At Deverill Hall, an idyllic Tudor manor in the picture-perfect village of King’s Deverill, impostors are in the air. The prime example is man-about-town Bertie Wooster, doing a good turn to Gussie Fink-Nottle by impersonating him while he enjoys fourteen days away from society after being caught taking an unscheduled dip in the fountains of Trafalgar Square. Bertie is of course one of nature’s gentlemen, but the stakes are high: if all is revealed, there’s a danger that Gussie’s simpering fiancée Madeline may turn her wide eyes on Bertie instead.
It’s a brilliant plan – until Gussie himself turns up, imitating Bertram Wooster. After that, only the massive brain of Jeeves (himself in disguise) can set things right.
Author: P. G. Wodehouse
Narrator: Jonathan Cecil
Series: Jeeves #9
Running Time: 6 hrs 51 mins
Publisher: Audible Studios
My Rating of ‘The Mating Season’: 5 out of 5
I’ll start off by saying that I absolutely adore the Jeeves and Wooster books. The charming, witty and just downright posh way of Wodehouse’s stories have me bingeing on his work whenever I have them set in front of me. I’ll also say that, despite this being book 9, although I feel you’d get way more enjoyment by just reading them all, you can pick this one up and not feel too out of your depth.
With ‘The Mating Season’ this binge-effect was no different. It follows the standard formula with a well-meaning Bertie willing to move hell and highwater if it means helping a friend out of some trouble or personal issue. Unfortunately for our young man about town, with every shred of help offered, he somehow manages to find himself in hot water for something or another and, with Jeeves being absent for large parts of the book, he has to rely on his own (limited) wits to get himself back onto dry land.
As mentioned above, Jeeves does not feature as prominently as he does in other books and Bertie finds his own limited intelligence bolstered … or maybe hindered by that of his friend, Catsmeat (Bertie’s friends have names so bizarre that even fiction itself would wonder at them).
I enjoyed this book more than most I have gotten through this year due to the light-hearted humour of it. I’d lost count of the times I’d find myself grinning like a fool or laughing in public (my headphones out of sight and covered by a hood or hat) only for passers-by to look at me like I was several fries short of the full meal. That, however, is the mark of an enjoyable book.
The only issue with enjoying this book is that you know, with the author having died a good while ago, you’re only working with a finite amount of them. But I’ll just make them last and get as much enjoyment as possible out of them. I’d highly recommend any fans of historical fiction/comedy type books does the same as it is truly a wonderful series.
What makes it better is that the narrator, Jonathan Cecil, sounds so much like Stephen Fry that I had to make sure it wasn’t Fry working under a pseudonym. Phenomenal performance from him from start to finish. Every character sounds distinctly different and the voices put on go a long way to helping you visualise them in your head. A true talent in the world of narration.
Speaking of the characters, along with the overall settings of his novels and general hi-jinks Bertie finds himself in, they are a serious success on the part of Wodehouse. Very strong character work and brilliant pacing. The world lost a true talent the day he breathed his last.