‘The Mating Season’ by P. G. Wodehouse

Narrator: Jonathan Cecil

Length: 6 hrs 51 mins

Publisher: Audible Studios

Release date: May 2009

Since the last Jeeves and Wooster book I reviewed held such a special place in my heart I decided to wait a while before listening to ‘The Mating Season’, book 9 in the series. I thought that a bit of time, coupled with a couple of unrelated pallet-cleansing reads, would allow me to come at the thing with a less critical eye. Perhaps I needn’t have bothered, since the story returns us to the Gussy Fink-Knottle and Madeline Bassett engagement and is, to all intents and purposes, unrelated to its immediate predecessor. But the thing is done now, and below is the result.

In a true take on the traditional Shakespearian style comedy where everyone is pretending to be someone else, Bertie and Jeeves descend upon Deverill Hall and get mixed up in yet another tale of star-crossed lovers and ferocious aunts. The tale is topped off with the obligatory curmudgeonly local bobby, and we even get to meet one of Jeeves’s relatives and get to see a bit of action below stairs as well as above them with the toffs.

This book is incredibly well plotted, fabulously written, and contains some real funny gems. Unfortunately, when compared to the books that have gone before, I felt that it lacked something. Maybe it was that the stakes for Bertie were never really that high. Despite the possibility of Madeline returning Gussy to store and taking Bertie off the shelf I couldn’t help but feel like Bertie, and even Jeeves, were somewhat on the sidelines and not integral to the action. If this book had been my first ever Jeeves and Wooster story then perhaps I would think differently. As it was, for the first time I finished a Jeeves and Wooster book feeling a tiny bit unsatisfied.

If you haven’t read it before then it’s worthwhile settling down with Jonathan Cecil for yet another few hours of entertaining fun. After all, it’s just possible that I am doing it a disservice. As for me, if I am looking for a Jeeves and Wooster style humorous pick-me-up in the future, I suspect this one will remain somewhere near the bottom of the list.