Out 052 694

The Aids Memorial

Fiction, Spy capers with a PG certificate

Par Alexander Larman - 2 mn

Out 052 694
Ben Schott: ‘excels with a series of similes.’

Jeeves and the King of Clubs
Ben Schott
Cornerstone, £16.99, pp320

In a likably modest afterword to his new Jeeves and Wooster novel, Ben Schott writes that “nothing can cap perfection; my aim has been to establish base camp in the foothills of Plum’s genius and direct climbers up towards the peak”. He has certainly succeeded in this aim and a great deal besides. Although Schott, whose first novel this is, cannot compare to PG “Plum” Wodehouse’s peerless ability with comic plotting and situation, his joy in manipulating language is certainly on a par – and an unexpected but welcome topical element gives the high jinks some added bite.

The convoluted plot has many strands, none of them remotely realistic. Bertie Wooster, bumbler and feckless man about town, becomes drawn into an unlikely plot to discover a fifth columnist at the heart of British society, along with the ever-faithful Jeeves. Might it be Roderick Spode, AKA Lord Sidcu...