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One of the things I like most about Wodehouse books is that everyone's always talking about money - having it, losing it, marrying for it, borrowing it - in great detail. The result is that you end up learning a lot about the economic conditions of the time in which the stories are set. And that's one of the best aspects of this book.
'Ring for Jeeves' is set in post-WWII Britain, when the term 'impoverished nobility' was more applicable than ever before: the economy was a mess, the pound had been devalued, and even titled aristocrats - who formerly had lived on 'private income' or income from large country estates - had to start getting real jobs and selling their 15-bedroom castles to Americans, who were the only ones with enough money to handle the upkeep.
The male members of the leisure class are forced to take jobs at Harrods-like department stores, and the 'delicately nurtured' female members are becoming more independent and career-minded: Hilarity ensues!
In many ways, the story feels like a Blandings Castle novel onto which Jeeves has been grafted. It's not entirely successful (apparently wrote the play first, and then turned it into a book, and I think the retrofitting is apparent) but overall it's a decent story, has some good moments of humor, and provides a great insight into the upper classes in the late 40s and early 50s.
I avoided this for a long time because Bertie Wooster isn't in it. Big mistake. It's a delightful story, every bit as laugh-out-loud funny as any Wooster and Jeeves outing, and Nigel Lambert is a wonderful reader. Wodehouse treats his characters badly, ratcheting up the tension and the potential calamities down to the last 15 minutes - and then Jeeves, as always, saves the day with a few brilliant, fish-fed suggestions. It's all based on the psychology of the individual - and no one is better manager of that than Jeeves.
I'm a big fan of Wodehouse and have most of the audiobooks and love them all. This one have a fun story and was a bit different, being that Bertie Wooster is only mentioned and Jeeves is on lone to the hero of this story. It takes place after WWII in an England where the aristocracy had lost much of it's power and wealth and the characters watch horse races on tv. The story itself is basically the typical Wodehouse kind of story, ludicrous and pretty funny. The reader does a great job, and I enjoyed it a lot. Not quite as funny and the Jeeves and Wooster stories, but still plenty of fun.
Nigel Lambert's narration is a perfect complement for Wodehouse's story! The characters come to life!
I've read and listened to dozens of P.G. Wodehouse books over the years, and this was probably my least favorite. It seemed slow and I missed the lovable goofiness of Bertie Wooster. However, my main objection to this Audible book was the reader. His voice was difficult to understand, rather hoarse, and made the book drag even more. Next time I'll be more careful.
This story has everything you expect from a Jeeves story (except Wooster); gambling (horse races), lords "in the soup", complicated relationships, money trouble and the threat of violence.
Regarding the reading performance, it is very good, but the american accent is terrible. This is not something that usually disturbs me - I expect it, and it can even be endearing (the reader is English, after all), but the exaggerated intrusive 'R', which is typically found in UK accents is here used in an effort to americanise the speech (which is of course backwards) became grating. Not enough by far to make me not recommend it, but I do have to remove points for it.
What made this story most entertaining was the performance by Nigel Lambert. He does a fantastic job providing different voices for all of the characters! Bravo!
It didn't have Bertie Wooster.
I don't know that I could have made any recommendation to Woodhouse whereby he could improve his writing.
A different take on the theme of the series, featuring the wonderful Jeeves getting young gents out of "the soup", but without Bertie Wooster as the prime subject. Not to worry, his friend in lieu was just as mixed up in various difficulties as ever, with another unique assortment of colorful friends and relations at a country house, often working at cross-purposes. It was an enjoyable set of twists of fate and caricatures. I had to be careful where I listened lest I laugh out loud too much.
I am a big Woodehose fan, especially in audio format. However, I don't think I have ever enjoyed him so much. The narrator --Nigel Lambert-- really makes the characters come alive, making Woodehouse's words shine.
I don't think there's anything left to say, except stating that this is the way to enjoy Woodehouse.
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