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Something Fresh by P. G. Wodehouse
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Something Fresh (original 1915; edition 2000)

by P. G. Wodehouse

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8631910,366 (4.11)67
Member:wisewoman
Title:Something Fresh
Authors:P. G. Wodehouse
Info:
Collections:My Library, Read in 2010
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Humor, Classics

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Something Fresh by P. G. Wodehouse (1915)

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Anything by Wodehouse set at Blandings Castle is worth it's weight in gold. Even better than the (wonderful) Jeeves books that get so much more attention. ( )
  DanielLieberman | Aug 31, 2014 |
Early Wodehouse and the first in the Blandings series, Something Fresh suggests to me the author trying on something new for size and gradually making himself comfortable. Particularly at the beginning of the book there is rather more descriptive chit-chat than I associate with the later works, and, of course, he is developing the cast of characters at Blandings that fans will come to love - Beach, Freddie Threepwood, the Efficient Baxter and Lord Emsworth himself. All four are immediately recognisable even if Beach is to become less hypochondriacal, Freddie marginally less vacuous, Baxter more Machiavellian and Clarence obsessed with fat pigs. We expect some characters to appear briefly on the stage to be replaced in later books by others of their ilk - the ingénue roles, the fat crooked investigator, the dyspeptic American millionaire - but other apparently established characters don't make the cut. The chatelaine of Blandings is Lady Anne Warblington, a sister of Emsworth's and an indistinct figure beside sister Connie who succeeds her. They do share a tendency to retire to their bedrooms at the first sign of trouble. The housekeeper, Mrs Twemlow, an important domestic figure, only makes one more brief appearance in the saga. McAllister must be in post but gets only one line, unnamed, as the "autocrat from Scotland". There are two 'young men in spats' visiting Blandings, Percy, Lord Stockheath, a cousin of Freddie and Algernon Wooster, a cousin of Percy, who plays billiards. Neither is heard of again: a pity as they might have helped to place Bertie in his extended family.

Something Fresh was first published in America as Something New, with Ashe and Joan, hero and heroine, being cast as Americans. PGW rewrote the characters as English for the retitled UK issue. He didn't bother to change a couple of references to the US dollar - the rent for a room (with breakfast) in a court just off Leicester Square was $5 / week and half a dollar would buy you a roast dinner at Simpsons in the Strand. David Jasen in his Readers Guide to the Wodehouse oeuvre suggests that this book is often forgotten when discussing Blandings, possibly because it was published by Methuen rather than Herbert Jenkins.

Other reviewers have described the plot more than adequately. It is well constructed but does rely on various coincidences and eavesdroppings: PGW takes a little dig at himself by having his hero, Ashe Marson, who earns his living by writing penny-dreadful crime stories, confess that all his own plots hang on such unlikely events. The other feature that deserves mention is the great detail with which PGW describes life below stairs. Fans of 'Upstairs, Downstairs' and 'Downton Abbey' would enjoy reading the book for that alone. ( )
1 vote abbottthomas | May 1, 2014 |
This is an excellent novel, Wodehousian in every way and thoroughly enjoyable. Souffle-light, witty to the nth degree and an absolute pleasure.

Well worth the full five stars, even if, and I agree about this, we are not here in the masterpiece league of the Jeeves and Wooster series.

Also, if you're coming to this from the latest BBC 'Blandings' series, beware: Lady Ann makes no appearance; the Empress is not, I think, even mentioned; Lord Emsworth takes only a minor role. All these delights await in future novels in the series ... ( )
  jtck121166 | Apr 22, 2014 |
Ashe Marston and Joan Valentine, two young impoverished pulp writers, find themselves linked in an effort to steal a valuable artifact from an earl’s private museum. They go disguised as a lady’s man and valet, but it doesn’t take long for the butler and the secretary, the Efficient Baxter, to become suspicious of Marston. Meanwhile, Joan’s old school friend, an American engaged to the earl’s hapless younger son, is pursued by a vigorous old friend. In true Wodehouse fashion, hijinks will ensue and it will all come right in the end. Downton Abbey fans will particularly enjoy the satire of the strict customs of the servantry in a large house. For instance, can the chauffeur eat with the upper servants, or is he just a glorified coachman?
  jholcomb | Apr 9, 2014 |
bookshelves: amusing, winter-20132014, published-1915, series, radio-4x, fradio, treasure
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from January 29 to February 01, 2014

Description: One thing that constantly disrupts the peace of life at Blandings is the constant incursion of impostors. Blandings has impostors like other houses have mice.

Now there are two of them - both intent on a dangerous enterprise. Lord Emsworth"s secretary, the efficient Baxter, is on the alert and determined to discover what is afoot - despite the distractions caused by the Honorable Freddie Threepwood"s hapless affair of the heart.

R4x

1/2 Two imposters are after a valuable scarab at Blandings Castle, unknowingly acquired by dotty Lord Emsworth. Stars Ioan Gruffudd and Helen McCrory.

2/2 Ashe and Joan's battle to secure the precious scarab is becoming intense. Baxter is in hot pursuit, and Lord Emsworth is on alert for midnight marauders. With Ian Ogilvy.

Listen here!

3* The Inimitable Jeeves (Jeeves, #2)
5* Carry on, Jeeves (Jeeves, #3)
4* Right Ho, Jeeves (Jeeves, #6)
3* The Mating Season (Jeeves, #9)
4* Aunts Aren't Gentlemen (Jeeves, #15)
TR Leave It to Psmith
4* Joy in the Morning
4* A Damsel In Distress
3* Uncle Fred in the Springtime
3* Summer Lightning
3* Love Among the Chickens
TR The Man With Two Left Feet
3* Service with a Smile
3* Summer Moonshine
3* Eggs, Beans And Crumpets
3* The Small Bachelor
TR Barmy in Wonderland
4* Something Fresh ( )
  mimal | Feb 1, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
P. G. Wodehouseprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cecil, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davidson, FrederickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hitch, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lynn , DebraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tuomikoski, AinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The sunshine of a fair Spring morning fell graciously upon London town.
Quotations
I have always had the idea that Lorimer must have been put in a receptive mood the moment he saw the title page.  My pulp magazine stories had been by 'P. G. Wodehouse", but Something Fresh was the work of: PELHAM GRENVILLE WODEHOUSE, and I am convinced that that was what put it over.

A writer in America at that time who went around without three names was practically going around naked.  (Preface, Wodehouse on the first time that his work was accepted by George Horace Lorimer, the editor of the prestigious Saturday Evening Post)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
UK title 'Something Fresh', US title 'Something New.'  Although the canonical title would normally be Something New, it seems to be most often known under the UK title.

It was first published as a book in the United States, by D. Appleton & Company on 3 September 1915, under the title Something New, having previously appeared under that title as a serial in the Saturday Evening Post between 26 June and 14 August 1915. It was published in the United Kingdom by Methuen & Co. on 16 September 1915 as Something Fresh - Wikipedia
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Book description
Overlook Press blurb:
The first of the Blandings Castle novels, introducing Lord Emsworth, his family, his secretary - the Efficient Baxter - and the mandatory Wodehouse cast of butlers, aunts, younger sons, detectives, lovers and imposters. Take the 4.15 from Paddington Station to Shropshire and arrive in heaven.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140050353, Paperback)

The one thing that could be expected to militate against the peace of life at Blandings is the constant incursion of imposters. Blandings has impostors like other houses have mice.

On this particular occasion there are two of them - both intent on a dangerous enterprise. Lord Emsworth's secretary, the Efficient Baxter, is on the alert and determined to discover what is afoot - despite the distractions caused by the Hon. Freddie Threepwood's hapless affair of the heart.

The first Blandings castle novel sets the standard for the parade of impostors on the premises.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:23 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

One thing that constantly dis- rupts the peace of life at Blandings is the constant incursion of impostors. Blandings has impostors like other houses have mice. Now there are two of them?both intent on a dangerous enterprise. Lord Emsworth's secretary, the efficient Baxter, is on the alert and determined to discover what is afoot?despite the distractions caused by the Honorable Freddie Threepwood's hapless affair of the heart.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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