In this sequel to Summer Lightning the love lives of Blandings Castle's inhabitants once again depend on the scandalous memoirs of Galahad Threepwood. The Honourable Galahad Threepwood tries to safeguard the marriage of his nephew Ronnie Fish to Sue Brown by ensuring that his scandalous memoirs do not reach the market.
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Publisher Lord Tilbury is horrified to learn that Galahad Threepwood of Blandings Castle no longer plans to publish his memoirs, which would have made Tilbury a fortune. Galahad has struck a deal with his sister Lady Constance not to publish the memoirs in return for her allowing their nephew Ronnie to marry chorus girl Sue.
Lord Tilbury's other problem is more easily solved, he fires an incompetent young man in his employ; Monty Bodkin, nephew to Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe who lives next door to Blandings Castle. Losing a job hardly matters financially to Monty but his girlfriend Gertrude Butterwick's father insists he cannot marry Gertrude unless he can keep a job for a year. But a solution quickly presents itself when Monty has lunch with Hugo Carmody, ex-secretary to Lord Emsworth, owner of Blandings Castle. Monty decides to apply to be Lord Emsworth's next secretary. He also learns that his old friend Sue Brown is at the Castle but Hugo warns him to be careful as her fiancée Ronnie is very jealous.
At Blandings Lord Emsworth steps up security on his prize-winning pig, the Empress of Blandings, telling his pig-man Pirbright to be on the look-out for thieves. Lord Emsworth is horrified to learn that his sister Constance has hired Monty as his secretary, since Monty is the nephew of the man whom he is convinced stole his pig recently, Parsloe. He confides his suspicions to his brother Galahad who knows Monty and considers him above pig theft.
Sue travels to London to have lunch with Monty, keeping it secret from the jealous Ronnie, but on the train back they bump into Ronnie's mother, Lady Julia. They pretend not to know each other but Lady Julia saw them at lunch and is now suspicious. She tells Ronnie who immediately becomes jealous of Monty.
When Julia learns of the deal made to stop Galahad's memoirs she is incensed that her son will end up married to a chorus girl just to protect a few reputations. She resolves to try and stop the marriage. Realising that this would mean that Galahad could publish, Lady Constance teams up with Parsloe (who features in the memoirs) to try and steal the book. They hire private investigator Percy Pilbeam to do the dirty work.
Lord Tilbury also comes to Blandings in search of the memoirs but Galahad refuses to hand them over. On his way out Tilbury, a pig lover, stops at the Empress's sty and is unexpectedly locked up by Pirbright, who has mistaken him for a pig thief. He is released by Monty and on finding his former employee at Blandings Tilbury gets an idea. He offers Monty his job back if he will steal the memoirs.
Meanwhile, Pilbeam has made his first attempt to steal the memoirs but was stopped by the faithful butler Beach. When Beach warns Galahad, the latter asks Beach to personally guard the book. Beach is not happy about this, and is considerably less happy as he learns how many are trying to get their hands on the memoirs. After one close call he suggests to Galahad that Ronnie might be a better custodian and Galahad agrees. Ronnie takes the book.
Ronnie is in deep depression about Monty and Sue, whom he is still sure are in love behind his back. A misunderstanding over a tattoo leads to Ronnie breaking his engagement with Sue. Then when Monty asks for Ronnie's help stealing the memoirs to help him win a girl, Ronnie assumes the girl to be Sue, and in anger hands the book over.
Finding Sue upset, Galahad confronts Ronnie who finally learns the truth. Sue forgives Ronnie but the wedding remains in jeopardy as Ronnie gave the book away.
Meanwhile, Pilbeam has tricked Monty into revealing where he has hidden the memoirs, steals it himself and hides it in a shed. He will sell to either Tilbury or Constance and Parsloe, whoever will pay the most. He also gets Monty fired by telling Lord Emsworth who released Lord Tilbury. When Pilbeam meets with Lady Constance she is rude to him and Pilbeam tells her he has the book but will now only sell to Tilbury, guaranteeing that it will be published.
Pilbeam now learns that Lord Emsworth has moved the Empress to foil thieves. He has moved her to the shed where Pilbeam hid the memoirs. By the time he arrives the Empress has consumed most of the book.
Pilbeam lies to Lord Tilbury, telling him the memoirs are safely hidden in the sty and getting a cheque out of him for the information. But they are overheard by Monty who, when Lord Tilbury has gone, takes the cheque from Pilbeam and tears it up. He then phones Lord Emsworth and tells him a man is coming to steal his pig. Monty then pays Pilbeam £1000 to employ him in his detective agency for a year, fulfilling the terms of his prospective father-in-law.
Without the memoirs Galahad can no longer blackmail his family into allowing Ronnie to marry Sue but Sue and Ronnie have taken matters into their own hands. They will marry with or without the family money and have kidnapped the Empress to ‘urge' Lord Emsworth into standing up to his sisters and giving Ronnie some money anyway, which Lord Emsworth does.
This is the only direct sequel in the Blandings series, following on directly from Summer Lightning with most of the same characters and once again dealing predominantly with Galahad Threepwood's memoirs. The book works as a stand alone novel but is best read with knowledge of the first book.
Best part of story, including ending:
As always with Wodehouse it is the wonderfully funny prose and dialogue that makes it.
Best scene in story:
Galahad facing down his sisters Constance and Julia with threats of terrible stories in his unpublished memoirs, is a very funny scene.
Opinion about the main character:
Galahad is an older man who not only remembers his youth but enjoys the youth of others and is always there to assist young love.