The Duke of Dunstable has invited himself, plus secretary Rupert Baxter, to
stay indefinitely at Blandings Castle. Notorious for laying about the
furniture with a poker if thwarted, he demands eggs for throwing at
whichever gardener keeps singing or whistling 'The bonny, bonny banks of
Loch Lomond' outside his window. And he tells Lord Emsworth that his pig
(twice in succession winner in the Fat Pig class) needs exercise and diet.
He says, 'Give her to me. I'll have her slimmed down and you'll be less
potty without her.' And Lady Connie insists that the dangerous Duke be
given anything he asks - or else.
Lord Emsworth must take steps to save the Empress and decides to rope in
Lord Ickenham, his brother Gally's friend, to help him. Lady Connie,
thinking that the dangerous Duke is going round the bend, has told Lord
Emsworth to go to London and get Sir Roderick Glossop, the loony-doctor, to
come and keep the Duke under observation.
There are bustling sub-plots. Lord Ickenham's nephew Pongo owes a
vindictive bookmaker £200. He tries to borrow it off Horace Davenport, who
is engaged to his sister, Valerie. Horace, unable to go to the Drones Le
Touquet golfing weekend, has sent 'Mustard' Pott, private investigator, to
tail Valerie up in case she becomes enmeshed in licentious Drones males at
golf or casino. Meanwhile Polly, 'Mustard"s pretty daughter, is engaged to
Rcky Gilpin, poet, boxer, nephew of the Duke of Dunstable. He needs £500 to
buy into an onion soup bar and marry Polly.
Sir Roderick won't come to Blandings. Lord Ickenham seizes his chance and
comes as Sir Roderick, and he brings Pongo as his secretary and Polly as
his own daughter. The idea is that Polly shall fascinate the Duke so that
he will provide the £500 for an onion soup bar and marriage. But Baxter
sees through the impersonations. For his pains, he gets orders to steal the
Empress for the Duke. He also gets, literally, egg on his face and a Mickey
Finn in his drink.
Uncle Fred Ickenham is in his element. He brings the right couples together
and a proper redistribution of other people's wealth. A masterly mix-up,
suavely sorted out.
This is our first and only close view of George Viscount Bosham, Lord
Emsworth's son and heir. He is, triumphantly, the most blithering idiot in
the whole rich Wodehouse canon.
Source: Richard Usborne. Plum Sauce. A P G Wodehouse Companion.