A Pelican at Blandings Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Pelican at Blandings

The Honourable Galahad Threepwood steps in to help his brother when his castle home is descended on by matchmakers and art thieves. Galahad Threepwood is called upon once again to rescue his brother Lord Emsworth from the dukes, sisters and assorted art thieves at Blandings Castle.
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For once all is peaceful at Blandings Castle for Lord Emsworth, his sister Constance now lives in New York with her husband and his other meddlesome sisters seldom visit. The one guest he has to tolerate, a friend of his son's named Howard Chesney, is easy to avoid for a practiced bad host like Lord Emsworth. That peace however is shattered by the unexpected arrival of Constance. The arrival is made marginally better by Constance bringing her friend Vanessa Polk, whom Lord Emsworth rather takes to, but is made much worse again when Constance mentions that Emsworth's old nemesis, the Duke of Dunstable, will be arriving shortly with his niece Linda Gilpin. Lord Emsworth does the only thing he can do; phone his brother Galahad for help.
In London Galahad is visited by his godson, lawyer Johnny Halliday, who informs Galahad that he is engaged to Linda. It also proves that Dunstable recently purchased a very expensive painting from the gallery Johnny co-owns.
Having received his brother's cry for help, Galahad gets a train to Blandings, on which he bumps into Dunstable and learns that the Duke plans to sell his painting to American millionaire Wilbur J. Trout, whom he overheard at the gallery saying he would pay anything for it. Dunstable invites Trout to Blandings without asking.
Despite the Duke's faux pas, Constance is trying to get Dunstable and Vanessa together and he shows considerable interest on learning her father is a millionaire.
Linda tells Galahad her engagement to Johnny is off. Galahad confides this to his brother but Lord Emsworth is more worried about his prize pig, the Empress of Blandings refusing to eat a potato. Galahad learns the reason for the break when Johnny phones. Johnny had to cross-examine Linda in court and went very hard on her. Galahad promises to try and help.
It turns out that Vanessa Polk was once engaged to Wilbur Trout and is quite interested to learn that he will soon be arriving at Blandings. When Trout arrives, Vanessa meets him and learns of Dunstable's underhand behaviour concerning the painting. She suggests stealing it.
In London, Johnny learns that the painting he sold Dunstable is a fake. He has the original but if he tells the Duke what happened then his gallery's reputation will be mud. Naturally he goes to Galahad for help. At Galahad's suggestion Johnny comes to Blandings, staying at the local pub. He and Galahad meet that night so they can swap fake for original. All goes well and Galahad gets the picture indoors unseen, but unknowingly locks out his brother who has been to visit the Empress. He is forced to climb in through Dunstable's bedroom window, reinforcing the Duke's belief that Emsworth is insane. This belief is reinforced once more when Lord Emsworth wakes Dunstable later that night to tell him his picture has been stolen, but when they reach the portrait gallery it is hanging there, Galahad now having hung the original.
Duntable wants to call in brain specialist Sir Roderick Glossop to look at Lord Emsworth. Galahad says that Glossop is in America but his junior partner is available; Johnny Halliday.
Vanessa, recognizing Howard Chesney as a crook, enlists him to help with the theft of the painting. But Chesney encounters a problem when he recognises Johnny as his lawyer last time he was in court, he goes to hide in his bedroom. But on his way he sees Johnny at the top of the stairs and decides to push him down. Johnny is seen falling down the stairs by Linda who immediately rushes to help him and the pair are reunited. Unfortunately, on his way down the stairs, Johnny took out Dunstable who will now not consent to the marriage.
Meanwhile, Constance, who has always thought Johnny too young to be a psychiatrist, calls Glossop's office and discovers Johnny to be an imposter. She has him thrown out.
Galahad has also discovered an imposter; Vanessa Polk. It is her real name but she is not daughter of J. B. Polk, noted millionaire. Galahad promises not tell anyone but Vanessa still moves up her plans to steal the painting. While waiting for Chesney to help with the theft, Vanessa and Wilbur realize they still love each other. They abandon the painting, which Wilbur only wanted because it reminded him of his favourite ex-wife, and head for London to marry.
Learning that Vanessa has gone and fearful of losing the chance to marry money, Dunstable writes a letter of proposal to her. Galahad however intercepts the letter and tells Dunstable who Vanessa really is, more importantly that she is poor. He threatens to send the letter unless Dunstable allows Linda and Johnny to marry. Afraid of a breach of promise suit, the Duke concedes.
Dunstable and Connie leave and Lord Emsworth is in peace once more.
Best part of story, including ending: Although lighter on romantic plotlines than most of the Blandings stories this is one of the most intricately plotted and a joy to read.

Best scene in story: Trapped outside at night, Lord Emsworth gets back into Blandings Castle by breaking into the bedroom of the Duke of Dunstable, who already thinks Emsworth is insane. A very funny scene.

Opinion about the main character: Galahad Threepwood is sharp witted, optimistic, good hearted, and yet wholly unburdened with scruples.

The review of this Book prepared by Robin Bailes a Level 3 Eurasian Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of A Pelican at Blandings

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   upbeat Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Kind of romance:    -   fighting matchbreaker (parents/authorities) Crime & Police story    -   Yes Story of    -   conman stealing/fraud Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   unemployed Age:    -   60's-90's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   5 () Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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