace Mr. Duquette, he's no Psmith!

Still, this one is great fun and a keeper.

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Thank you for taking the time to read, and to comment. I always enjoy hearing different points of view about the books I am reading, even if we disagree!