Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (always known as 'Plum') wrote about seventy novels and some three hundred short stories over seventy-three years. He is widely recognised as the greatest 20th-century writer of humour in the English language.Perhaps best known for the escapades of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, Wodehouse also created the world of Blandings Castle, home to Lord Emsworth and his cherished pig, the Empress of Blandings. His stories include gems concerning the irrepressible and disreputable Ukridge; Psmith, the elegant socialist; the ever-so-slightly-unscrupulous Fifth Earl of Ickenham, better known as Uncle Fred; and those related by Mr Mulliner, the charming raconteur of The Angler's Rest, and the Oldest Member at the Golf Club.In 1936 he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for 'having made an outstanding and lasting contribution to the happiness of the world'. He was made a Doctor of Letters by Oxford University in 1939 and in 1975, aged ninety-three, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He died shortly afterwards, on St Valentine's Day.
Like a comic novelist Nostradamus, Wodehouse seems to have aimed his prologue at an audiobook audience 74 years after this first full-length Bertie-and-Jeeves novel was written. He begins by enumerating the pitfalls of "writing" the book through dictation and gives us a Victor Borgeian demo: "Quote No comma Lord Jasper Murgatroyd comma close quote said. No, better make it hissed Evangeline comma quote I would not marry you if you were the last man on earth close quote period." Nicolas Coster is a genuine joy to listen to, both as Wodehouse and his silly cast of characters. He plays Jeeves's sublime interactions with Bertie and his colleagues in the manner of a true gentleman's gentleman: with cool bemusement and calm. When chaos ensues, Coster's proper British manner makes everything even funnier. (Sept.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.