Scurrilous memoir eaten by pig
by Kelvin Smith
In P.G.Wodehouse’s Heavy Weather (1933) Lord Tilbury’s Mammoth Publishing Company has a contract to publish Hon. Galahad Threepwood’s reminiscences of an interesting life among the British upper classes. The manuscript is complete, but Gally suddenly returns his advance and informs the publisher that he no longer wants the scurrilous memoir to be published. Tilbury is determined to enforce his contract and vows to take possession of the manuscript by any means, because he has, as Monty Bodkin explains, “the serial rights and book rights and American rights and every other kind of rights, including the Scandinavian, and you know what a packet there is in any literary effort, that really dishes the dirt about the blue-gored. I should say, taking it one way and another, he stands to lose in the neighbourhood of twenty thousand quid if Gally sticks to his resolve not to publish“.
But he is not the only one who wants to get hold of the manuscript, as there are many reputations at stake if the book is published. The hilarious plot revolves about romance, misunderstanding and intrigue in Wodehouse’s familiar 1930s world, as many people attempt to take possession of the manuscript. The end is reached when the book is eaten by the Empress of Blandings, Lord Emsworth’s prize pig, and all ends happily.
The newly ennobled Lord Tilbury is a successful publisher of books, newspapers, society gossip magazines, Tiny Tots for children and a daily newspaper, The Daily Record. Interestingly, Heavy Weather was first published in the US where it was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post.
P.G.Wodehouse, Heavy Weather, 1933