Money makes the world go round for Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge - and when there isn't enough of it, the world just has to spin a bit faster.
Ever on the lookout for a quick buck, a solid gold fortune, or at least a plausible little scrounge, the irrepressible Ukridge gives con men a bad name. Looking like an animated blob of mustard in his bright yellow raincoat, he invests time, passion and energy (but seldom actual cash) in a series of increasingly bizarre money-making schemes. Finance for a dog college? It's yours. Shares in an accident syndicate? Easily arranged. Promoting a kind-hearted heavyweight boxer? A snip.
Reviewed on 7th June 2012
Ukridge is a set of ten short-stories about the eponymous gentleman, told from the perspective of his close friend Corky. The titular character is an enthusiastic entrepreneur and borrower of cash, though his escapades rarely go to plan. Each story stands alone, but several form a loose continuing narrative.
In many ways this book reminded me of Richmal Crompton's Just William, which is similarly about a rascal's adventures in the form of short stories. I found reading this book a little awkward though - each story should ideally be read apart from its fellows, though the format of a novel does not encourage that, and in one sitting, though I found them slightly too long for that.
The stories are light, but I can't say I found them all that engaging - if anything they seemed to encourage me to rush ahead just to get to the end, and I found the episodic nature slightly unfulfilling when presented back-to-back.
Overall, I think this has to be labelled as mediocre. A pleasant pastime to dip into now and then, but insubstantial for those looking for a good read.