I had forgotten how funny P. G. Wodehouse is, but I had never noticed what a great plotter he was. I’m reading Leave It To Psmith for the first time, and that plot is like a Chinese puzzle box. You just don’t notice it at first because you’re laughing so hard. I just had to put down the iPad because the noxious Baxter, stalking our heroine in the dark to find out where she hid the necklace she didn’t steal, trod on the golf ball that FreddyThreepwood had left in the hall and fell down the stairs:
“. . . he took the entire staircase in one majestic, volplaning sweep. There were eleven stairs in all separating his landing from the landing below, and the only ones he hit were the third and the tenth. He came to rest with a squattering thud on the lower landing, and for a moment or two the fever of the chase left him.”
It helps if you know what a tick Baxter is and what a sweetheart Eve is, but still, writing visual slapstick is really difficult. I don’t know what’s so damn funny about “the third and the tenth” but it is. But still what I most marveled at is the plot, which is based on stealing a necklace and then replacing it, and because the people who want the necklace stolen (for good purposes) are so benignly inept, a cast of thousands ends up trying to steal the damn thing and then playing Keep Away with it. So. Much. Fun.
I also read a terrific YA, Withering by the Sea, full of beautiful drawings and bizarre events and a dastardly villain and singing cats and a girl heroine beset by three Awful Aunts. It was so good I bought the sequel, which is equally charming.
What did you read this week?