Wodehouse’s earlier works on college short stories consisting of a few public schools. Before reading this book I never realised that there are such terms actually indicating the levels of education preceding sixth form: Lower-fifth, Middle fifth and Upper fifth!
To be honest, I have not read the cricket stories. I never get myself familiarised with sports from childhood. However, the stories on planks played out by fellow classmates, fagging of the lower forms for normal human being and going through adversity against the ministrations of form-, house- and headmasters are enjoyable ones to chew at bedtime! These stories bring out the reminiscence of my reading The Boy by Roald Dahl many years ago – the Great Mouse Plot to the confectionery store proprietor, the nemesis between Dahl and Captain Hardcastle (the bit which I laughed out the most); the friendly Mathematics teacher who likes crosswords and farting in the class; as well as the fagging years in Repton (make me want to re-read the book again!).
As to Tales of Wrykyn and Elsewhere, I like many of them; but there are some short stories and characters which are actually rooted in my mind the most, for example, Ruthless Reginald, The Politeness of Princes, Educating Aubrey, and An International Affair from Wrykyn; St Asterisks’s Rose and Wotsing in playing out parodies on Sherlock Holmes and Watson; the never-ending poignancy of Pillingshot caused by the sudden whim of the Scott in St Austin’s; and last but not least, Thomas, the boy with angelic expression yet aggressive in mind. But to me I especially like the stories of Locksley, as I think Plum constructed an ingenious plot on the resourcefulness and cleverness of Dunstable and his fellow housemate in the stories A Corner in Lines and The Autograph Hunters.
From this book, you could be immersed in the stories and ploughed it through with fun. You can actually find out how new kids settle themselves fully into the public boy schools without a smack in the face, junior miscreants endeavour to break the monotony of school life with the hard work, the fun and method to fawn on the masters, the pain of the imposition that teachers set them through including writing Greek numerals for a hundred lines and Greek/Latin translations (square manners are unlikely in most cases). Happy reading!