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Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (always known as `Plum') wrote about seventy 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.
Of the many books that should never be abridged, Wodehouse's brief novels lead the pack; people read them for their brilliant dialog and verbal imagery and are in no rush to get to the end. Case in point is this hilarious fifth "Blandings Castle" title, first published in 1933, whose delightfully convoluted plot needs more, not less, exposition. Actor Martin Jarvis's narration lends this production the feel of a feast, but listeners will be aggrieved not to be getting the full meal. As good as this recording is, Blackstone Audio's unabridged version, read by Frederick Davidson and currently available only on cassette, is the better of the two. [A Pelican at Blandings (1969), the 14th title in this series, is also available from CSA Word.-Ed.]-R. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.