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First published in UK: August 17 1932 by Herbert Jenkins, London|
First published in US: August 17 1932 by Doubleday Doran, Garden City, New York
The house-party at Chateau Blissac, Brittany, features a rather odd array of guests this year...
Mr J. Wellington Gedge is hoping for some peace and quiet while his wife
takes herself off for a while. She, however, has invited numerous visitors
to the chateau, to whom he will have to play reluctant host. Senator Opal
and his daughter Jane are expected and the Chateau's handsome, gadabout
owner Vicomte de Blissac. When a certain letter goes missing, landing the
Senator in the proverbial hot water, its up to Packy Franklyn, a great pal
of the Vicomte's, to sort out the mess. Unfortunately, this involves a
little light safe-cracking. Luckily, Packy bumps into the light-fingered
Click for enlarge book cover
J. Wellington Gedge Short, fat, American from California,
dominated by his wife
Medway Mrs. Gedge's maid who is a crook known as Gun-Shoe Gertie, wanting
to steal the Gedge jewelery. Used to work with Oily.
Julia Gedge Widow of millionaire oilman Wilmot Brewster who wants her
husband to be the U.S. Ambassador to France.
Soup's ex-partner in crime.
Kate Amelia Putnam Julia's social secretary and detective from the James
B. Flaherty Agency
Senator Ambrose Opal Fat American senator who sponsors
legislation against drink, but he mops the stuff up. Wants
Jane to marry Packy.
Jane Opal The Senator's black-haired and pretty daughter
who is secretly engaged to Blair, but loves Packy
(Veek) Vicomte Maurice de Blissac Packy's friend
(Oily) Gordon Carlisle American con man in St. Rocque
posing as the Due de Pont-Andemer
Soup Slattery American safe-cracker who is afraid of Pekes
(Packy) Patrick B. Franklyn American millionaire who went
to Yale and played football. Engaged to Lady Beatrice but
Lady Beatrice Bracken Daughter of the Earl of Stableford
engaged to Packy
Blair Eggleston Young novelist who is engaged to Jane. Works as a Sound
Effects man for the ΒΒΡ and becomes Senator Opal's valet
Octave Local policeman engaged to the Chateau's cook
Lady Gwendolyn Blinkhorn (*)
Mabel Brewster (*)
Gertrude Carlisle (*)
It is mid-July, fete-time at the French seaside resort of St Rocque. The
chateau up the hill has been rented by the Gedges from America: she rich
from a previous marriage, ambitious and dominant, he downtrodden and poor.
Her plan is to get him (whether he likes it or not, and he does not) made
the next American Ambassador to France. She is blackmailing Senator Opal,
the great 'Dry' campaigner, to exert his influence. By muddling envelopes
he had posted to her a letter to his bootlegger. News has also got around
to 'Oily' Carlisle, ace con-man, and to 'Soup' Slattery, ace safe-blower,
that Mrs Gedge has some good diamonds which make St Rocque worth a visit.
Packy Franklyn, young American athlete and millionaire, is engaged to Lady
Beatrice Bracken who, wanting him to become cultured, orders him to consort
with Blair Eggleston, the Bloomsbury novelist. Blair somehow gets taken on
as Senator Opal's valet, and Packy falls in love with Senator Opal's
daughter Jane, who is secretly and foolishly engaged to Blair. Packy rents
a yawl and sails it across to St Rocque. There, too, is Old Etonian French
playboy, Vicomte de Blissac ('Veek'). Almost all the males, in the absence
of their ladies, get plastered at the fete. Mrs Gedge's maid and her
secretary turn out to be under aliases, and Mrs Gedge herself - well, she
never did become wife of the Ambassador to France, that's for sure. But
Packy got Jane, who has promised never to make him go to lectures or meet
Bloomsbury novelists again.
Source: Richard Usborne. Plum Sauce. A P G Wodehouse Companion.