Hot Water // by P.G. Wodehouse

My dear fellow book-lovers!  How I have missed you!  One of the things that I really enjoy about book blogging is interacting with other book bloggers – reading their reviews and then discussing what they have to say.  While I have been enthusiastically reading everyone’s reviews via emails on my phone, my phone just doesn’t like the WordPress app and so…  you all have no idea how much I am enjoying your reviews!!

We are back from vacation now – we spent a lovely ten days in the mountains of Colorado – hopefully I will blog about that on my other blog very soon – we took about a thousand pictures and none of them captured the immensity and beauty of those mountains.  Now we’re back and settling back into the groove of life.  Things are well on the little homestead, and Waylon is growing like a weed!  (So, incidentally, are my tomatoes – this wet summer has created a JUNGLE.)

I’m hoping to get a few book reviews posted before the end of the month, so July’s Rearview will have something besides the TWENTY-NINE BOOKS you all have added to my TBR!


//published 1932//

And so, this brings us to Hot Water.  As I have mentioned before, nothing brings me the same kind of pure, unadulterated joy as a Wodehouse novel.  His ability to make a plot both complex and simple, unique and predictable, and hilarious and…  well, hilarious, puts him a class of his own.  There are good books, bad books, boring books, so-so books, and then: there is Wodehouse.

Wodehouse is, more or less, impossible to summarize.  Summarizations sound like chaos (which, let’s be honest, isn’t too far from the mark).  From the back of the book:

The house-party at Chateau Blissac, Brittany, features a rather odd array of guests this year…

Mr. J. Wellington Gedge is hoping for smoe peace and quiet while his wife takes herself off for a while.  She, however, has invited numerous visitors to the chateau, to whom he will have to play reluctant host.  Senator Opal and his daughter Jane are expected and the chateau’s handsome, gadabout owner Vicomte de Blissac.  When a certain letter goes missing, landing the Senator in the proverbial hot water, it’s up to Packy Franklyn, a great pal of the Vicomte’s, to sort out the mess.  Unfortunately, this involves a little light safe-cracking. Luckily, Packy bumps into the light-fingered Soup Slattery…

Honestly, I almost didn’t even bother posting that summary. It makes the book sound dreadfully stilted and weird, when, in reality, it is light, frothy, and bubbly.  Wodehouse is, in fact – I have just this moment realized – the champagne of books.  Absolutely no substance whatsoever, but delightful for an evening of entertainment and pleasure.

While this is not, in my opinion, one of Wodehouse’s best efforts, even a so-so Wodehouse is superior to most books I find these days.  His timing is as exquisite as ever, the dialogue genius, and his knack for the perfect twist at the perfect time is just fabulous.

I love the way that he manages to build characters through not just descriptions of their physical appearances, but through their actions and conversations:

When [Veek] rose again, it was so evident that he was a poor swimmer that Packy realized that he had got to do something immediately.

Many men in Packy’s position would have shrunk from diving in to the rescue, fully clad.  Packy was one of them.  He was fond of the Vicomte, but not to the extent of ruining a nearly new flannel suit in his interests.  However, the spirit of Aud Lang Syne was sufficiently strong in him to cause him to climb into the dinghy, and in a few minutes he had gaffed the poor bit of flotsam and brought it safely aboard.

And there you have Packy in a nutshell – not, perhaps, heroic, but imminently practical nonetheless.

The whole tale is the usual Wodehouse tangle that somehow manages to come out perfectly, with everyone paired with the ideal individual, and no one (much) worse for the wear.

4/5 and the reminder that everyone – everyone – should pick up a Wodehouse!