It takes a lot of effort for Jimmy Crocker to become Piccadilly Jim - nights on the town roistering, headlines in the gossip columns, a string of broken hearts and breaches of promise. Eventually he becomes rather good at it and manages to go to pieces with his eyes open.
But no sooner has Jimmy cut a wild swathe through fashionable London than his terrifying Aunt Nesta decides he must mend his ways. He then falls in love with the girl he has hurt most of all, and after that things get complicated.
Reviewed on 18th January 2012
Piccadilly Jim is the first stand-alone novel by PG Wodehouse that I've read, and has impressed me a lot. Despite being set, and written, almost 100 years ago, the plot remains very approachable and the characters believable if a little dated.
When Jimmy Crocker's circumstances force him to have to impersonate himself, things can only get more confusing for him as he attempts to woo a beautiful redhead. Despite the complexity of the plot that rivals Shakespeare for characters pretending to be others, the narrative is easy for the reader to follow, though explaining the humour to someone who hasn't read the book will just tie you up in knots.
The book is set partly in London but mostly in New York, and Wodehouse manages to draw a vivid picture of the charactes who reside in each. It is certainly from the characters rather than the situations that the real humour flows, and Jimmy's suave lines are particularly memorable.
I'm amazed at how well this book has survived the test of time, and am certainly going to read more of Wodehouse's output off the back of it.