Charlie Yost, the Chicago gunman, called on Horace Appleby one morning in June as he chatted with Basher Evans before going off to the Wellingford races.
–P.G. Wodehouse - Do butlers burgle banks? - c. 1968 - pg. 5
Read originally 19/07/2010. Reread June 2014
On my reread I enjoyed it just as much as the first time round, if not more. Wodehouse has that wonderful way of poking fun of people but somehow managing to do it without any nastiness.
Original review below
Horace Appleby is a criminal, specialising in “inside jobs”, his modus operandi is to secure the position of butler in a respectably well-off establishment and then arrange the details whereby his companions carry out the actual burglary. But he is not too happy with the American, Mr. Yost, and Yost’s blatant disregard for Appleby’s most important rule, never carry a gun. So he refuses to pay Yost his cut, as you can imagine, Yost is not too happy about this. Not wanting to overly provoke a man who carries a gun Appleby things that maybe a job down the country might be just the thing.Can you believe that I’ve gotten this far in life without reading anything by P.G. Wodehouse? And indeed may have continued on in such ignorance if I hadn’t picked up Do butlers burgle banks? on a pure whim. I’m very glad that I did, because this is just such an enjoyable experience. I loved all the characters, and the writing is just perfect!
Okay, so it isn’t the most serious of plots, the criminals here are not the hardened sort, and the idea of robbing a bank in order to save it may not work in real life, but that doesn’t matter. It works in the book. And the characters, while in many ways stock characters are not cardboard cut-outs, all of them, from the overbearing aunt to the plodding “country copper” have that something about them that just make them entertaining. And the dialogue… I as very much reminded of some Georgetter Heyer books as I read this. Although set in very different times I suppose they are concerned with the same social circle, but it is more the fact that the dialogue just works so well.