Henry Paradene could sell Ashby Hall if anybody would buy it. But he isn't
allowed, by the entail, to sell a rare French eighteenth-century
paperweight, an heirloom, which Mr Stickney covets. Henry's pretty niece is
engaged to interior decorator, silky moustached Lionel Green
and when Bill Hardy (who looks like a plug-ugly gangster
until he smiles, and who wants to chuck his job and write thrillers in a
country cottage somewhere) comes along, you know he'll get Jane in the end,
if the end hasn't dropped off. He rescues a cat up an elm in Valley Fields
(we're back to Ice in the Bedroom yet again) and he gets into Ashby Hall by
impersonating the Duff and Trotter bailiff.
There are some good items, verbal 'nifties' and incidentals. 'Bill' Hardy's
real name is Thomas. As he can't use Thomas Hardy on the spines of his
books, he calls himself Adela Bristow, hoping this might sound, to a
bookseller, like 'Agatha Christie' and make him stock up with a lot.
Otherwise it's deckchairs on the lawn, swims in the lake, gazing at a
girl's bedroom window in the moonlight, going up to London to hire an
instant valet, going for a walk 'to think' and going to a bedroom to search
it. Even though Lionel Green is a stinker and breaks his engagement to Jane
(she is delighted, but no gentleman breaks an engagement), it is good news
that he may marry the daughter of an American millionaire client of his
shop, Tarvin and Green.
Source: Richard Usborne. Plum Sauce. A P G Wodehouse Companion.