(Critical Guide to British Fiction)

Blandings Castle, a well-used setting for P. G. Wodehouse’s comic novels, is an aristocratic country estate overseen by the venerable but hopelessly absentminded Earl of Emsworth. Once again, it is the stage on which a cast of unwittingly ironic, self-consumed characters roam from social gathering to social gathering and plot both romantic and business couplings among the British aristocracy and the American nouveau riche.

A guest of his brother-in-law, Lord Emsworth, Colonel Wedge ponders with his wife, Hermione, what will happen to his attractive daughter, Veronica: “the dumbest beauty” listed in the social register. Veronica was once engaged to her cousin, Freddie Threepwood, Lord Emsworth’s son, but Freddie instead married the wealthy daughter of an American dog-biscuit manufacturer, becoming one of his father-in-law’s chief ambassadors for the company.

This rather placid setting is upset, however, by the arrival of Tipton Plimsoll, a rich young American whose father owns the chain of Tipton Stores, a lucrative retail outlet in the United States. Freddie has brought Tipton to the estate in the hope that he could convince him to carry his line of dog biscuits exclusively in his stores. Meanwhile, with Colonel Wedge’s complete endorsement, Tipton falls madly in love with Veronica.

After accidentally discovering that Veronica and Freddie were once betrothed, Tipton undermines the normally peaceful castle in a series of uproarious events in which he mistakenly attributes to Freddie a secret devotion to Veronica. The tranquillity of the castle is further threatened by a subplot in which Prudence, Colonel Wedge’s niece, is forced to call off her marriage to her beloved Bill Lister. Midway through the novel, Blandings Castle is in utter turmoil over the triangles created by the competing and thwarted lovers.

All is saved, however, when Galahad Threepwood, “Uncle Gally,” intervenes with a series of wildly ingenious, quite improbable, but ultimately successful schemes to reunite both sets of young lovers. In the end, each lover is paired off with an appropriate partner, and Blandings Castle returns to its rightful, complacent state.

Full Moon Bibliography

(Critical Guide to British Fiction)

Donaldson, Frances. P. G. Wodehouse: A Biography, 1982.

Hall, Robert A., Jr. The Comic Style of P. G. Wodehouse, 1974.

Usborne, Robert. Wodehouse at Work to the End, 1977.

Voorhees, Richard J. P. G. Wodehouse, 1966.

Wind, Herbert W. The World of P. G. Wodehouse, 1972.