JEEVES: A Gentleman's Personal Gentleman by C. Northcote Parkinson

JEEVES: A Gentleman's Personal Gentleman

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A modestly amusing mock-biography of P. G. Wodehouse's most famous character: Reginald Jeeves, super-valet to--among others--smilingly dimwitted Bertie Wooster. Son of a popular barmaid and a failed scholar (""We may picture him as eccentric, shabby, learned, and normally drunk""), Parkinson's Jeeves is orphaned at 14, briefly flops as a footman; then becomes ""page-boy"" at the Picklerod Academy for Young Ladles. And it's here--despite sneaky seduction/blackmail attempts by the student body--that Jeeves acquires the surprising erudition which will be his claim to fame: encouraged by Miss Eunice Harbottle, BA (Hons.), he spends three years of study in the school library. So he's then ready for his rise, via a merry-go-round of employers, to the heights of valet-dom--impressing Lord Worplesdon with his horse-racing expertise; surviving stints with an impoverished nobleman (who peddles odd pharmaceuticals in Argentina) and a psittacophile (parrot-lover); and completing his jack-of-all-trades education in Monte Carlo with nautical Lord Frederick, who loses Jeeves in a poker game to tasteless Montague Todd. Todd, however, will soon be kidnapped (supposedly by ""The Young Levellers Liberation Army"")--a case requiring consultations with Hercule Poirot, Father Brown, and Peter Wimsey. And Jeeves is finally free to find his near-perfect employer: Bertie of ""Woostershire,"" who will sometimes alienate Jeeves--with banjo-playing, marriage plans, or Hollywood involvements--but will at last become truly worthy of Jeeves by inheriting the Earldom of Yaxley. Silly stuff, of course, with whimsical footnotes, jokey names, and flimsy episodes. But Parkinson stays as faithful as possible to Wodehouse's light, low-key, deadpan style--and Jeeves fans will probably find this a congenial addendum to the P.G.W. canon.

Pub Date: June 12th, 1981
Publisher: St. Martin's