Uncle Fred in the Springtime Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Uncle Fred in the Springtime

Uncle Fred impersonates a respected brain specialist to mend sundered hearts and help his nephew Pongo. Dapper optimist the Earl of Ickenham, better known as Uncle Fred, sets about mending the broken hearts that always seem to gravitate to Blandings Castle.
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Short on cash, Pongo Twistleton is determined to borrow £200 from his old friend Horace Pendlebury-Davenport, who is engaged to Pongo's sister Valerie. But Horace has worries of his own, Valerie has discovered that he hired private investigator Claude ‘Mustard' Pott to follow her while she was on holiday and has broken their engagement. He is in no mood to lend money to Pongo.

Meanwhile, Horace's uncle The Duke of Dunstable has come to Blandings Castle to visit with his secretary, The Efficient Baxter. This is bad news for the Castle's owner Lord Emsworth who used to employ Baxter and considered the man to be insane. Lord Emsworth's sister has always liked baxter but considers the Duke insane after he asks for eggs to throw at a gardener he heard whistling. Lord Emsworth is also concerned about the Duke as he appears to have designs on Lord Emsworth's prized pig, the Empress of Blandings, whom the Duke thinks is too fat. Without his brother Galahad to turn to for help, Lord Emsworth thinks of Galahad's friend, the Earl of Ickenham (Uncle Fred).

Pongo asks his Uncle Fred for £200 but Uncle Fred has not the money to lend., however he is keen to try and get Valerie and Horace back together which may make Horace more generous.

When Uncle Fred talks to Horace he discovers the young man is in more trouble. He has been taking dance lessons from Claude Pott's daughter Polly, without knowing she is engaged to his cousin Ricky Gilpin, who has a bit of a temper and is not happy. Uncle Fred agrees to ask Polly to talk down Ricky.

Uncle Fred recommends that Lord Emsworth hide the Empress until Dunstable is gone. He suggests Claude Pott may be able to help and they go to meet him but he refuses. Polly has now calmed her fiancée down over his anger at Horace. Polly is concerned that Ricky's uncle, Dunstable, will not approve of her and Uncle Fred wishes he could help.

At the instruction of Lady Constance, Lord Emsworth was supposed to bring the brain specialist Roderick Glossop to Blandings to observe the unstable Dunstable, but Lord Emsworth accidentally offends the man. Uncle Fred proposes he pretend to be Glossop and come to Blandings with Pongo and Polly masquerading as his secretary and daughter, so Polly can sweet talk Dunstable.

The party are met at Blandings station by Baxter, who unfortunately knows Uncle Fred to be an imposter. But Baxter has now been fired from Dunstable's employ after he lied about his whereabouts to attend a ball, as reported to Dunstable by Horace. Uncle Fred makes Dunstable believe Horace to be delusional and so Baxter is forgiven but is unable to tell his employer about Uncle Fred's deception as he would be fired again. But Baxter is not so easily thwarted. He tells Lady Constance what he knows and Lady Constance engages a detective to protect her jewels; Claude Pott.

Dunstable tries to enlist his nephew Ricky to help steal the Empress but in return Ricky wants his Uncle's approval for him to marry Polly, and money to start an onion soup bar. Dunstable refuses so Ricky will not help. Dunstable instead turns to Baxter

Pott wins a card game called Persian Monarchs and £250 off of Lord Emsworth's eldest son, Lord Bosham. Uncle Fred takes the money from Pott insisting that it will help Polly marry the rich Horace instead of the bad tempered Ricky. Uncle Fred actually gives the money to Pongo to pay his debts. But Ricky hears what Uncle Fred said to Pott and chases Horace from pub, the Emsworth Arms, back to Blandings.

Having followed some of Uncle Fred's advice Horace has mended his engagement to Valerie but he lied to her about Polly's appearance and unfortunately she will arrive at Blandings tomorrow. Meanwhile Ricky has split up with Polly, thinking she is involved with Horace. Uncle Fred sets Ricky straight and learns that Pongo tried to give Polly his £250 to help her marry Ricky. Polly refused but has now changed her mind, however Pongo has already sent the money off to settle his debts. Pott tries to win the money from Dunstable but ends up losing and Uncle Fred decides to steal it back by drugging Baxter, who is standing guard in Dunstable's room. But what Uncle Fred finds in the room is Lord Emsworth's stolen pig!

Valerie arrives and unmasks Uncle Fred in front of Lady Constance. Uncle Fred persuades everyone that he came to Blandings at the urging of Lord Emsworth who had fallen in love with Polly, an unsuitable infatuation from which he had since recovered. He also says that the family will need to pay Polly off. So Uncle Fred is able to give Polly the money she needs to be married and he heads off to spend some quality time with the reluctant Pongo.

Somewhat more rambling than the average Wodehouse book Uncle Fred in the Springtime is redeemed by its witty writing. Uncle Fred would turn up in three more Wodehouse novels, including another in the Blandings series, Service With a Smile. Roderick Glossop, the ‘looney doctor' will be familiar to Wodehouse lovers from several appearances in the Jeeves and Wooster series.
Best part of story, including ending: The quality of the writing and lightness of touch in the comedy is why you read.

Best scene in story: Uncle Fred discovering the stolen pig in the Duke of Dunstable's bathroom is chaotically hilarious.

Opinion about the main character: Uncle Fred is in some ways a poor man's Galahad Threepwood, who appears in many other Blandings stories, but his dedication to spreading 'sweetness and light' makes him very lovable.

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

Chapter Analysis of Uncle Fred in the Springtime

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   upbeat Time/era of story    -   1900-1920's Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Kind of romance:    -   matchmaking 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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P. G. Wodehouse Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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