|Author:||P. G. Wodehouse|
The uncle in question is Frederick Altamount Cornwallis, Fifth Earl of Ickenham, better known as Uncle Fred, an old boy of such a sunny and youthful nature that explosions of sweetness and light detonate all around him (in the course, it must be said, of a plot that involves blackmail, impersonation, knock-out drops, stealing, arrests and potential jewel-smuggling). This is Wodehouse at his very best, with sundered lovers, explorers, broke publishers and irascible aristocrats all eventually yielding to the magic, ever-so-slightly-unscrupulous touch of Uncle Fred. It is, as Richard Usborne writes, 'a brilliantly sustained rattle of word-perfect dialogue and narrative topping a very complicated and well-controlled plot'.
'You don't analyse such sunlit perfection, you just bask in its warmth and splendour.' Stephen Fry
The author of almost a hundred books and the creator of Jeeves, Blandings Castle, Psmith, Ukridge, Uncle Fred and Mr Mulliner, P.G. Wodehouse was born in 1881 and educated at Dulwich College. After two years with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank he became a full-time writer, contributing to a variety of periodicals. As well as his novels and short stories, he wrote lyrics for musical comedies, and at one stage had five shows running simultaneously on Broadway. At the age of 93, in the New Year's Honours List of 1975, he received a long-overdue Knighthood, only to die on St Valentine's Day some 45 days later.