Psmith and Mike end up in New York, playing cricket, writing about social inequality, ruffling gangsters' feathers, and getting their way. This is yet another book following the amusing and gentlemanly pair of British dandies, Psmith and Mike Jackson.
Click here to see the rest of this review
Mike is a successful cricketer, and as part of his tour he and Psmith go to New York City. In New York Psmith and Mike meet Billy Windsor (the acting editor of a magazine while its real editor, Wilberfloss, is on sick leave) in a restaurant, when Psmith rescues an escaped cat that Billy Windsor was keeping an eye on at the restaurant for the sake of Pugsy, the office boy who adopted the cat. Psmith, believing he can improve Billy Windsor's magazine, volunteers himself for unpaid services as an editor. Psmith aims to make poverty in America a central feature in the magazine, but later on when he meets a famous boxer named Kid Brady, he helps the boxer use the magazine and the publicity it brings to re-start his life and career.
Psmith's attempts at social justice arouse the ire of New York landlords, especially tenement owners, and gang leader. On the other hand, the boxer Kid Brady's career is revived and restored by the magazine's coverage. But the magazine's sales are affected as the powerful interests in New York - mainly the gangs and gang leaders such as Bat Jarvis - seek to ends its success because of the damage it does to them. Pugsy (he who rescues cats), informs Psmith of a racially charged gang altercation that took place a day earlier in a dance hall and the resulting gang fight leaves the magazine unmolested for a time, while Psmith and Billy Windsor meet with a tenement rent collector who tells them city government candidate Mr Waring is responsible for the damages in sales to the magazine.
The next day, both Psmith and Billy Windsor are arrested on trumped up gambling charges and they realize that the gangs are using the police as another way to stall production of the harmful (to them) magazine. Psmith gets off but Windsor is imprisoned for a month and Kid Brady has to disappear for boxing fights, and so Psmith has no choice but to turn to Bat Jarvis, buttering him up by having his friend Mike Jackson pretend to love cats the way Bat Jarvis does, and it ends up with the magazine's headquarters being guarded by Jarvis' men. The gangs attempt to get around this by distracting Jarvis' mean and almost manage to successfully kidnap Psmith, except that they try to do it in front of an exercising Kid Brady, who rescues Psmith before any damage is done. Wilberfloss arrives back from sick leave just in time to take over editing the magazine, but cannot argue with Psmith's changes to the magazine because Psmith ends up buying the magazine. Instead, Wilberfloss is forced to continue to hire Billy Windsor, and Waring (who was behind the kidnapping) is blackmailed into paying money to improve the tenement conditions in the property he owns, and the social justice changes to the magazine that Psmith introduced become permanent. All ends well, with the magazine earning a profit, Brady's boxing career taking off well, the influence of the gangs much decreased with lost political capital, and Psmith back home in his native London with his friend Mike, who is very satisfied with his cricketing tour.
Best part of story, including ending:
I enjoyed seeing Wodehouse tackle social commentary outside of satirizing the upper classes.
Best scene in story:
The scene in which Mike and Psmith are told by a shady underworld character that there is a large price on their head and they are lucky that Bat Jarvis turned it down because they returned his cat to him. It's just a random and hilarious scene, which would never happen in real life.
Opinion about the main character:
Psmith is very smooth and suave, I like that.