The Inimitable Jeeves

by P. G. Wodehouse

Other authorsAlan Philips (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1990






Easton Press (1990), Leather bound. Reprint


Bertie's friend Bingo falls in love with every other woman he meets, from Mabel, the waitress at the bun shop, to the Amazonian Honoria Glossop.

User reviews

LibraryThing member ty1997
Bertie Wooster is a rich bachelor living the life in London between the wars. No one, including Bertie himself, has accused Bertie of being overly smart or in any way ambitious. In fact, anything that would interfere with Bertie's laid-back life of lunching, horse-betting, and partying makes Bertie's blood pressure skyrocket. This includes his Aunt Agatha's repeated attempted to get him married off Bertie to a women that will better him (in Aunt Agatha's estimate). Bertie's friend Bingo meanwhile falls in love with women seemingly every time he walks outside, yet something always seems to go awry for hapless Bingo.

Enter Bertie's valet, Jeeves. Not only is Jeeves excellent at his job, he is also smart and insightful, getting Bertie and Bingo out of many a tight spot, including when Aunt Agatha tries to (unknowingly) marry Bertie off to a thief and when Bingo gets himself in a spot of trouble pretending to be a Revolutionary (for a woman, of course). Jeeves is dedicated to fault....except on those occasions where Bertie insists on going against Jeeve's wishes and wearing a crimson cummerbund or purple socks.

There are 18 stories in this book which together form a novel but almost certainly were serialized initially since each story/chapter can be self-contained (latter chapters build on earlier circumstances, but each chapter has an 'ending' that would suit a serial reader).

The social satire is a bit lost on me, not being British nor having lived in 1920s London, but you get where Wodehouse is going. Though even if you don't, the hi-jinks of Bertie, Bingo, and the supporting characters are worth the read.
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LibraryThing member ctpress
“How does he look, Jeeves?"
"What does Mr Bassington-Bassington look like?"
"It is hardly my place, sir, to criticize the facial peculiarities of your friends.”

Another fresh breeze from the wonderland of Wodehouse. The best of the Jeeves and Wooster-short story collections I have read so far.

Bertie and Jeeves again and again have to help love-struck Bingo Little out of scrapes as he continues to fall in love at first sight.

However the most funny story is not about Bingo Little, but “The Great Sermon Handicap” as Wooster and his friends tries to predict which priest will deliver the longest sermon on a given sunday. Of course there’s a lot of foul play - and Jeeves outsmarts them all. Hilarious.

“What are the chances of a cobra biting Harold, Jeeves?"
"Slight, I should imagine, sir. And in such an event, knowing the boy as intimately as I do, my anxiety would be entirely for the snake.”

Honoria, you see, is one of those robust, dynamic girls with the muscles of a welter-weight and a laugh like a squadron of cavalary charging over a tin bridge.… (more)
LibraryThing member beserene
I love the Jeeves stories. Yes, I know that it's really the same story told over and over again in the same book and in different books and the only things that change -- occasionally -- are the character names, but still... it's funny every damn time.

And that is why, when I really need something sharp to make me chortle, I turn to Wodehouse's Jeeves. Those who do not appreciate British humor or who don't have any understanding of the old class system will probably lose patience with these books quite quickly, but for the rest of us, there is no one like Jeeves. And, of course, our ridiculous narrator, Bertie Wooster. The antics of the aforementioned individuals -- though "antic" really only describes one of them -- inform a hundred other novels and authors, from Evelyn Waugh to Terry Pratchett to Connie Willis. Anyone who thinks the classics are stuffy should read a good bit of Wodehouse. Recommended.… (more)
LibraryThing member Smiler69
I don't know what I was expecting from my first P. G. Wodehouse, but I can't say I was either disappointed or much surprised with this series of inter-connected short stories. The ongoing gag of Jeeves getting upset at Bertie for making what he considers to be sartorial faux-pas was amusing, as was Bertie's friend Bingo's insistence on falling helplessly in love with every girl he laid his eyes on. It's a kind of old-fashioned British humour that is comforting and elicited a few chuckles. I was warned that Wodehouse is best appreciated in short bursts, since the stories tend to get repetitious after a while, and though I heeded the warning, I still found the stories a bit tiresome after a while. I thought the audiobook was a good introduction because a proper British accent does go a long way sometimes. I have the second Jeeves book on my shelves, but I can't say I'm dying to get to it. I won't toss it out either, because sometimes blandness is just the kind of thing I'm in the mood for. That said, when it comes to 1920s British upper class humour, I think I'd rather read Vile Bodies all over again any day, though of course it's not nearly as relaxing.… (more)
LibraryThing member riverwillow
My ultimate comfort read. Superb.
LibraryThing member cyderry
This is a collection of short stories with Bertie Wooster and his "gentleman" Jeeves. These entertaining stories surround Bertie supporting the love issues of his friend who falls in love every other day with someone new. if you'd like a good chuckle, read on.!
LibraryThing member horacewimsey
You would be forgiven for thinking that the stories all seemed the same. Essentially they follow a formula. But try not to read them one right after the other and I think you'll get along nicely. These are, after all, Wodehouse at his best.
LibraryThing member nohablo
Frothy and blithe and meant to be read basking outside with blue skies and hella sun.

More of a series of quickly Oh Bertie! episodes; moves everything along at a lightening clip, but also makes me miss some of the rumbling cacophony of the more elaborately orchestrated Wodehouse plots.
LibraryThing member labfs39
'It is young men like you, Bertie, who make the person with the future of the race at heart despair. Cursed with too much money, you fritter away in idle selfishness a life which might have been made useful, helpful and profitable. You do nothing but waste your time on frivolous pleasures. You are simply an antisocial animal, a drone. Bertie, it is imperative that you marry.'

To listen to his Aunt Agatha, one would think that Bertie Wooster was worthless, but for the prospect of a good marriage. To his friends, however, he is a splendid chap, excellent host, and friend of the finest order. One friend in particular is always coming to Bertie for help with his seemingly endless, disastrous love affairs. Being a good sport, but rather obtuse, Bertie jumps in with advice for Bingo, and it is up to Bertie's valet, Jeeves, to sort things out. Jeeves is the quintessential British butler, proper to a fault, with impeccable taste, and a genius for solving problems. Bertie relies on him as his "guide, philosopher, and friend." Through a series of interrelated stories, Jeeves saves Bingo from his fickle love affairs and keeps Bertie from fashion mistakes that might jeopardize his standing as a gentleman.

This is the first book that P.G. Wodehouse wrote about Bertie and Jeeves, and it was published in 1923. I love the witty writing and the ludicrous situations. My one complaint about this book is that the situations with Bingo and his loves get a bit tedious. But interspersed are a couple of stories about Bertie's irrepressible cousins, Claude and Eugene, and even one about a marital near miss for the ultimate bachelor himself. The next time I need a good laugh, I will pick up the second Jeeves novel and settle in. Great fun.… (more)
LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
What I enjoyed most about this novel was all the British expressions and the dry humor, not to mention how Jeeves has his employer wrapped around his little finger. I loved how he always managed to make Bertie get rid of clothing that Jeeves didn't like.
LibraryThing member MuckleFlugga
This is the first Jeeves & Wooster book I've actually read - although I have watched the TV series several times over. I really enjoyed it but I suspect that all the Jeeves and Wooster books are written along a similar formula. Still; some very amusing characters, plots and sub-plots which kept me entertained.
LibraryThing member Jellyn
I can certainly understand why people like these stories! I don't even know what I can say about them except that they're very fun, very good, and very well-written.It's not a novel so much as a series of short stories loosely strung together. And the short stories I previously read seem to slot into the middle of here somewhere. Although I could be wrong. They're certainly allowed to pop over to the States more than once.I think it's the voice that really carries this. The comedic situations and scrapes would be fine, but without the personality and the voice of the narrator, it just would not work even a tenth as well.I do keep hearing Hugh Laurie. (And Stephen Fry to a lesser extent.) But that's really just helping it. :)Writing this reminds me I need to track down the next book.… (more)
LibraryThing member brettjames
Wodehouse breaks every rule in comic timing, and it works perfectly.
LibraryThing member ncgraham
This is my second Wodehouse book, but my first foray into the world of Jeeves and Wooster, and I have to say ... I'm a bit disappointed.

My first Wodehouse was Leave it to Psmith, and I'm trying to figure out why I loved that and not The Inimitable Jeeves. Perhaps it's because The Inimitable Jeeves is a short story collection. I like short stories, but after one story after another of Bingo Little falling in love, he and Bertie getting into a scrape, and Jeeves helping them out of it, it all got a little tired and redundant. Perhaps reading them separately rather than back to back would have helped: they originally appeared serially. But then I miss the wonderful, crazy, interwoven plot lines in Leave it to Psmith, so perhaps I should just stick to Wodehouse's novels. There are bits of Psmith I remember to this day: his hilarious advertisement, his bungled meeting with Freddie Threepwood, his proposal to Eve, Baxter and his flowerpots. The Inimitable Jeeves, while funny, had nothing on that level of comic brilliance, in my opinion.

Of course, The Inimitable Jeeves was not only my introduction to Bertie and co., but the world's as well. Maybe they got better as they went along. I certainly hope so.
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LibraryThing member shabacus
Some of the best Jeeves is also some of the earliest.

Full disclosure--I am a huge fan of P.G. Wodehouse, and my default rating in four stars.

Originally written as short stories, this collection has been reworked as a novel and holds up very well in that form. Although this book very much defines the relationship between Bertie and Jeeves, there are a few surprising elements (Jeeves was engaged? Insulting his master behind his back?) that don't quite gel with later writings. As much as Bertie and Jeeves were negotiating their relationship so was Wodehouse discovering the dynamic between his most famous characters.

This book is also Bingo Little's story, and I'm only sorry that Wodehouse had so little to do for his heroes after they were married, because I would have liked to see Bingo more in the annals of Jeeves and Wooster. (He makes an occasional appearance in a short story here and there, but never reaches the same starring role again.)

Several of the chapters in this collection are my favorite in all of Wodehouse, such as the Great Sermon Handicap and its immediate sequel, the Purity of the Turf. To me, these encapsulate the spirit of early Wodehouse, the boundless optimism and the penchant for mischief.

Recommendation: A great place to start reading about Bertie and Jeeves, and highly recommended to anyone who wants a good laugh in a light, easy-to-swallow package.
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LibraryThing member section241
I'm still new to the Jeeves stories, but this was a pleasant book - gentle humour, witty dialogue guided by the amiable but thick-headed Bertie Wooster. I'll have to sample the rest of the series eventually.
LibraryThing member mahallett
reader good. story very frothy.
LibraryThing member Nodosaurus
Another collection of stories about Bertie Wooster and Reginald Jeeves. It is enjoyable to watch Jeeves master every situation that Bertie can get into, whether due to his own bumbling or the machinations of his relatives. In this case, Aunt Agatha who is trying to set Bertie up for matrimony. Of course this would destroy Bertie's character and may even require him to fire Jeeves. In story after story, Jeeves executes the most unexpected solution to a seemingly impossible problem.

The book got off to a slow start, but did provide the expected surprises and humor to make for an enjoyable read. This book, unlike the other stories (that I've read) is a novel as opposed to a collection of short stories, but feels like short stories with recurrent and common themes. As with the others, this book is a light read and fairly quick, and worth the time.
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LibraryThing member charlottejones952
This book is a collection of stories revolving around Bertie Wooster and the mishaps that happen in his life. I have previously watched and enjoyed the television series starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry and felt obliged to read at least one of the books that Jeeves and Wooster is based on.

The plot was interesting throughout as the chapters were each separate stories but continued on from each other so you could easily read this in one session. It is only 253 pages long so I managed to read this in a day and was drawn in by the various events that take place.

The characters were my favourite part of this book. Wooster, the protagonist, was a bit annoying to be honest, mostly because he seemed to just go along with everything that he was told, but Jeeves was definitely intriguing and held the reader's interest. I found him mysterious and funny in parts and felt that he interacted well with all of the side characters and added a lot to the development of the characters and plots.

This book was originally published in 1923 and this is evident by the type of language that is used throughout. I found it difficult to get used to but got into it eventually and couldn't put it down! The individual stories tied together really well but I feel they could also be read separately.

Overall I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars as I found the writing style difficult in parts and it was not as funny as I thought it would be, but this was an enjoyable read and I will definitely pick up some of the others in this series at some point.
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LibraryThing member billiecat
"The Inimitable Jeeves" is a collection of short stories that shows Wodehouse's command of the form, but this volume, focusing as many of the stories do on the romantic escapades of Bingo Little, has a little bit more unity than others. As Bingo is almost as funny a feckless idiot (in the words of Aunt Agatha) as Bertie, it is thoroughly enjoyable. Best stories are "No Wedding Bells for Bingo" and, of course, "The Great Sermon Handicap" and "The Purity of the Turf."… (more)
LibraryThing member iftyzaidi
Wonderful. Even, dare I say it, inimitable! This is the first Jeeves and Wooster book I've read and honestly I can't say why it too me so long to get round to reading it.
LibraryThing member mamzel
Jeeves is the perfect butler. He is always in the background fulfilling his master's needs and ensuring he maintains a proper wardrobe. Bertie Wooster is lucky to have such a man since he needs the help dealing with his aunt who is bent on getting him married and his friends who are always imposing on him to participate in betting pools and intervening between them and their families. Whenever Bertie finds himself in trouble, Jeeves always manages to head off disaster.

I listened to this in audio form and the reader had the perfect posh British accent to voice the characters. A smashing time!
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LibraryThing member jen.e.moore
The adventures of Bingo Little, who just cannot help falling in love with pretty much every woman he meets. This one reads more like a series of connected short stories than a single novel, which probably contributes to me forgetting what it's about every time I put it down.
LibraryThing member iamjonlarson
Thoroughly enjoyed it. The plot barely matters, its P.G. Wodehouse's way with words. I would rate it higher but this is my first stroll with Wodehouse and I want to leave room for his even better stuff.
LibraryThing member RussellBittner
I’ve said it before (in my 3/21/14 review of My Man Jeeves, to be specific), and I’ll say it again: the prose of P. G. Wodehouse is delísh … the bee’s knees … or if “hell-brew” (p. 67) is your choice for metaphor, good to the last drop! How he does it, how he nails it with every word and never grows stale or hackneyed remains a complete mystery to me. I can only imagine what it must’ve cost him to remain so piquantly original in his wit—not just line after line, but book after book.

In the vernacular peculiar to Wodehouse, people don’t just drop in for a spot of tea or a chat, they “toddle round” to the same end and “have a dash at it” (both on p. 11). They also “curvet” (p. 83); “scud off” (p. 84); “pop off” (p. 86); “whizz for” (p. 88); “pour [silently] in” (p. 89); “sally forth (p. 97); and “trickle round” (p. 210). One of Wodehouse’s characters doesn’t just look a bit down on his luck, but rather resembles “a sheep with a secret sorrow” (p. 30). When Bertie — the principal character, along with Jeeves, of almost all of Wodehouse’s books — himself runs into a little unexpected luck, the right words to express his pleasure come roiling out: “Well, then, dash it, I’m on velvet. Absolutely reclining on the good old plush!” (p. 36). And if you should happen to visit the same archly conservative Senior Liberal Club where Bingo and Bertie decide to meet one day, you may also conclude — if somewhat less colorfully — that it is indeed “the eel’s eyebrows” (p. 205).

I could easily strike up the band all day with P. G.’s metaphors and similes, but I’d prefer to leave that little surprise to you, a possible reader of The Inimitable Jeeves (just for starters). Instead, I’ll strike up that same band with the opening paragraph of Chapter 10 (“Startling Dressiness of a Lift Attendant”):

“The part which old George had written for the chump Cyril took up about two pages of typescript; bit it might have been Hamlet, the way that poor, misguided pinhead worked himself to the bone over it. I suppose, if I heard him read his lines once I did it a dozen times in the first couple of days. He seemed to think that my only feeling about the whole affair was one of enthusiastic admiration, and that he could rely on my support and sympathy. What with trying to imagine how Aunt Agatha was going to take this thing, and being woken up out of the dreamless in the small hours every other night to give my opinion of some new bit of business which Cyril had invented, I became more or less the good old shadow. And all the time Jeeves remained still pretty cold and distant about the purple socks. It’s this sort of thing that ages a chappie, don’t you know, and makes his youthful joie-de-vivre go a bit groggy in the knees” (p. 87).

If I had to venture a guess as to what it is (other than his choice of vocabulary – or ‘vocab,’ as P. G. would no doubt have it) that Wodehouse employs in the way of literary device to achieve his comedic effect, I’d have to say that it’s his peculiar combination, often in close proximity if not in precise juxtaposition, of hyperbole and typical British understatement. This combination is a source of constant titillation to whatever cluster of sympathetic ganglia rides herd from a reader’s eye, via the brain, clear down to that same reader’s funny-bone.

It takes a true master, however, to do this and not overdo it — and P. G. Wodehouse is just such a master.

And as Wodehouse would no doubt write if he were reading this claptrap that passes for a review: “‘Sorry to interrupt the feast of reason and flow of soul and so forth, but—’” (p. 88).

Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.

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