One of my life goals is still to read all the Wodehouse books I can find, and they crop up on my TBR regularly, mainly because there are so many of them. And while not every single one is the diamond of the first water, each is brilliant in its own way, and there has yet to be a single one that did not make me laugh out loud on multiple occasions.
Ice in the Bedroom is the tale of Freddie Widgeon, a young man who, according to my Who’s Who in Wodehouse (by Daniel Garrison and, honestly, a must-have if you are a regular Wodehouse reader… Wodehouse had the habit of creating characters who intersected with other characters and frequently, when a name sounds familiar, it’s because that person really has appeared elsewhere… Garrison’s book lists all the characters that have ever appeared in a Wodehouse book and tells you which books they were in and how the characters are related. Absolutely brilliant), is a regular member of the Drones Club and has shown up in other books featuring that fine establishment.
In this book, Freddie, who has loved many girls before (after all, “if all the girls he had loved and lost were placed end to end, they would reach halfway down Piccadilly – or further, as some of them were pretty tall”), has found true love at last, in the form of Sally Foster, secretary to the famous novelist Leila Yorke, who has written such famous works as For True Love Only, Heather o’ the Hills, and Sweet Jennie Dean. Of course, the path of true love never runs smoothly (especially in a Wodehouse novel), and Freddies must convince that Sally that he not a butterfly, flitting from flower to flower, but genuinely committed to her alone… despite circumstances beyond his control that may indicate otherwise.
The tale has all the Wodehouse hallmarks – a novelist, young love, a few criminals (all named things like “Chimp” and “Soapy”), some stolen gems (“ice”), and plenty of coincidences that lead to the most delightful chaos. Mr. Cornelius, the eccentric house agent in the suburb of Valley Fields was a delightful touch to this tale, and the criminal element, especially in combination with Freddie’s cousin the policeman, was an absolutely joy to read.
Nothing brightens my day like a good delve into Wodehouse, and Ice in the Bedroom, while a bit formulaic, is nonetheless classic Wodehouse, and an easy 4/5.