Something Fresh

Something Fresh is the first book of the Blandings Castle series, written by P. G. Wodehouse and published in 1915.


The novel begins with Ashe Marson, a young writer for the Mammoth publishing house, the creator of the popular Gridley Quayle detective novels, doing his daily exercises, while a girl, Joan Valentine, that is living in the same apartment building watches and laughs at him.

This way, Ashe meets her, finds that she's working for the same publishing house and is encouraged to take any opportunity that might arise from the ads in the newspaper.

In the meantime, we find out that Frederick Threepwood, the younger son of the 9th Earl of Emsworth, is going to get married to Aline Peters, the daughter of an American millionaire.

Freddie goes to certain R. Jones and pays him 500 pounds to "recover" some letters he sent in the past to a certain girl, feeling they might be dangerous in her hands and embarrass him.

Clarence Threepwood, the 9th Earl of Emsworth meets J. Preston Peters, the bride's father, a passionate collectionist of Egyptian scarabs, showing him the most precious piece of his collection: a 4th dynasty Keops. Mr. Peters gets called on the phone and the absent-minded Earl forgets what the scarab really was and puts it in his pocket.

Aline Peters meets in a restaurant with George Emerson, a Hong Kong policeman and old friend of her that wishes to marry her and tells her that he was also invited by Freddie to come to Blandings Castle.

Mr Peters discovers the disappearance of his scarab and suspects the Earl, but he cannot say this to him as it could endanger his daughter's marriage. The Earl has already forgotten everything that happened, and thinks the scarab was a gift of Mr Peters.

R. Jones finds the address of Freddie's ex-sweetheart, Joan Valentine, and the answer to the question whether she kept any letters was no. But Aline was also a close friend of Joan, so she gets to her just after Jones leaves, thus allowing him to listen at the door their conversation, about Aline's father that would give 1,000 pounds to anybody that can bring back his scarab. Joan decides that she wants to go herself to Blandings Castle as Aline's maid and recover the scarab and get the reward.

Ashe follows Joan's advice and reads the ads in the newspaper, one of them that is said to be "dangerous" catches Ashe's attention. It was Mr. Peters that wanted somebody to go as his personal butler and steal the scarab, and Ashe was chosen to do this job.

Ashe tells Joan about this and they both go with the train toward the Blandings Castle. Joan tries during the trip to scare Ashe telling him that butlers' highly complicated etiquette will make him fail, but without any luck.

After their arrival, Ashe has to listen to Beech the Butler's wailing, without the choice of changing the subject, as that might expose his lack of knowledge in serving. When he finally gets rid of him, meets Baxter, the Earl's personal assistant, on the way to Mr Peters' room. There he finds that Mr Peters has problems with his stomach and is made by Ashe to exercise and stop smoking cigars.

At night, Ashe meets Joan while both were trying to sneak and steal the scarab, and as Baxter heard them, Joan runs while Ashe has the excuse of having to read to Mr Peters, as he cannot sleep.

In the morning, Ashe and Joan decide to become allies and, after flipping a coin, that the first try to steal the scarab will be Ashe's. Baxter decides to guard each night the "museum" in which the scarab is displayed and, while everyone is getting bored at Blandings Castle, George Emerson is continuing his quest of convincing Aline of not marrying Freddie.

Aline was following the same diet of her father, composed mainly of legumes and George felt that she was suffering from malnutrition, so he pitied her and decided to go to buy something from the town (as the pantry was hard to find in that large castle) and bring it to her room at night.

But in the same night, Ashe tries to steal the scarab and Baxter was watching. Firstly, Ashe and George collide in the dark hall of the castle and start a fight that creates a lot of noise. Baxter hears it and tries to go to where the sound originated, but then Ashe and George run, leaving the disaster of broken things to Baxter, that almost got shot by the Earl and got blamed for waking everyone.

The next night ought to be Joan's try, but the scarab is already gone by the time she gets to it. The following morning, using intuition and deduction, Ashe finds that it was Freddie that needed money to pay R. Jones for the letters to Joan; this version is then confirmed by Freddie, and Ashe gets the scarab and gives it to the rightful owner, Mr Peters.

George Emerson has to go to Hong Kong, as his substitute got ill. Aline decides to leave Freddie and go with him.

Ashe and Joan decide to get married as they found that they love each other.

The novel ends when the Earl tell his son, Freddie, that he allows him to return to London, but ask him not to make a fool of himself again.


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