This book includes a collection of stories in which familiar characters and places are reintroduced in unfamiliar circumstances, reminding us - if we need reminding - of their author's limitless powers of comic invention. In the title story - one of Wodehouse's longest and best shorter fictions - Lord Emsworth takes his revenge on his ghastly secretary, the Efficient Baxter, setting off a wave of similar reprisals at Blandings Castle with amazing results. In other tales we meet several members of the Drones Club, while the final three reunite us with the ineffable Ukridge, more of whose ever-optimistic schemes for making easy money come to grief. A delightful meeting with old friends for some readers, a superb introduction to the world of Wodehouse for others.
Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (always known as 'Plum') wrote more than ninety novels and some three hundred short stories over 73 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 93, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He died shortly afterwards, on St Valentine's Day.