When Jimmy Pitt bets an actor friend that any fool could burgle a house, a feat which he offers to demonstrate that very night, he puts his reputation on the line. Although he hires the services of a professional burglar, the difficulty is increased when he has the misfortune to select Police Captain McEachern's house. And imagine Jimmy's consternation when he learns that McEachern's daughter is none other than the beautiful Molly, whom he worshipped from afar for quite some time.
From New York the action of the story moves to Dreever Caslte in Shropshire, England, where Jimmy's bird comes home to roost - with a vengeance. Filled with the sights, smells, and sounds of rural England, A Gentleman of Leisure also contains all the wit and humor we have come to expect from the inimitable P.G. Wodehouse.
(P)1993 by Blackstone Audiobooks
St. Louis, Missouri
That’s how Wodehouse described the kind of books he wrote. And, as with “those poet Johnnies” Bertie Wooster used to talk about, Wodehouse hit the nail on the head and was entitled to a cigar or cocoanut, his choice.
But don’t be led astray by that word “Another”, as if I’ve had sufficient of the type of book Wodehouse wrote. I haven’t. I don’t think I ever will. These days the world needs as many musical comedies as it can jolly well get, with or without accompaniment.
And our world is definitely a better, brighter place for having this particular comedy in it. A Gentleman of leisure (U.S. title: The Intrusion of Jimmy) is a gem. Published in 1915, about the same time other Wodehouse characters like Psmith and Ukeridge were coming into their own, it shares some basic qualities with Love Among the Chickens, Psmith in the City and Psmith, Journalist. Wodehouse still has one foot in the world of real human emotions, concerns and difficulties, while his other foot is in the world that, gradually, his fiction came more and more to inhabit: that of tempests in teapots, persiflage and sheer physical comedy. Somehow both worlds mesh seamlessly under Wodehouse’s gifted and humane pen.
And, as always, the late lamented Frederick Davidson’s urbane, knowing delivery conveys every emotion, nuance and sarcastic jab to perfection. I’m not going to even try to summarize the plot because plot is the point of Wodehouse—and hence, divulging it spoils the fun. And spoiling the fun is, as Bertie might say, just one of those things that aren’t done in the better circles.
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