Even in Lloyd George's premiership would a second-rank American actor,
married to an American millionairess forging ahead in London society, be
given an English peerage? No, but it's important to the plot of this
comedy-thriller that the American millionairess is aiming at just that - to
spite her millionairess sister who has said she married beneath her.
Bingley Crocker is the suffering peer-hopefully-to-be, a baseball fan stuck
in London with an ambitious, snobbish wife, an English butler who is a
cricket fan and a son, Jimmy, who is now 'Piccadilly Jim', playboy. Jimmy
Crocker, like Jimmy Pitt in A Gentleman of Leisure, had, before he became
cushioned by money, been a newspaperman and had written a hurt-fully ribald
review of a volume of heart-felt poetry by Ann Chester - not a good start
because he later finds he wants to marry her.
Here comes young Ogden Ford again, and his mother, widowed, and now
remarried to, and making life hell for, Peter Pett, New York financier and
baseball fan. Ann Chester is Peter Pett's niece and comforter, also
governess and supposed to be in charge of Ogden, whom she rightly detests
mainly because he adds to the hell of his step-father's life. The whole
family, Peter Pett, Nesta Pett, Ogden and Ann come over to England to
persuade Mrs Pett's sister, Mrs Crocker, to let them take her step-son
Jimmy back, to work in New York, rather than be 'Piccadilly Jim', the joy
of the columnists (he has had two breach-of-promise cases against him - a
barmaid and a girl in a flower shop) in London.
There is far too much disguising and false-naming for even faint
credibility. At one stage Jimmy Crocker, pretending to be son of English
butler Bayliss, has to pretend to be Jimmy Crocker to fool his father.
There is a sub-plot about the Secret Service and a new explosive,
Jimmy Crocker gets Ann in the end, both agreeing that his hurtful review of
her poems five years ago had reformed and toughtened her hitherto soppy
outlook; and anyway a fellow like him needs a tough wife.
Source: Richard Usborne. Plum Sauce. A P G Wodehouse Companion.