'I don't know if you happen to know what the word "excesses" means, but these are what Pongo's Uncle Fred, when in London, invariably commits.' When the dastardly Duke of Dunstable plots to steal Lord Emsworth's pig, Empress of Blandings, the wily Uncle Fred - aka the Earl of Ickenham - is called in to thwart him. To that end, the earl arrives at Blandings Castle under false pretences, posing as pompous "loony-doctor" Sir Roderick Glossop, accompanied by two other imposters, one of them the unfortunate Pongo; a bookie turned private detective; an angry sixteen-stone poet; a suspicious dancing secretary, and Lord Emsworth's pink-faced heir who will keep pointing his gun in the wrong direction. In other words: business as usual in Wodeshouse's enchanted England.
Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (always known as `Plum') wrote more than ninety novels and some three hundred short stories over 73 years. He is widely recognised as the greatest 20th-century writer of humour in the English language.
Perhaps best known for the escapades of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, Wodehouse also created the world of Blandings Castle, home to Lord Emsworth and his cherished pig, the Empress of Blandings. His stories include gems concerning the irrepressible and disreputable Ukridge; Psmith, the elegant socialist; the ever-so-slightly-unscrupulous Fifth Earl of Ickenham, better known as Uncle Fred; and those related by Mr Mulliner, the charming raconteur of The Angler's Rest, and the Oldest Member at the Golf Club.
In 1936 he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for `having made an outstanding and lasting contribution to the happiness of the world'. He was made a Doctor of Letters by Oxford University in 1939 and in 1975, aged 93, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He died shortly afterwards, on St Valentine's Day.