Pigs Have Wings
Penguin. First Published 1952.
I re-read another Wodehouse, mainly because I have not bought any new books in a while. This is from his brilliant period. It is a Blandings Castle story, with a much loved and much expected cast - impostors, pigs, pigmen, Galahad, Beach, Lord Emsworth, a pretty, spirited 'heroine', an impecunious, pleasant 'hero', and the 'villain' of the piece, Lady Constance. Some of the action I most eagerly looked forward to unfortunately takes place off stage - e.g. Galahad talking to Connie like a 'Dutch Uncle' (in response to which she is stated to have come right back at him talking like a 'Dutch Aunt'!). But despite this sign of the declining powers of Wodehouse, it is a lovely book, and set me laughing out aloud several times. The characters are all shown to be essentially good-natured, even if sometimes a bit silly - like 95% of Wodehouse characters. Thus Gloria Salt, a girl who looks like a 'snake with hips', is introduced to us as a strong, imperious woman who is engaged to the hero, and then breaks up with him. But she turns out to be quite a nice girl, helping the hero in his love affair. Vera Upshaw, in 'The Girl in Blue' has a similar strong character, except that she is shown till the end as a gold-digger who very properly gets her comeuppance. A truly bad character. There are no similar truly bad characters in the books of PGW's golden period (except maybe one or two - Percy Pilbeam comes to the mind), including Pigs Have Wings. There are so many nifties, and on every page, that it's difficult to pick any to quote here. I bought the book in 1983, I must have read it about 5 times. And even though the pages are falling apart, I shall probably be able to read it a few times more. A total of about 50 hours of good fun. Not bad for a book that cost me Rs 30/-.
Some of PGW's books, including this one, and particularly the Code of the Woosters, are associated in my mind with the taste of Peanut Butter - probably because I read them first (in Bombay, about 1965) at the same time as I was introduced to Peanut Butter sandwiches, and used to gorge myself on them in the afternoons in Deonar, after I got back from school.