The last of PG Wodehouse (for now)

IMGP4517 I HAVE just read the Everyman edition of “Sunset at Blandings”, the final (and unfinished) novel to be written by the incomparable P G Wodehouse.

Wodehouse was ninety-three when he died on February 24th, 1975, leaving sixteen chapters of the book typed out on his favourite 1927 vintage Royal typewriter.

They were just the first draft, but “Sunset” contains all of the old Blandings Castle favourites, including the Earl of Emsworth, Beach the Butler, Uncle Galahad, and the Empress of Blandings (Lord Emsworth’s prize pig (retired) ).

I’ve been a Wodehouse fan since I was a teenager. I remember, when I was just a trainee reporter, having a heated argument with a colleague who dismissed Wodehouse as a typical oppressor of the proletariat.

But this colleague was a Marxist, and they are always wrong about everything, so I took the considered view that his opinion did not matter. (One of my happiest trainee days was hearing that this ardent son of the revolution had been chased out of a meeting by striking steel workers who would have no truck with “bloody commies.”)

Since retiring, I have now read all of the Psmith and Jeeves & Wooster novels in the excellent Everyman series, but (much like Plum himself) I am drawn back to the Blandings Castle stories constantly.

This edition of ‘Sunset” (the title was suggested after Wodehouse’s death by the publishers Chatto & Windus) includes  a “solution” to the question of the real location of Blandings.

According to Norman Murphy, Wodehouse actually used elements of three different places to create Blandings, a place where the sun (almost) always shines, and where the forces of love (always) always triumph at the end of some of the most imaginative, and funniest, plots in English Literature. IMGP4516

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