Seven of The Den(ver) of the Secret Nine met to discuss P.G. Wodehouse’s Ring for Jeeves at our November conclave. It was roundly praised despite being a somewhat different story. First, it’s a Jeeves story without Bertie Wooster and second, it’s set in a very distinct time, the 1950s. There are references to the landed gentry feeling the pinch of death duties, television plays a role and there are uncomfortable jokes about the atomic bomb.
Change is definitely in the air. Bertie, although still financially sound, has enrolled in a sort of boot camp, to teach him the necessary life skills should he ever be unable to keep Jeeves in fish, and meanwhile Jeeves is employed by Lord Rowcester (or Lord Towcester, if you’re reading the US version The Return of Jeeves), who is so destitute because of his leaky stately home that he and Jeeves are doubling as race track bookies.
We speculated on Jeeves’ extensive dialog in this story (is it a consequence of the story having been adapted from an unperformed stage play?), the differences between the US and UK editions, the large number of Jeeves’ Shakespearean quotes and whether Wodehouse had a legitimate gripe against the tax man.
We also chose after much debate Sam the Sudden for the next story to discuss. It’s not a Bertie and Jeeves story but instead one of the many stories involving Lord Tilbury’s Mammoth Publishing Company. I think the story has the hero on a tramp steamer, so that should be fun.
We also decided at the meeting that whoever wins the day with their choice of a story should create some discussion notes before the meeting, in the event that they are unable to attend said meeting. We all like to know who to blame or credit and an explanation of why he or she suggested the story. Those notes will be posted here on the blog before the meeting. It doesn’t have to be long, two paragraphs perhaps and some interesting observations about the story, very similar to what the person would have said could they attend the meeting. Member Joice will have the honor to go first and we look forward to her scintillating comments about Sam the Sudden.
We also talked about Member Shawn’s suggestion that we should have a Christmas get together, but the general consensus was that finding an actual date, time and venue for such a meeting would be difficult. So instead we decided to have Christmas in January, and to that end, we’re going to ask that members also read Jeeves and the Yule-tide Spirit, which is part of the collection Very Good, Jeeves. It’s not mandatory and just the one story, not the whole collection.
Members are also encouraged to bring to the meeting any of the trappings of a traditional British Christmas: paper hats, crackers, mince pies or flaming pudding, etc. Maybe we’ll listen to the Queen’s Christmas message as well.
So our next meeting is at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 10 at Pints Pub unless you hear otherwise.