The ivied walls of Blandings Castle have seldom glowed as sunnily as in these wonderful stories - but there are snakes in the rolling parkland ready to nip Clarence, the absent-minded Ninth Earl of Emsworth, when he least expects it.
For a start the Empress of Blandings, in the running for her first prize in the Fat Pigs Class at the Shropshire Agricultural Show, is off her food - and can only be coaxed back to the trough by a call in her own language. Then there is the feud with Head Gardener McAllister, aided by Clarence's sister, the terrifying Lady Constance, and the horrible prospect of the summer fête - twin problems solved by the arrival of a delightfully rebellious little girl from London. But first of all there is the vexed matter of the custody of the pumpkin.
Skipping an ocean and a continent, Wodehouse also treats us to some unputdownable stories of excess from the monstrous Golden Age of Hollywood.
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The author of almost a hundred books and the creator of Jeeves, Blandings Castle, Psmith, Ukridge, Uncle Fred and Mr Mulliner, P.G. Wodehouse was born in 1881 and educated at Dulwich College. After two years with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank he became a full-time writer, contributing to a variety of periodicals. As well as his novels and short stories, he wrote lyrics for musical comedies, and at one stage had five shows running simultaneously on Broadway. At the age of 93, in the New Year's Honours List of 1975, he received a long-overdue Knighthood, only to die on St Valentine's Day some 45 days later.