This is really a placeholder for the platonic ideal of the Jeeves story, because I can’t realistically be expected to choose. Wodehouse is fun to read and even more fun to read aloud, ideally to your partner whilst doing the voices. I advise starting with this one – Bertie Wooster has to babysit an Aberdeen terrier, provide lunch for an American theatre impresario and avoid upsetting his Aunt Agatha, all in the space of one day. Any number of funny voices are required.
First published in The Strand Magazine, 1929 as “Jeeves and the Dog McIntosh”. Collected in Very Good, Jeeves,Herbert Jenkins, 1930. Currently findable in The World of Jeeves, Arrow, 2008
In the sad days before Bertie Wooster’s chum Bingo Little found wedded bliss in the arms of the romantic novelist Rosie M Banks, he sought high and low for love, including an infatuation with would-be revolutionary Charlotte Corday Rowbotham. Before long, Bingo finds himself an entryist to the Heralds of the Red Dawn, a group committed to the overthrow of the aristocracy and to ushering tumbrils along the streets of Mayfair. The story contains an important life lesson: if emotional fulfilment requires you to disguise yourself with a false beard and heckle your family and friends at Speakers’ Corner, the relationship is unlikely to progress to a happy conclusion. Jeeves, Wooster, Aunt Dahlia, Gussie Fink-Nottle and Bingo himself were my constant companions through teenage years (along with Stalky & Co and Nancy Mitford’s aristocrats, make of all that what you will), and their misadventures still make me laugh.
(First published in The Stand in 1992 and collected in The Inimitable Jeeves, currently available from Arrow, which itself is in the Hutchinson Jeeves Omnibus 1 along with two other books.)