When I was ill, depressed or just feeling empty I used to play Civilisation II and read Pratchett, Priestley and Wodehouse. Since the death of the blue iMac I do not have a copy of Civilisation, I stopped reading Pratchett when I stopped reading Thud half way through; and I read Priestley only when I am attempting to sort a show out.

So now-a-days I play a really simple version of Solitaire and read Wodehouse.

Yesterday I finished Hot Water P.G.Wodehouse, Herbert Jenkins, 1932. A novel involving characters that do not appear anywhere else in the world of Wodehouse.

My favourite Wodeshouse’s are the short stories (he wrote brilliant ones throughout his career) and the earlier stuff (from 1917 to WWII).

So, as far as I am concerned, 1932 is mid season form for Wodehouse. I laughed very loud, several times, at Hot Water, but cannot remember reading it before.

The thing about Hot Water is the technique is breathtaking, but the whole thing is a little too much. I think there are 12 or 13 main characters (the fact I cannot be sure without re-reading says something). There is a stock Wodehouse American hero who is wealthy (another stock Wodehouse trait). He is engaged to a woman who wants to mould him. The heroine has a turned up nose (stock) who is engaged to a prissy author (…a man who wore side-whiskers and, if the truth were know, was probably a secret beret-wearer as well…. After a good deal of complicated, and usually criminal, action hero and heroine finish in the standard big clinch.

I love the book, but the facts that none of the characters are repeated elsewhere, but have identical brothers and sisters everywhere, and there are too many of them, means the plot is harder to follow than usual in Wodeshouse.

That may be why I like the short stories best. It does not matter if the characters never appear elsewhere, the plots are too short to have to remember who they are.

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