Review of Ring for Jeeves, by P. G. Wodehouse

January 26th, 2015

ring_for_jeeves_largeRing for Jeeves

by P. G. Wodehouse
narrated by Nigel Lambert

AudioGO, 2011. First published in the United Kingdom in 1953. 6 hours, 50 minutes on 6 compact discs.

A Jeeves book without Wooster! I have stooped to checking out any P. G. Wodehouse book our library has in audio form, without trying to read them in order. This one was written in the 1950s when the British aristocracy was in trouble. Sir Rochester, Rory, works at “Harridge’s” to make ends meet, and Bill, the ninth Earl of Rowcester (pronounced “Roaster”) has been working as a bookie, with Jeeves as his clerk.

Jeeves? Why is Jeeves there without Bertie Wooster? Well, Bertie is going to a school where he’s learning to get along without servants, doing things like darning his own socks. And gentlemen’s personal gentlemen are not allowed.

Meanwhile, Bill’s bookmaking activities get him into a grand mesh of trouble after an unlikely bet pays off – or should pay off. He was operating his business in disguise and trying to keep it secret from his fiancée, Jill Wyvern, a veterinarian.

Meanwhile, Bill’s sister, Rory’s wife, has met a rich American widow who would love to buy Rowcester Abbey, especially if she can find evidence of any ghosts. But her friend happens to be the man who won the bet that Bill didn’t pay. Can Bill keep his secret? Can he sell the old house? And can Rory keep from telling the American everything that’s wrong with it?

This book is the usual good fun of a P. G. Wodehouse tale. I didn’t enjoy this narrator as much as the ones I’ve heard narrating the other books. Although he has a lovely English accent, his voice of Rory – or anyone getting very excited – was quite annoying to listen to. But that was minor enough to not diminish my overall enjoyment of the yarn. I always say there’s nothing like a good laugh on my way to work.

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Jeeves: Joy in the Morning, by P. G. Wodehouse

January 26th, 2015

jeeves_joy_in_the_morning_largeJeeves: Joy in the Morning

by P. G. Wodehouse

starring Michael Hordern and Richard Briers

A BBC Radio Full Cast Production, 3 hours on 3 compact discs.

I’m trying to listen to all the P. G. Wodehouse audiobooks the library owns, since they are simply so much fun. There’s nothing quite like laughing while you drive.

This one is a full cast radio production, with Bertie embroiled in more romantic entanglements and trying to straighten out friends’ romantic entanglements, while all the while trying to stay on the good side of the husband of his fearful Aunt Agatha, while visiting her home in Steeple Bumpleigh.

Unfortunately, I was a bit spoiled by the BBC video production of Jeeves and Wooster, and I prefer the voices of the actors they used for that production, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, over the voices of the actors in this one. However, it’s still Jeeves and Wooster and still British accents and still tremendous fun. This one, besides fearsome engagements, includes a meddlesome boy scout, whose attempts to do people a good turn every day never fail to go disastrously wrong.

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of The Code of the Woosters, by P. G. Wodehouse

January 26th, 2015

code_of_the_woosters_largeThe Code of the Woosters

by P. G. Wodehouse
performed by Alexander Spencer

Recorded Books, 1989. First published in 1938. 8 hours on 7 compact discs.
Starred Review

I’m trying to listen to all the P. G. Wodehouse Jeeves and Wooster books, since there is nothing better for putting me in a good mood while riding in the car.

The Code of the Woosters is one that was used for the marvelous BBC series Jeeves and Wooster, starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, so I was very familiar with the plot – but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment in the slightest. It perhaps helped me follow the convoluted plot all the better. It did have a slightly different resolution than is dramatized in the series, but mostly the series follows the book closely.

If you’ve seen the series, all I have to say is that this is the one with the imbroglio involving the Cow Creamer.

The book itself uses the word “imbroglio” to describe the situation we find here, and the description is apt. You couldn’t hope to come up with a more convoluted set of people hoping to marry other people and threatening to marry others and needing approval and blackmailing innocents into nefarious deeds and being in danger of disaster of all different kinds. And it’s all done with a proper British accent and Bertie’s jovial way of talking.

Entirely too much fun.

recordedbooks.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Ukridge, by P. G. Wodehouse

January 26th, 2015

ukridge_largeUkridge

by P. G. Wodehouse
read by Jonathan Cecil

BBC Audiobooks America, 2006. 6 CDs, 7 hours, 29 minutes. Originally written in 1960.

I’m running out of Jeeves and Wooster CDs to listen to, so I’ve turned to some of P. G. Wodehouse’s other characters, and I’m not sorry.

Ukridge is a series of short stories narrated by a writer, Reggie Corcoran, about his old friend Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge.

Jonathan Cecil, as usual, does a magnificent job of reading the books, though the character of Ukridge is one I start to get tired of. When I found myself almost calling someone “Old Horse,” I thought I should give these CDs a rest for a bit!

But I’ve always said that laughing while driving is one of the very best ways to stay awake, so P. G. Wodehouse CDs are some of the best possible listening material. Ukridge is the sort of person who never pays for anything and always has a scheme going to make his fortune for all time. Something invariably goes wrong – and hilarity ensues.

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Love Among the Chickens, by P. G. Wodehouse

January 26th, 2015

love_among_the_chickens_largeLove Among the Chickens

by P. G. Wodehouse
read by Jonathan Cecil

BBC Audiobooks, Limited, 2005.
Starred Review

Listening to Jonathan Cecil read P. G. Wodehouse is getting to be my standard entertainment when driving. I will be devastated when I run out of library audiobooks. As it is, this was my first book, not about Jeeves and Wooster, but about Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge and his friend, the narrator, Jeremy Garnet.

The book starts when newly married Ukridge talks Jeremy, a novelist, into joining him in the countryside as he starts a chicken farm. Ukridge is sure chicken farming is the road to riches, so he feels free to buy all their supplies on credit. As Jeremy travels to the farm, he sees a young lady on the train whom he will never forget.

Well, the road to true love does not run smoothly. The young lady, Phyllis, and her father do end up being neighbors, but when they come to dinner at the farm, Ukridge manages to alienate the father, which he holds against Garnet as well. When Garnet hatches a plan to restore himself to good favor, it works for awhile, all the more disastrously to fail in the end.

And meanwhile, Ukridge’s adventures in chicken farming are nothing if not entertaining. Even without Jeeves and Wooster, this is a typical Wodehousian farce, with larger-than-life characters and tangled schemes, which generally work out in precisely the worst way, but also the funniest way.

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of A Damsel in Distress, by P. G. Wodehouse

January 26th, 2015

damsel_in_distress_largeA Damsel in Distress

by P. G. Wodehouse
read by Jonathan Cecil

AudioGO, 2013. Originally published in 1919.
Starred Review

I love listening to P. G. Wodehouse books. There’s no better way to stay awake while driving than to laugh, and his books guarantee a laugh every time. Normally, I listen to his Jeeves and Wooster books, but A Damsel in Distress is standalone about an American composer for musical theater, George Bevan.

George is feeling bored with his successful life, when a beautiful woman dashes into his cab in the middle of Piccadilly in London and asks him to hide her. He does, despite a fat gentleman coming after her. It turns out that the young lady is the daughter of Lord Marshmorton and lives in a castle in the country. Her family is trying to keep her at home because she has fallen in love with an unsuitable man.

Well, George finds out who she is and where she lives and rents a cottage near the castle, hoping he can be of service to her. What follows is a grand mess of plotting and mistaken identities and cross-purposes, described with P. G. Wodehouse’s quirky and apt similes and distinctive characters.

Jonathan Cecil, as always, does a wonderful job giving all the characters distinctive voices and even manages a decent American accent for George Bevan. There are numerous marriages and minimal broken hearts, and the whole thing is tremendously fun.

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of My Man Jeeves, by P. G. Wodehouse

January 25th, 2015

my_man_jeeves_largeMy Man Jeeves

by P. G. Wodehouse

The Overlook Press, Woodstock & New York, 2006. First published in 1919. 185 pages.

According to Novelist, My Man Jeeves is one of the first books P. G. Wodehouse wrote that includes Jeeves and Wooster. The library doesn’t have it in audio form, so I settled in to reading one story per day – a lovely way to add a smile to my days.

This is a collection of short stories, not all of them about Jeeves, and the author hadn’t gotten quite as fully into the form yet. I love his book-length stories, because in those he can develop an incredibly tangled imbroglio for Jeeves to solve.

However, these were delightfully fun, and were sure to add a smile to my day every time I fit one in. Some of my favorites were actually the ones not about Jeeves, since although similar, they were a little more unexpected. In “Absent Treatment,” Reggie Pepper has to figure out how to save the marriage of a frightfully forgetful friend. (He can’t remember the date of his wife’s birthday.) And in “Helping Freddie” he helps a friend get back with the girl he was engaged to by means of a scheme that goes hilariously wrong. And there’s a similar theme in “Rallying Around Old George,” though a very different scheme that goes wrong.

P. G. Wodehouse is in top form, as always, with regard to expressions and turns of phrase that evoke a feckless young man of the twenties. Here’s Bertie when he has to spend a night in a hotel because a friend’s aunt thinks Bertie’s home belongs to the friend:

As I stood in my lonely bedroom at the hotel, trying to tie my white tie myself, it struck me for the first time that there must be whole squads of chappies in the world who had to get along without a man to look after them. I’d always thought of Jeeves as a kind of natural phenomenon; but by Jove! of course, when you come to think of it, there must be quite a lot of fellows who have to press their own clothes themselves, and haven’t got anybody to bring them tea in the morning, and so on. It was rather a solemn thought, don’t you know. I mean to say, ever since then I’ve been able to appreciate the frightful privations the poor have to stick.

overlookpress.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of A New York Christmas, by Anne Perry

January 25th, 2015

new_york_christmas_largeA New York Christmas

by Anne Perry

Ballantine Books, New York, 2014. 164 pages.

I’ve gotten hooked on Anne Perry’s Christmas mysteries. They offer a wide variety of situations, and I like some better than others. But all take place at Christmastime, and all offer a quick cozy holiday read – with murder. But justice is always done and they all have an overall message of peace and hope.

My hold on this year’s novella came in just in time for Christmas, though I was already in the middle of another eagerly awaited novel, so I got A New York Christmas read a few days after Christmas.

I particularly like it when Anne Perry uses characters from her other books in the Christmas novels. I don’t know why, since I haven’t read many of her other books (some day), but it gives a sense of a window into a larger world.

A New York Christmas is told from the perspective of Jemima Pitt, twenty-three-year-old daughter of Thomas and Charlotte Pitt. The book opens with her on an ocean liner crossing the Atlantic.

It was December 1904, and she was crossing the Atlantic to New York, where she would stay for at least a month. Mr. Edward Cardew had invited her to travel as a companion to his daughter, Delphinia, who was to marry Brent Albright, the son of Rothwell Albright, Mr. Cardew’s international business partner. It would be the society wedding of the year.

Not long after arriving, a murder happens, and Jemima is the primary suspect. The wealthy family she’s been staying with seems extra eager to place the blame on her. Can she use what she’s learned from her father to find out who is the actual killer? And where can she find help in New York City? And why did Miss Cardew’s mother abandon her child so many years ago? If Jemima can find out about the murdered woman, she thinks she might be able to figure out who did kill her.

It’s after Christmas now, but this story makes cozy reading at any time. This is now Anne Perry’s twelfth Christmas mystery, and it’s never too late to start a holiday tradition.

anneperry.net
ballantinebooks.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday, by Alexander McCall Smith

January 25th, 2015

comforts_of_a_muddy_saturday_largeThe Comforts of a Muddy Saturday

by Alexander McCall Smith

narrated by Davina Porter

Recorded Books, 2008. 7.75 hours on 7 compact discs.

I love Alexander McCall Smith’s books. But I do find it easier to get through his rambling Isabel Dalhousie books by listening to them on my commute. This way, I get to listen to Davina Porter’s delightful Scottish accent, and I don’t mind if not a lot happens during any one listening session. (I get impatient when that happens when I’m reading.)

Isabel Dalhousie is a philosopher who meddles in other people’s lives. In this book, she’s asked to help with a genuine case, to clear a doctor’s name. Isabel and the listener do find out the solution to the case, but it’s not really because of deduction that it’s solved.

Still, it’s fun to go along with Isabel as she ponders motives in big areas as well as in the little things of life. Her son is getting bigger and she always finds ethical issues to think about.

This series makes for nice agreeable listening.

alexandermccallsmith.com
pantheonbooks.com
recordedbooks.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Space Case, by Stuart Gibbs

January 25th, 2015

space_case_largeSpace Case

by Stuart Gibbs

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014. 337 pages.

Dashiell Gibson is the first twelve-year-old to live on the moon. And he is quick to inform the reader that accommodations do not live up to the hype they were told when his parents were being recruited for Moon Base Alpha.

However, the moon is an ideal setting for a locked-room mystery. Dash overhears Dr. Holtz talking to someone excitedly in the middle of the night. He’s going to make a big announcement. The next morning, Dr. Holtz turns up dead. The official version is that he committed suicide. But Dash can’t believe it. Why would he commit suicide when he was so excited about whatever he was going to tell the world?

I liked the beginning and set-up of this book. The time is the not-too-distant future, and having dealt with the government myself, I found it easy to believe Dash’s description of how things function on Moon Base Alpha.

Living in Moon Base Alpha is like living in a giant tin can built by government contractors. It’s as comfortable as an oil refinery. You can’t go outside, the food is horrible, it’s always cold – and the toilets might as well be medieval torture devices.

I also liked the interpersonal dynamics of a small group of people living in a limited amount of space. The Space Tourists, who paid a fortune to travel to the moon, are the unhappiest about how things have turned out. The other kid who’s Dash’s age is obsessed with video games and will do anything to play them – even when they’ve been ordered to stay off the internet so no news will leak out of Dr. Holtz’s death. Another ship arrives soon after and a girl Dash’s age arrives – as well as a security officer who is interested in Dash’s theories about the death.

I was less enthusiastic about the book by the time I’d finished – mainly from quibbles about how things turned out. But along the way, we had an exciting life-threatening encounter on the surface of the moon.

Kids will find plenty to love about this mystery on the moon.

stuartgibbs.com
KIDS.SimonandSchuster.com

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Source: This review is based on a book sent to me by the publisher.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!