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The Man Upstairs and Other Stories  By  cover art

The Man Upstairs and Other Stories

By: P. G. Wodehouse
Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
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Publisher's Summary

Webster's Dictionary gives the meaning of the word "miasma" as "an infection floating in the air; a deadly exhalation". And in the opinion of Mr. Robert Ferguson, that description, though perhaps a little too flattering, on the whole summed up Master Roland Bean pretty satisfactorily. Until the previous day, Master Bean had served Mr. Ferguson in the capacity of office-boy. But there was that about Master Bean which made it practically impossible for anyone to employ him for long.

Included in this collection are 19 of Wodehouse's classic pre-World War II stories.

Public Domain (P)1997 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Timelessly funny....[Davidson] is wry, British and almost drawling, and one supposes that this is pretty much how Wodehouse himself would sound." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about The Man Upstairs and Other Stories

Average Customer Ratings
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Love the stories and the narrorator

Would you listen to The Man Upstairs and Other Stories again? Why?

Yes. Frederick Davidson is an amazing reader and for me was the original voice of Bertie, though I think that some listeners prefer Jonathan Cecil (who is also amazing, but different).

Who was your favorite character and why?

Bertie and Clarence.

What does Frederick Davidson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He knows how to pause and hold for effect.

If you could take any character from The Man Upstairs and Other Stories out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Bertie of course.

5 people found this helpful

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Wodehouse Becoming Wodehouse

I’ve steered clear of this collection because the critics, those police constables of the intellect, have always said, “Nothing to see here; pass along please, pass along”. Take Richard Usborne:

“Nineteen early short stories, some fairly good, some fairly bad. Most of them were written in America for the American pulps… The Good Angel is the first story with a strong butler part (and some very ill-informed comings and goings of a shooting party at an English country house). Rollo and Wilson…are a foretaste of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves. Sally…is a foretaste of Stiffy Byng. In Alcala has strands of autobiography in it; its sentimentality is remarkably gooey…”

Faint praise indeed. And, after The Code of the Woosters or Uncle Fred in the Springtime, certainly nothing one would dare to venture a credit upon. But for the man who has savored three quarters of the Wodehouse canon, the foretastes aren’t all sour. Obviously, these stories shouldn’t be your introduction to Sir Pelham, but after you’ve scaled the heights of his achievement, it’s fun to see how he got there.

Figures of speech Wodehouse would use for the rest of his life do handsprings everywhere. Later plot devices make their trial gallop. Plum’s unerring ear for dialogue, and his gift for painting a character with a few deft strokes, are already in full flower. And every story—except "In Alcala" which, to be fair to Mr. Usborne, is well up in the Rosy M. Banks class—is dished out with Plum’s trademark gentle humor that never descends to the satirical. He may have shunned humanity, but Wodehouse certainly liked people.

Finally, Frederick Davidson, that prince of Wodehouse readers, turns in his usual marvelous, nuanced performance. Hats off to Audible for making this available to members—and saving me the agony of committing that credit.

3 people found this helpful

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Could not understand the reader

What did you like best about The Man Upstairs and Other Stories ? What did you like least?

Love P.G. Wodehouse. Have read many of his stories.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Never got that far

How could the performance have been better?

Let me preface this by saying that I have hearing loss and have difficulties with certain accents, particularly British. I cope quite well. I have never come across something that was completely unintelligible. After forty-five minutes and several stories, I gave up.

Was The Man Upstairs and Other Stories worth the listening time?

n/a

Any additional comments?

n/a

2 people found this helpful

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Early Wodehouse

Fun stories (if several similar plots of romance). You can discern Wodehouse hitting his stride and crafting his style. The updated story near the end of a little known Knight of the Roundtable is a gem, and reminiscent of (years later) Sir Terry Pratchett.

The sing-songy quality of the narrator won’t be to everyone’s liking, but it seems to suit this high-flown, early Wodehouse style in particular, with its often complex sentence structures and indirect references.

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Last story was kid of sad But good overall

The last story was rather sad not what you would expect from a PG Wodehouse Because your favorite girl and your favorite guy were in love with each other but they didn't get married Even though the guy asked the girl to get married and the girl thought he didn't actually love her And that she was just a" Broadway dream"And they were both sad and lonely I read PG Wodehouse because they are funny but this was just kind of sad Not to say that it was overly sad it was just because that's not what you were expecting and a PG Wodehouse But overall it was very good the last 1 just was just kind of yeah Sad

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what a horrible narator

I love Wodehouse's stories, but could not continue listening due to the ghastly narator.

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Funny and engaging

I loved all the stories. They were all short funny and entertaining. Couldn't stop listening.

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wow!

Fun short stories. Great narrator. A man writing love stories in 1914. With humor-lots of it. Definitely a good listen. Don't miss it!

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Beyond Bertie Wooster

It turns out that Wodehouse can write clever, witty, imaginative stories, full of Wooster-type humor with an amazing variety of people an situations.

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  • Barry Griffiths
  • 05-18-16

You will NOT enjoy this version

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I never found out! The narration is so naïve and poor that within a chapter I was so annoyed with Mr Davidson for ruining the brilliant PG Wodehouse that I abandoned the story

What was most disappointing about P. G. Wodehouse’s story?

Nothing, just the sub standard narration!

What didn’t you like about Frederick Davidson’s performance?

Everything!! You've caused your own problems by previously using the incomparable services of Jonathan Cecil who not only reads the words, he acts the parts. His diction is perfect, he has a thousand voices, he reads at the correct speed and emphasises at the correct moment. I'm afraid Mr Davidson is very poor in comparison and I won't buy him again.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Man Upstairs and Other Stories?

I couldn't comment as I never got past the first chapter of this poor performance.

Any additional comments?

Jonathan Cecil is brilliant! Paul Shelley, Graham Seed, Nigel Lambert, Dinsdale Landen, Jeremy Sinden and James Saxon are acceptable and Ian Carmichael disappointing. David Ian Davies and Frederick Davidson however are awful, almost childish in the way they read and become immensely annoying. 'Jill the Reckless' is just as bad as the 'Man Upstairs' above and I shall not be investing in other titles read by these really poor narrators! I'm only sorry that I had to discover this the hard way and that my collection of Wodehouse will never include these titles!!!

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • George
  • 04-08-13

A useful anthology for short listens

A collection of Wodehouse short stories that serves very well as an audiobook to hold in reserve and dip into when you want a quick 20 minute listen.



If you want to listen for several hours at a time, then a longer single story would be a better bet as these can become a bit "samey" if listened to end-to-end.



Personally, I was not wildly taken with the narration, but not to the extent of marring the pleasure of Wodehouse's writing.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Isobel
  • 01-27-16

Appalling narration

The narrator speaks through his nose - it is insufferable. Completely ruined the audiobook. How on earth did anyone reach the conclusion that this was of merchantable quality?

4 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah G
  • 02-15-22

Posh and poorly read

No inflexion change of tone or pace. Made listening to PG a painful experience . Sorry but a dud.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kilrymont
  • 01-17-22

Reader is the issue

This reader has by far the most unpleasantly superciliously sly-sounding & condescending tones, from his voice alone exactly the sort who I'd never feel able to trust with a set of house keys were he to be found to be a next door neighbour... and indeed were he to be so and unlikely to move away, he'd be one of the reasons I'd find would contribute to my moving household elsewhere myself. Indeed before I've penetrated very much past the earlier stages, I find I can bear his slimy tones no longer. I'm an experienced audio books consumer and have, I assure you, never so reacted to any other book reader. Quite why this voice was considered suitable for this function, is beyond me. If I'd been the auditioning listener at his audition's trial I'd have told him to amend his style completely - or collect his cards on his way out.
All of which means there are quite a few Wodehouse works now beyond reach to me since this man, Frederick Davidson, appears in the reader credit. Which might explain why these are in the freebie section of Audible's extended listening list. In this case, being free is not enough reason to suffer this "performance" in my remaining hours & days.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs. Markov
  • 12-06-21

unbearable narrator

The narrator has ruined the experience for me. I couldn't even finish the first story.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Robin H.
  • 07-14-22

A poor read

A great labour finishing this poorly put together and badly narrated mosh mash bad stuff

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Patricia hidalgo
  • 04-01-22

Change the narrator!

Narrator puts you off straight away, not sure why he was chosen but is impossible to listen to

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon Brady
  • 11-23-21

Great little stories

Plum at his early best.
Some lovely crafted dialogue and laugh out loud moments.
Well told.