29 JUNE 1918, Page 15


PICCADILLY JIM.t IN this ingenious extravaganza Mr. Wodehouse continues his studies of life in New York and London, but principally New York, with the same laudable impartiality and intimate knowledge of certain phases of society which ensure him an audience on both sides of the Atlantic. The sorrows of the baseball enthusiast., especially when he happens to be a millionaire, " compelled by fate to live three thousand miles away from the Polo Grounds, have been neglected in song," but Mr. Wodehouse has done his best to remedy the de- ficiency. This, however, is only one of the motives of his romance. American millionaires have other sorrows, when their wives are smitten with Anglomania, or the desire to achieve fame as novelists, or to keep a salon. Mr. Pert, a tyrant and autocrat in his office, was a mere nobody in his stately home, where there were six resident geniuses, and where, on the occasion of one of Mrs. Pett's reunions, " the air was clamorous with the hoarse cries of futurist painters, esoteric Buddhists, rens librc poets, interior decorators and stage • The League of Nations. By 'Viscount Grey of Fallodon. Oxford : at the unlvo. Nay Press. 13d. net.) t Piccadilly Jima. By I'. G. Weeltbetac. London: Herbert Jenkins. (Os. net.) reformers. . . . Men_ with new religions drank tea with women with new hats. Apostles of free love expounded their-doctrines to persons who had been practising them for years without realizing lt." The story is largely that of the slow revolt of the millionaire, culminating.in the attempt to carry into effect a plot to kidnap his own son,.a terrible bulbous, goggle-eyed boy whose precocity was only equalli3d by his greediness. But we have forgotten the hero, " Piccadilly Jim," Mr. Pett's nephew, a young. man who had painted. two capitals pink, but at the moment when we meet him was suddenly reformed by his love for a young lady whom he had grievously affronted, and by his affection for his father, whose chances of .an English peerage were menaced.by his son's outrageous career. Jimmy's past was indeed wild, but as• revealed in these pages he is a most-amusing " playboy," and his resourcefulness in conducting a courtship beset with difficulties is above prahte. As the story proceeds- the plot thickens, till it becomes positively inspissated ; there are moments when it almost attains the level of The,Wrong Box, for Mr. Wodehouse is- an artist -in his handling of nightmare-situations; and the convergence of the twoeonspiracies in the concluding. chaptersia most cleverly managed,. while Jimmy's last appeal to Ann. is a masterpiece of engaging effrontery.