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5.0 out of 5 stars Jeeves & Bertie #6
Previous: Right Ho, Jeeves
This was my first excursion into the Wonderful World of Wodehouse, and remains my favorite (though others are in close contention). The plot is simply brilliant, tightly woven together with twists and turns and ingenious irony, and flows directly from the story in Right Ho, Jeeves. Between silver cow-creamers, little leather notebooks,...
Published on Sept. 12 2002 by phantomfan

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Occasionally amusing but often contrived
THE CODE OF THE WOOSTERS is one of the few novel-length works about "intellectually negligable" young aristocrat Bertie Wooster and his titan of a valet Jeeves. I found the CODE OF THE WOOSTERS somewhat entertaining, though about two-thirds of the way through it starts to drag and all in all left me unimpressed.
Summarising the setup of the novel would be difficult,...
Published on April 9 2004 by Christopher Culver


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5.0 out of 5 stars Jeeves & Bertie #6, Sept. 12 2002
By 
Previous: Right Ho, Jeeves
This was my first excursion into the Wonderful World of Wodehouse, and remains my favorite (though others are in close contention). The plot is simply brilliant, tightly woven together with twists and turns and ingenious irony, and flows directly from the story in Right Ho, Jeeves. Between silver cow-creamers, little leather notebooks, ferocious dogs named Bartholomew, police constables and their helmets, angry neo-Nazis with buried secrets, and the looming threat of the soppy Madeline Bassett, laugh-out-loud comedy is inevitable. Funnier still is the fact that once Bertie arrives at the dreaded Totleigh Towers, all the action takes place in one day and night, making this the most fast-paced of the Jeeves books. This is one instance in which Bertie is never to blame for the soup in which he finds himself-it is thrust upon him by others, either by cajoling or blackmail, and Bertie's ever-good-hearted nature is taken advantage of to full extent. It is Jeeves to the rescue once again. The ending will leave you smiling-and finally able to take a deep breath and relax!
Next: Joy in the Morning (Jeeves in the Morning)
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, Sept. 28 2001
As with most Wodehouse books, this has enough plot twists and turns to keep the impossible situations running for as long as possible. Which is not to say that they are difficult to see coming, but even when you know that Gussie is about to pop up again with bad news, it's still fun to read. Jeeves' solutions are always fascinating, as is his "sang froid", as Bertie would say. I must strongly suggest to the first-time reader, read the introduction LAST. Alexander Cockburn does a decentish job of analyzing the story, but not without doing some major spoiling of plots. Lastly, I would argue my own opinion that the Wodehousian plots are not the strongest point of the book, but the breezy, conversational narrative style of the main protaginist, Bertram Wilberforce Wooster. This (funny in and of itself) is hilarious agaisnt the backdrop of his hyper-intelligent valet (or "gentleman's personal gentleman", as Jeeves refers to himself), strong-willed women, clutzy or (dare I use the word to describe a character of the 30's) nerdy friends, and comical villains. If you like British comedy in the least, you should read Wodehouse as he is a giant of the genre.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The First and Best Wodehouse Book I Ever Read!, July 17 2001
By 
LETICIA GONZALEZ (SAN LEANDRO, CA United States) - See all my reviews
I got this book for my birthday on May 30th, this year. I guess that makes me new. But, I can say this, this is undoubtedly the best Jeeves book that Mr Wodehouse ever wrote!
The main story is about how Bertie has to steal a cowcreamer for Aunt Dahlia or else he'll never eat from her godly French chef Anatole's dishes again!
Along the way, he meets Sir Watkyn Bassett, who once fined him a fiver on Boat Race Night for pinching a policeman's helmet. With Sir Watkyn is his friend and soon-to-be-nephew Dictator Roderick Spode.
Sir Watkyn, showing Bertie's Uncle Tom lobster, upsets Uncle Tom's stomach, and takes the cowcreamer. Meanwhile, Bertie gets a message from Gussie Fink-Nottle, who is going to marry Sir Watkyn's daughter Madeline. Gussie screws up the engagement, and it's up to Bertie to fix it.
Then Spode says if Bertie pinches the cowcreamer, he'll beat him to a pulp, and, as I've said too much, you should go buy it! It's a great book! Pip-pip for now!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This reader is perfect for Wodehouse., Sept. 26 2002
By 
D. Richardson (Lafayette, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This tape, which our library has since lost or destroyed, is terrific. The reader, Jonathan Cecil, is amazing, entertaining and amusing, of course. After discovering this taped book I went on to read all of the Jeeves books, and I rented, borrowed or bought all the taped versions of this series read by Jonathan Cecil. Readers voices are a matter of taste but, for my money, this guy is the best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audio version just about perfect, Feb. 26 2001
By 
F. Behrens "Frank Behrens" (Keene, NH USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
There are very few novels that can guarantee five good laughs a page and chuckles during all the spaces between, but the Bertie Wooster/Jeeves novels of P.G. Wodehouse fill the bill. It is even jollier when a good British comedian simply reads the novel to you, as does Jonathan Cecil in the Audio Partners release of the 1938 <The Code of the Woosters: Jeeves to the Rescue> (1-57270-182-X).
Here on 6 audiocassettes with a total running time of 7 hours is one of the stories you might have seen dramatized on Masterpiece Theatre a while ago. Oh, you know, the one about Bertie having to steal a cow-shaped creamer from Sir Watkyn Bassett for his Aunt Dahlia. Along the way, he becomes entangled in the on again, off again engagement between the newt-loving Gussie Fink-Nottle and the simpering Madeline Bassett, Roderick Spode who heads the Black Shorts (since all the Black Shirts have been bought up by an Italian of the period) and harbors a shameful secret), Stiffy Bynge who wants to marry the local clergyman H.P. "Stinker Pinker," and the local Constable whose helmet has been pinched.
The plot is simple at first and then, as in any good farce, rapidly accelerates into the complexity of a Baroque French clock and with about as much socially redeeming value. We simply sit back and marvel at the mechanism as (to carry on the analogy) Wodehouse's puppet-like characters perform their intricate movements around the hapless Bertie Wooster who not for the first time in these stories tends to lose faith in Jeeves just as that master of intrigue is at his brainiest. All this in the inimitable Wodehouse upper-class British twit jargon and a world every bit as real as that of Damon Runyon and W.S. Gilbert, providing you accept certain premises.
Jonathan Cecil was very badly miscast as Arthur Hastings in two or three Poirot films in which Peter Ustinov played the sleuth. Here he is a gem, reading as he does every word of the novel and acting out every character, male and female, in a different voice. His reading, Wodehouse's literary style and plotting, and all the rest made 7 hours on the exerciser pass pleasantly quickly.
Highly recommended even for more relaxed listeners.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Occasionally amusing but often contrived, April 9 2004
By 
THE CODE OF THE WOOSTERS is one of the few novel-length works about "intellectually negligable" young aristocrat Bertie Wooster and his titan of a valet Jeeves. I found the CODE OF THE WOOSTERS somewhat entertaining, though about two-thirds of the way through it starts to drag and all in all left me unimpressed.
Summarising the setup of the novel would be difficult, but it begins with a battle over a cow-shaped creamer. The cow creamer is desired by Bertie's Aunt Dahlia and Uncle Tom, but is bought instead by Sir Watkyn Bassett, the retired magistrate who once fined Bertie five pounds for stealing a policeman's helmet. Aunt Dahlia gives Bertie a choice between infiltrating Bassett's house and stealing the cow creamer, or never again tasting the wonderful meals of her French chef Anatole. Two related problems are the engagements of Bassett's niece Stephanie "Stiffy" Byng and Bertie's school chum Harold "Stinker" Pinker, and Basset's daughter Madelaine and Wooster friend Gussie Fink-Nottle. There's also Roderick Spode, Watkyn's menacing associate and the leader of a fascist group called the Saviours of Britain. The book was published in 1937, and through Spode Wodehouse makes a few jabs against Hitler and Mussolini.
In spite of its observation of human social interactions which really are often zany, the novel does seem somewhat far-fetched. A character hears a major revelation but reacts too tamely, the plot's resultion in the last couple of pages seems like an easy way out of a book starting to run out of steam.
There are a few moments in THE CODE OF THE WOOSTERS which made me laugh out loud, and therefore I do cautiously recommend the book. However, it is a somewhat insubstantial novel, and falls into a three-star rating. If you've never read Wodehouse before, you might want to try one of his many short stories before tackling an entire novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wild surmise, what?, June 13 2002
By A Customer
As always, Wodehouse's hilariously likable characters and biting turns of phrase make this little tale a pleasure. I pick up old Bertie and Jeeves whenever I want something funny and fast, and "The Code of the Woosters" is among his best.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Plum pudding, April 13 2001
In the circles I run in, Wodehouse is not a well-known name. Thus it doesn't surprise me that it's taken this long for my first trip through the tulips with Jeeves and Wooster. It saddens me, but it doesn't surprise me. "Saddens" for this confection is the perfect mix of all of the elements of comedy.
On one level, the story is classic bedroom farce. The action takes place in a country house, where people are constantly running from one room to another. Everytime one door opens, a new misunderstanding occurs and the plot is violently thrown in another direction. It makes one realize how effective a well-constructed bedroom farce can be in delivering sparkling comedy.
On top of the farcical elements, Wodehouse also manages to throw in some biting satire. There are well placed but subtle jabs at fascism, fashionable psychology, and upper class morality. They never trip up the story, only serving as wonderful little digressions that do much to add weight to the lighter elements.
The book is populated by a wonderfully motley crew of snooty misfits, each doing their bit to stoke the fires of the story. But the cake is taken by Jeeves and Wooster themselves. Neither could exist without the other (at least in a literary sense). The first fifty or so pages prove this, as Wooster heads up to the country house ahead of his manservant. The character flounders during these sections. Only when Jeeves arrives (to save the day, natch) does the narrative gain an even greater head of steam. I can't imagine how tedious it would be to listen to Bertie Wooster's mindless meanderings for a whole book, without the simple and economic replies of his man Jeeves. They are the pins in the balloons that release Bertie's hot air. As I said before, this is my first foray into Jeeves and Wooster country, so I can't say if the other tales in the series live up to the standard set here. It would seem like an impossible task.
The brilliance of the Jeeves/Wooster dichotomy is that Wodehouse doesn't take the easy route; that is, telling the story through Jeeves narration. It would be too easy to allow us into Jeeves brain, where we would either be confronted by his undying loyalty (which the reader could never understand, given the ignorance of his charge) or his hatred for Bertie (which would undermine the whole tale). Rather, we get Bertie's side of things, and his ambiguous depiction of his man makes Jeeves that much more intriguing a character. And furthermore, it allows Bertie to be a very interesting "unreliable narrator". We cannot trust -- but can laugh at -- his recollections of past events (the book is told entirely through recollections), or his characterization of hisself (in which he tries to pass himself off as an intellectual, rather than a pompous boob). The "unreliable narrator" is my favourite of the current post-modern literary fads, one which Wodehouse gleefully saunters through a half century before its time (side note: for a fine example of a case where the modest butler also serves as the "unreliable narrator", see Kazuo Ishiguro's book "The Remains of the Day", a personal favourite of mine).
One cautionary note, though: in this edition, don't read the introduction first. Alexander Cockburn can't help but give away some key plot points in the examples he provides of Wodehouse's comedic prose. It is a finely written essay, but it belongs at the end rather than the beginning, so to not spoil the reader's fun of discovery. Other than that mild criticism, this is a perfect piece of comedy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishingly Good, April 5 2001
By 
R. Walker - See all my reviews
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Amazing both for the infectious language (replete with backhanded putdowns), and the parade of plot twists. Bertie Wooster and faithful butler Jeeves, characters in many Wodehouse books, get mixed up in a series of misunderstandings, broken engagements, and petty thefts that all revolve around a certain antique creamer, shaped like a cow. Absolutely unpredictable. No point, really, in trying to reconstruct it. And really, the point here isn't how the roller coaster is put together, it's whether or not it holds together and makes for a fun ride. Affirmative on both counts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Quite Like It, Feb. 18 2001
By 
oh_pete (Cambridge. MA USA) - See all my reviews
Bertie Wooster's is a different world. A different world indeed, even from the jazzy age of 1920s and 30s England that P. G. Wodehouse employs as his setting. The code of the Woosters is to never let a friend down, and Bertie would do this far more often were it not for his tactful and clever gentleman's personal gentleman, Jeeves. Bertie is a marvelous type of fellow: over-educated but under-intelligent; useless to society but wealthy beyond any need for scruple; completely numbed by the simple pleasures of an aristocratic life, but always there for his friends and family in a pinch. Amusingly enough, very few of the people that Bertie is enlisted in aiding actually deserve anyone's help. He is variously bullied and cajoled--but usually blackmailed--into putting himself in the most precarious positions. He must steal a cow-shaped piece of silver or his Aunt Dahlia will never let him eat a meal served by her godly French chef; he must steal a policeman's helmet to indirectly prevent himself from betrothal to a starry-eyed ditz of a woman. Being a Wooster, of course, he would go through with such a wedding rather than be impolite.
What makes Bertie's bumbling and stumbling antics the more amusing is that he fancies himself a man of wit and decisiveness. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jeeves is the man for that, as well as the man to keep Bertie from his predilection for screaming fashion faux pas.
Wodehouse employs a wonderfully dry wit and a delivery that ranges between the anecdotal and the rat-a-tat. One finds oneself smiling through every page, and occasionally being forced to place the book on the side table so as not to harm in during a fit of laughing out loud. Wodehouse's influence on writers such as Evelyn Waugh, Kingsley Amis and Stephen Fry has enriched British literature of the last century, but he himself was a true original, as are Jeeves and Wooster.
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The Code of the Woosters: Jeeves to the Rescue
The Code of the Woosters: Jeeves to the Rescue by P. G. Wodehouse (Audio CD - July 19 2011)
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