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Literature / Much Obliged, Jeeves

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Much Obliged, Jeeves is a 1971 novel by P. G. Wodehouse.

It is a Jeeves and Wooster story. Bertie Wooster is summoned by his Aunt Dahlia to Brinkley Court to assist Bertie's old friend, Harold "Ginger" Winship. Ginger is running in a by-election for Parliament and Dahlia wants Bertie to canvass for Ginger. Bertie is happy to do it for a second reason: Ginger is engaged to Bertie's old girlfriend Florence Craye, and if Ginger loses the election Florence will dump him, and if Florence dumps Ginger she'll probably latch on to Bertie, which Bertie wants to avoid at all costs.

A second plot thread involves one L.P. Runkle, a financier who is visiting Brinkley Court. It seems that at some point in the past Runkle employed Tuppy Glossop's father. Glossop the Elder made an invention that Runkle claimed the patent for. The elder Glossop is long dead but Tuppy Glossop is hoping to marry Aunt Dahlia's daughter Angela, and so Dahlia is trying to convince Runkle to part with some of his royalties.

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Still a third plot thread involves Jeeves and his Junior Ganymede club, a club for valets. Bertie continues to fret about the book at the Junior Ganymede where valets write down compromising info about their masters. Jeeves says the book is confidential and secure, but not everybody at the Junior Ganymede is so ethical...


Tropes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: It turns out that Brinkley from Thank You, Jeeves is actually named "Bingley", which means Bertie spent an entire novel calling him by the wrong name. (The real reason for this is that Wodehouse wanted to bring the character back but wanted to avoid confusion with Aunt Dahlia's mansion, Brinkley Court.
  • Buxom Is Better: Bertie doesn't like Florence Craye but he admits that she is sexy, saying that she has "as many curves as a scenic railway."
  • Continuity Nod: The return of Bingley/Brinkley, who burned down a cottage and tried to kill Bertie in Thank You Jeeves.
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  • Crazy-Prepared: Bertie and Dahlia are astonished to find that Jeeves just happened to have a Mickey Finn on his person, after Jeeves uses it to drug Bingley and steal the book back.
  • Department of Redundancy Department
    His words made me breathe more freely.
    "Jeeves," I said, "your words make me breathe more freely."

    I was conscious of a profound peace.
    "Jeeves," I said, "I am conscious of a profound peace."
  • Deus ex Machina: Bertie appears doomed to go to prison for the theft of Runkle's silver porringer (actually stolen by Dahlia). That's when Jeeves reveals completely out of nowhere that Runkle has a criminal past, having spent time in jail for bribing a juror in America and then having jumped bail and fled the States when facing trial for real estate fraud. Instantly, not only is Bertie off the hook but Runkle is forced to give Tuppy Glossop some of his father's royalties.
  • Election Day Episode: Ginger Winship, one of Bertie's old chums, is campaigning to become a Member of Parliament. Aunt Dahlia is supporting him and wants Bertie to work for him as well.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Dahlia waxes nostalgic about her brother named his son Bertram Wilberforce Wooster after winning a lot of money on a race horse named Wilberforce.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Bertie uses the word "ejaculated" for "exclaimed" more than once. Given that this book was written in 1971 it was almost certainly intentional on the part of Wodehouse.
    "Good Lord," I ejaculated, if ejaculated is the word I want.
  • Haughty Help: Bastable, the valet that Bingley has hired after inheriting a fortune from an uncle. He adopts a snooty attitude when Bertie shows up, and later he refuses to admit Aunt Dahlia.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Bingley mocks Bertie for getting drunk and burning down the cottage in Thank You, Jeeves, when it was Bingley who did that.
  • Last-Name Basis: This, the next-to-last Jeeves and Wooster novel, published fifty-odd years after the first short stories, is where we finally learn Jeeves's first name. It's "Reginald."
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: Bertie describes Aunt Dahlia insulting L.P. Runkle by saying "Her first observation was that L.P. Runkle was an illegitimate offspring to end all illegitimate offsprings."
  • Nazi Nobleman: He appears to have left the Nazi business behind after becoming the Earl of Sidcup, but Bertie can't forget the former Roderick Spode's Nazi past as leader of the "Black Shorts".
  • Not What It Looks Like: Bertie takes Madeline Bassett's face in his hand so he can remove a fly from her eye, which of course is when her fiancé Roderick Spode comes in and gets jealous.
  • Politicians Kiss Babies: Ginger Winship, candidate for Parliament, finds this disgusting, but something he has to do if he wants to win office.
  • Produce Pelting: Bertie is sorry to have missed the election debate, which dissolved into produce-throwing chaos after Ginger got on stage and told everyone to vote for his opponent.
  • Re-Cut: The American version of the novel has a slightly different ending from the original. In the original version, Bertie frets about the Junior Ganymede journal, Jeeves reveals that he has deleted the 18 incriminating pages about Bertie, and the book ends with Bertie breathing a sigh of relief. In the American version, Jeeves goes on to explain that he deleted the 18 pages because he has no plans to ever leave Bertie's employment and there is "a tie that binds" between them. (This was also a Title Drop in the American version, which was titled Jeeves and the Tie That Binds.)
  • Sexy Secretary: Magnolia Glendennon, the American girl that Ginger hired to assist him in his new political career. He winds up eloping with her.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Bingley absconds with the sensitive Junior Ganymede journal in order to use it as blackmail material. So Jeeves drugs Bingley's drink and steals the journal back.
  • Swapped Roles: In almost every story and novel, it's Bertie that's galactically wrong about something, and Jeeves' sage advice that wins the day. In this one, however, it's Bertie who is proved right about the Junior Ganymede journal, when someone (Bingley) steals it and uses it for blackmail material, after Jeeves reassured his master that such would never happen. Additionally, there's an exchange where Jeeves struggles to recall one of Bertie's quotations, which is the opposite of all the other stories when Bertie always fails to recall one of Jeeves's quotes from Shakespeare or Burns or whoever.
    "It is on the tip of my tongue."
    "A stinker?"
    No, he said, it wasn't a stinker.
    "A tough baby?"
    "No."
    "A twenty-minute egg?"
    "That was it, sir. Mr. Runkle is a twenty-minute egg."
  • Title Drop: Aunt Dahlia says "Much obliged, Jeeves" after learning that Jeeves retrieved the book from Bingley, and Bertie says the same on the last page of the novel after Jeeves says that he removed the material about Bertie from the journal.
  • Wacky Americans Have Wacky Names: When told that the name of Ginger's new secretary is Magnolia Glendennon, Bertie says "It can't be." Hypocritical Humor, of course, considering all of the ridiculous names of Bertie's friends.
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