A JEWEL OF A CAPER
This is one of my favorite Wodehouses which does not star Emsworth. It's not as well-known as his other works, but a laugh riot nevertheless.
Packy Franklin, an American millionaire and sportsman, is engaged to Lady Beatrice Bracken. A chance meeting with the famous Dry legislator Senator Ambrose Opal causes all hell to break loose when a letter written by Senator Opal to his bootlegger, falls into the hands of Mrs Wellington Gedge, who uses it to blackmail him to appoint her husband Ambassador. Packy helps Senator Opal's daughter Jane to sweeten her father by posing as her fiancee and visiting the Gedges' home, Chateau Blissac, to recover the letter.
Hot Water is one of the lesser known Wodehouse novels, but there is nothing less in terms of the writing. As usual, it's a comedy of errors, with Packy in the thick of some laugh-out-loud impersonations. He is a younger version of Galahad, "spreading sweetness and light" wherever he goes. Also starring in this novel are a pair of safe crackers, "Soup" Slattery and "Oily" Carlisle, who have their eyes on Mrs. Gedge's jewels, and who join the motley crue at Chateau Blissac. Add to that a perpetually drunk Vicomte, and a timid, America-loving Mr Gedge, and you have all the trappings for a good show. Everybody falls in and out of totally ridiculous situations, engaging in the mischievous but good-natured antics that are typically Wodehousian. This has been one of my most frequent re-reads, a book I return to again and again.
Have you read this book? What did you think about it?