A collection of twenty-five stories by PG Wodehouse an early-maturing comic talent with flashes of brilliance which foreshadow the later adventures of Ukridge, Bingo Little and Bertie Wooster.
The stories in this collection reflect Wodehouse’s own happy schooldays at Dulwich College but they also do a good deal more. Although among his earliest attempts at fiction they give fascinating glimpses of a time when motor cars were novelties, schoolmasters wore mortar boards and gowns, and America was a rising power in the world.
The best of them display the author’s love of games and knack for neat plotting. In one, a resourceful teenaged heroine helps a truant schoolboy cricketer by marooning his credulous schoolmaster at the top of a church tower until the match is over. Another describes a boy escaping from the scene of his crime by a passing car, only to be caught out by a last-minute revelation. Several Sherlock Holmes parodies read as what they are – high-spirited experiments – but the longer stories delve deeper into character: together, they recreate a vanished world of school shops, fagging, Latin prep and hearty teas.