Psmith falls in love, while a plot to steal valuable jewels in underfoot by Psmith and his friends who are desperate for money, but in the end no theft is necessary and there are marriages, job offers, and happy endings all around. Leave It to Psmith is the second Wodehouse novel set at the famous Blandings Castle setting. As the last novel featuring the character Psmith, it is also quite a well known novel in its own right.
Psmith's father has just died and was revealed to be bankrupt at death - not a good situation for Psmith, who needs to find a way to make money, or his friend the cricketer Mike Jackson, who is recently married to Phyllis Keeble and had counted on a job as Psmith's father's estate manager to support him and his wife. Mike's wife, Phyllis, happens to be the niece of Lord Emsworth of Blandings - her mother is Lady Constance Keeble and her cousin is the amoral and unemployed Freddie Threepwood, with whom Psmith is already acquainted.
Psmith and Mike are not the only ones strapped for cash. Freddie Threepwood is cut from his allowance yet again and hatches a plan to steal his aunt Constance Keeble's diamond necklace. Lady Constance Keeble is currently a guest at Blandings Castle, and the castle expects two more guests in the near future: two poets named Ralph McTodd and Aileen Peavey. Ralph McTodd ha recently left his girlfriend Cynthia, who is friends with Freddie Threepwood. Both Freddie and his cousin Phyllis are also friends with a feisty young woman named Eve Halliday, who eventually catches the eye of Psmith when she is seeking shelter from the rain one evening in London. Eager to see more of the pretty Eve and also partake in Freddie's necklace-stealing scheme in order to raise money, Psmith steals Ralph McTodd's place before he arrives at Blandings and meets Emsworth, and basically impersonates Ralph at the castle. But the real Ralph sends a telegram to cancel his visit and only the Blandings butler Beach knows this, so he quietly is suspicious of Psmith. Meanwhile, the other poet, Aileen Peavey, is secretly a thief herself, and plans to steal the necklace with the aid of an accomplice. Psmith, while impersonating Ralph, begins simultaneously wooing Eve and plotting his own theft of the necklace - and he brings Eve in to help.
The theft is planned the evening that Psmith reads poetry in the drawing room to the assembled company. Aileen Peavey's accomplice shuts off the power and turns off the lights and in that moment Aileen makes a grab for the necklace, but it slips out of her grasp and out the window, where Eve catches it and hides it in a flowerpot. However, when Eve later attempts to retrieve the flowerpot, it vanishes. She eventually finds it at Psmith's cottage, but without the necklace. It was taken by Aileen Peavey and her accomplice, who tracked it to Psmith's cottage. At that moment Psmith arrives and, after a tussle with her accomplice, gets the necklace back from Peavey and returns it to Keeble after remembering his friendship with Keeble's daughter and her husband, Mike. In a fit of gratitude for getting the necklace returned, Keeble ends up helping everyone: Mike is able to buy profitable agricultural land, Freddie gets funds to start his own business, and Psmith becomes Emsworth's new secretary, as well as the fiancé of Eve.
Best part of story, including ending:
I loved every scene in which Baxter, Emsworth's secretary, appeared. He's so quiet and reserved, but clearly has control over the situation.
Best scene in story:
The bizarre and hilariously incompetent actual theft scene when the lights go off, everyone scrambles, and the necklace gets tossed out of the window and stuck in a flower pot. It's like watching children play a game.
Opinion about the main character:
I love Psmith's resourcefulness, wit, and smooth, suave manner.
Gentleman jack-of-all-trades Psmith tries to win the girl of his heart whilst stealing a diamond necklace. Debonair man-about-town Ronald Eustace Psmith seeks to unravel the tangled affairs of Blandings Castle and win the girl of his dreams by subterfuge theft and whatever else is necessary. All is not well at Blandings Castle, the Lord Emsworth, who would rather spend his days pottering around garden is being forced by his sister Lady Constance Keeble to travel to London to meet the poet Ralston McTodd and bring him to Blandings. Lady Constance enjoys bringing artists to the Castle and another poet Aileen Peavey is already at Blandings, to the irritation of Lord Emsworth. Elsewhere in the Castle, Constance's husband Joseph wants to lend his stepdaughter Phyllis £3000 to buy a farm with her husband Mike, but the only way he can get the money is from his wife who will not hear of it. The answer comes from Lord Emsworth's son, Freddie Threepwood, who suggests stealing Lady's Constance's valuable necklace and selling it. Joseph likes the idea but has not the nerve to do the theft himself and in the heat of the moment Freddie volunteers. On reflection Freddie decides against stealing the necklace himself, but spots an advert in the paper ‘LEAVE IT TO PSMITH' offering the service of R. Psmith to do pretty much anything. In London Phyllis meets with her old friens Eve Halliday and learns that their mutual friend Cynthia McTodd has been deserted by her husband the poet. Eve has been asked to catalogue the library at Blandings and had intended to refuse the job since Freddie has a crush on her which she does not reciprocate, but on hearing of Phyllis's money troubles Eve decides to take the job so she can help Phyllis when she asks again for the £3000. Psmith meets Eve by chance when he sees her standing in the rain near the Drones Club and gives her an umbrella. Then Psmith meets with Freddie and accepts the job of stealing the necklace but Freddie, rushing to catch a train omits to tell Psmith where to go. Meanwhile, Lord Emsworth's meeting with Ralston McTodd has gone badly, he has bored the poet with his talk of flowers and when Lord Emsworth leaves him to look round a flower shop, McTodd storms off, just as Psmith sits down. When Lord Emsworth comes back he mistakes Psmith for McTodd (Lord Emsworth has lost his glasses and notices very little at the best of times). Psmith does nothing to correct Lord Emsworth and then, when he sees the Earl talking to Eve Halliday, Psmith decides to keep pretending to be McTodd so he can go to Blandings. By the time Psmith arrives the real McTodd has telegrammed to cancel his visit. Psmith talks his way out of this but he has aroused the suspicions of Lord Emsworth's secretary, the Efficient Baxter. Freddie is surprised to see Psmith but haoppy enough for him to continue with their plan. Meanwhile, Psmith starts trying to get closer to Eve, who likes him despite thinking that he is married to (and abandoned) her friend Cynthia. Psmith's position at the Castle becomes even riskier when another man turns up at the Castle claiming to be McTodd, fortunately Psmith, knowing that this is not the real McTodd, confronts the man. The man admits his name is Cootes and he too is trying to steal the necklace. It later turns out that Aileen Peavey is also an imposter and is Cootes' accomplice, named Smooth Lizzie. Cootes blackmails Psmith into getting him into the castle masquerading as Psmith's valet. Cootes and Lizzie snatch Lady's Constance's necklace by turning off the lights during a poetry recital by Psmith then throwing it out the window to collect later. Unfortunately for them the necklace falls at the feet of Eve, who had already agreed to help Joseph Keeble in the theft of his wife's necklace. She hides the necklace in a flower pot for later. But when she goes to collect it after dark she is followed by the Efficient Baxter and has to hide. Eve gets back in but Baxter is caught outside in his pyjamas. He tries to wake someone by throwing flowerpots at the window, causing Lord Emsworth to think is secretary is insane. When Eve gets back to her flowerpot the necklace is gone and she gets Freddie to help her look for it in an elderly cottage near where she stashed the flowerpot. Psmith tells Eve the truth about who he is and joins the search for the necklace but it has been taken by Cootes and Lizzie who now confront Eve and Psmith with a gun. But at the vital moment Freddie, who has been searching upstairs, stands on a dilapidated part of the floor and his leg comes through the celing, distracting Cootes and enabling Psmith to take his gun. Cootes and Lizzie hand over the necklace which Psmith passes on to Freddie and Joseph as planned. Phyllis and Mike get their farm, Psmith and Eve get married and Psmith replaces the Efficient Baxter as Lord Emsworth's secretary.
Although this was the fourth (and last) book to feature Psmith it is only the second of the Blandings Castle books (Wodehouse's characters occupy an interchangeable world). The story is typically complex and is always wonderfully funny.
Best part of story, including ending:
Both the prose and dialogue are endlessly, joyously funny.
Best scene in story:
The Efficient Baxter is locked outside in his lemon yellow pyjamas and first tries to wake someone by throwing pebbles at a window. When this fails he moves onto flower pots.
Opinion about the main character:
Psmith takes everything in his stride and is equally charming and polite with everyone, even when they have a gun trained on him.