R: Legion of Super-Heroes v. 4 #78 (March 1996), art by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer
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The sunshine of a fine summer morning was doing its best for the London suburb of Valley Fields, beaming benevolently on its tree-lined roads, its neat little gardens, its rustic front gates and its soaring television antennae.Of course! Valley Fields! 'Tis the same London suburb Wodehouse set his 1931 novel Big Money, which I read in Week Eight, and discussed the importance of the immediately-post-Wall Street crash era and the suburban London setting. It's one of the wonderful aspects of Wodehouse's cohesive universe that the same setting populated by Berry and Ann in '31 becomes the tableau for a new love story in this stage of 1955. There's no sign of an older Berry and Ann in this novel, so it's not a direct sequel, but the loving descriptions of Valley Field certainly make it part of the same Wodehouse universe, and when later Percy Pilbeam, a shady private detective, shows up, he's a character who appears in several other Wodehouse titles, including Blandings novel Heavy Weather (1933), which I discussed back in Week 6. You think keeping track of Earth-2 history is complicated? Try tracking all the connections and nexuses of Wodehouse's canonnow that's gonna be a big complicated Venn diagram, I'll tell you that.
Jane was puzzled.Too bad Jane's engaged to priggish sop Stanhope Twine (a bit of a weed and the sculptor of that ivory eyesore that gets rightfully vandalized). At the periphery circles fatcat bachelor Roscoe Bunyan, the only other surviving heir to the tontine fortune. Informed by retired family butler Keggs of the tontine's existence, Bunyan plots to bribe his sole competitor for the fortune into getting married before he does. But Keggs has his own agenda: fattening his own wallet.
'But how,' she asked, 'did you know who I was?'
'I recognized your voice.'
'Recognized my voice?' Jane stared. 'After half a dozen words on the telephone?'
'One would have been ample,' said Bill. He had now gotten over his initial nervousness and was feeling his affable self once more. 'It is a lovely, unique voice, in a class of its own and once heard never forgotten, limpid as a woodland brook and vibrant with all the music of the spheres. When you asked that child in the apron with the gravy spots on it to send the head-waiter along, one could fancy one was listening to silver bells tinkling across the foam of perilous seas in faery lands forlorn.'
'In faery lands forlorn. Not my own. Keats.'
'Oh. Well, that's good, isn't it?'
'Couldn't be better,' agreed Bill cordially.