Another impecunious widower earl (of Shortlands, family name Cobbold) with
a money-eating stately home, Beevor Castle. His ambition is to raise £200
somehow, marry Mrs Punter his cook and buy her the pub on which she
insists. He has three daughters, two bossy, one nice. One of the bossy
daughters, Adela, is married to a very rich American, Desborough Topping.
But they have a joint bank account and Adela is in charge of it, so her
father gets no £200 from her. Ellery Cobbold is another very rich American,
distantly related. His son Stanwood has fallen for a Hollywood star, Eileen
Stoker. To distance Stanwood from Eileen, Ellery sends him over to England
where, as it happens, Eileen Stoker has just arrived to make two pictures.
Sent over by Ellery Cobbold to keep an eye on his son is manservant
Augustus Robb, cockney ex-burglar, 'saved' by attending a revivalist
meeting. He is a snob and a Bible quoter.
Lord Shortlands looks like a butler. His butler, Spink, looks like an earl,
and is also courting Mrs Punter. The question is, which suitor will first
get the £200 for the pub? Courting Lord Shortlands's nice daughter Terry
(Lady Teresa Cobbold) is American Mike Cardinal, very good-looking,
prosperous Hollywood agent and a good natural buzzer. Terry, having once
been in love with, and let down by, a very good-looking musical comedy
juvenile lead, refuses very good-looking Mike for that reason. But Mike
gets involved in a fracas with drunk ex-burglar Robb and his face, much
bashed about, then looks very good to Terry. Spink gets Mrs Punter.
Stanwood gets Eileen Stoker. Mike takes Terry and her father to Hollywood,
the latter to play in butler roles.
The novel splits obviously into three acts and must have been a play script
on its way to hard-back print. Once again Wodehouse uses the rich man's
joint bank account with a dominant wife for sour comedy. Once again he
makes the hero ugly, by force this time.
Source: Richard Usborne. Plum Sauce. A P G Wodehouse Companion.