Saturday, March 12, 2011
The Girl in Blue: Review
The Girl in Blue by P. G. Wodehouse was snapped up from the library expressly to fulfill the "blue" catergory in my Color Coded Reading Challenge. Since it is not set at Blandings Castle, I'm afraid it won't count towards my Wodehouse Challenge, except perhaps as a bonus read.
Wodehouse has a way of taking a single theme and working it in many different variations. Even though this is not a Blandings Castle book, it still follows the general theme of the books I have read so far. Young man in need of cash. Older man with cash and priceless object of some sort. Priceless object either needs to be stolen or recovered so older man can pass cash on to younger man. In the process, younger man falls in love and needs cash even more badly.
This latest book starts with a simple little shoplifting. Bernadette ("Barney to my friends") is caught shoplifting in one of America's finest department stores. The manager, who is an old school chum of Barney's brother, Homer, agrees not to press charges if Homer will take his sister out of the paths of temptation. The answer? A trip to England. Homer plans to drop his sister off at the stately home of Crispin Scrope--brother to one of his fellow lawyers across the sea. Crispin and Willoughby Scrope have troubles of their own. Crispin, the elder brother, has inherited the family pile but has no income to support and keep it up. Willoughby has plenty of money and has, in fact, just spent some of it on a priceless Gainsborough miniature called "The Girl in Blue." In the course of our adventures, the miniature comes up missing.
Enter Jerry West, nephew to the Scropes. Jerry has just served jury duty and met the girl of his dreams. Unfortunately, she is going to be an heiress and he can't get his Uncle Willoughby to release the money from his trust fund. Without the money, he feels unworthy to approach the girl. Uncle Willoughby sends Jerry on a mission to retreive the miniature with a promise that the trust funds will become available as soon as he recovers it. What follows is the usual Wodehouse fun and games at the country manor house. Throw in an unconvential butler and a gold-digging former fiancée and you've got quite a mix. I was just the smallest bit disappointed that there were no midnight wanderings and goings-on in this adventure.
This is late Wodehouse and while I found the wit just as sharp and amusing, I thought the story just a little too well-worn. A good, light read for a quiet evening at home. Even with a few unexpected twists and turns at the end, it was not quite up to the usual Wodehouse style. Three stars.