Elliot Oakes and Paul Snyder
Created by P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975)

P.G. Wodehouse wrote nearly 100 books, almost all of them comic novels. He's best known, of course, for creating the character of Jeeves, the ultimate valet (or as he would have it, the ultimate "gentleman's gentleman"), as well as other memorable figures such as the charmingly foppish Psmith, get-rich-quick schemer Ukridge, the loquacious Mr. Mulliner, and the various cloth-headed denizens of Blandings Castle and the Drones' Club.

Of course, the genial Wodehouse certainly never wrote a genuine hard-boiled detective story in his life ­ in fact, some would say he was patently incapable of such a thing ­ so what is he doing here? Well, virtually every one of Wodehouse's many stories and novels takes place in the same interconnected little world, and given Wodehouse's continued reliance on farcical plots involving impersonations, mistaken identities and stolen heirlooms, it's only natural that a private detective would be called in to sort out at least some of the strange goings-on. And indeed, it turns out that several desperate characters in the Wodehouse canon employed the services of various private eyes over the years.

But Wodehouse's only stab at an actual, if still somewhat comic, PI story would appear to be "Death at The Excelsior," written relatively early in his long career. This tale introduces us to the unjustifiably cocksure English private detective ELLIOT OAKES and his older, wiser boss PAUL SNYDER ­ both of whom end up being beaten to the mystery's (somewhat far-fetched) solution by their elderly female client!



Respectfully submitted by Rudyard Kennedy, with some additional info by Kevin Burton Smith.

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