Narrator: Jonathan Cecil
Length: 6 hrs 23 mins
Publisher: Audible Studios
Audible release: 2005
My arduous quest to re-visit all the Jeeves and Wooster stories, in order of publication and read by Jonathan Cecil continues. Listening to ‘The inimitable Jeeves’ was particularly challenging as the Audible app on my phone crashed and it took me an extra one minute and thirty seconds to download the book and get listening.
‘The inimitable Jeeves’ is the second short story collection containing Bertie Wooster and his valet, Jeeves. Since, as I said in my previous review, ‘My man Jeeves’ is probably one for the scholars and super-fans, this book feels more like the real start of the series.
It’s based on short stories that Wodehouse published elsewhere, but unlike most story collections, they aren’t presented individually. Instead, the author very cleverly intertwines all the stories and structures the book into related chapters that seamlessly fit together as if the thing really was a longer work. What’s more, the central thread running through the collection concerns Bertie and Jeeves’s attempts to sort out the ups and downs of young Bingo Little’s love life. I personally find Bingo one of Bertie’s most engaging pals and think that Jonathan Cecil’s portrayal of him is hilarious.
As well as the travails of poor Bingo, the stories also introduce us to the dreaded Aunt Agatha, Sir Roderick Glossop and his daughter Honoria, and several other characters who make repeated appearances throughout the series.
Spoiler alert: I can’t read the chapter where Sir Roderick Glossop comes to lunch without being transported back to the Fry and Lorry adaptation in which Hugh Lorry produces an absolutely laugh out loud performance as he tries to decide where everyone should sit. I’d personally buy their version for that scene alone.
In conclusion, this is a top quality book and well worth an audible credit. And if you’ve already got it, read it again!