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Something Fresh by P. G. Wodehouse

Something Fresh (original 1915; edition 2000)

by P. G. Wodehouse

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921229,508 (4.1)82
Title:Something Fresh
Authors:P. G. Wodehouse
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2000), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:My Library, Read in 2010
Tags:Humor, Classics

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Something Fresh by P. G. Wodehouse (Author) (1915)



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A comedy of manners and misunderstandings, Something Fresh by P.G. Wodehouse was a light, playful read that lifted my mood and brought more than a few smiles to my face. This is the first book in the Blandings Castle series, and as in all his works, it is witty, amusing and just slightly silly.

This episode introduces the readers to the Earl of Emsworth and the plot is centered on his son the Hon. Freddy Threepwood’s engagement to a rich American heiress The Earl, who is very absentminded accidentally pockets a valuable scarab that belongs to the heiress’ father. With a superb sense of timing, the author gathers an assortment of characters together at Blandings and with the scarab as the target, lets the mayhem begin.

Originally published in 1915, this story retains it’s slapstick humour and envelopes the reader in a delightful, whimsical and very upper class English setting. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Nov 8, 2015 |
Nice, boþ as a romantic comedy & as ðe firſt inſtallment of the Blandiŋs caſtle ſeries. ( )
  leandrod | Feb 10, 2015 |
Wodehouse writes farces, and he writes them well. I can't bring myself to give it five stars, no matter how well he works his craft, but I did enjoy listening to this book.

Jonathan Cecil narrated the book, and his voice was perfect for some of the older, stodgier members of the cast of characters, but was quite irritating in the beginning. He so often sounds as though he is speaking with a mouth of saliva that needs expectoration! ( )
  kaulsu | Dec 11, 2014 |
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 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wodehouse, P. G.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cecil, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davidson, FrederickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hegedüs, IstvánIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hitch, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lynn , DebraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Révbíró, TamásTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tuomikoski, AinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vandersluys, W.N.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The sunshine of a fair Spring morning fell graciously upon London town.
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)
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(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.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:35 -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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