marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

Hot Water

Hot Water by P. G. Wodehosue

It begins simply enough.  Mrs. Gedge has guests coming to the French chateau she's renting -- the Vicomte, the son of the landlady, and she has firm instructions to keep him from drink and firm intentions of complaining about the plumbing, and Senator Opal, a firm Dry, whom she intends to persuade to get her husband appointed Ambassador to France.  But this is Wodehouse. . . .

Two American criminals are hanging out in St. Rocque -- Soup Slattery and Oily Carisle -- and meeting up in a foreign land so has them chatting about their female accomplices who left them, and the prospects in the area.  Mr. Gedge (who has no desire to be ambassador) confides in Slattery about how he lost all his money in the crash, so only Mrs. Gedge has it -- plus all the jewelry, worth thousands, that he had bought her before. 

Meanwhile, a young American millionaire named Packy and Lady Beatrice have become engaged.  She gives him firm instructions to stay in London and meet Blair Eggleston, who was, according to the people who mattered, among the most promising writers of his generation.  Eggleston himself is engaged to Jane, Senator Opal's daughter.  Owing to some contretemps about a barbers' strike and a letter from the Senator to his bootlegger, he sets sail to St. Rocque to help Jane and Eggleston, out of pure sympathy for fellow lovers.

It goes on from there, involving a lady's maid who's reading a book about a detective disguised as a lady's maid, catching a burglar and putting him on the window sill until morning, a carnival disguise, Packy getting into the chateau under two separate false pretenses, Soup Slattery's desire to buy a farm, and Senator Opal's getting confused about who his daughter is engaged to.  Culminating in one of Wodehouse's glorious complicated and hilarious plots
Tags: fiction reviews: mundane, p. g. wodehouse

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