Somewhere I’m sure I read The Inimitable Jeeves labeled as a novel. If it is, then it’s a novel in the sense that it’s a book of fiction, not “a sustained work of prose fiction a volume or more in length” as my encyclopedia would have it. This book is close to a collection of short stories, one per chapter, all being somewhat related. It is Wodehouse’s first book on Bertram Wooster and his valet, Jeeves. It was published in 1923. The characters had been introduced in a 1917 story, “Extricating Young Gussie,” from the book, The Man with Two Left Feet

In The Inimitable Jeeves, Bertie spends most of his and Jeeves’ time saving an old school chum, Bingo Little, from nuptial disaster. Bingo has the unfortunate habit of falling in love with every other woman he meets. A few of them are worth his affection, but their merits do not outweigh Bingo’s idiocy or the schemes of ne’er-do-wells who find him an obstacle to their plans.

“If there’s one thing I like,” Bertie says, “it’s a quiet life.” But he doesn’t get it by plotting to impress the wrong girls, betting on the length of sermons, or hosting his Oxford-enrolled cousins during their holiday. How many cats can fit in the guest room of a London flat? You’ll find out in this hilarious book. Two of the stories had me laughing too hard to read.