The uncle in question is Frederick Altamount Cornwallis, Fifth Earl of Ickenham, better known as Uncle Fred, an old boy of such a sunny and youthful nature that explosions of sweetness and light detonate all around him (in the course, it must be said, of a plot that involves blackmail, impersonation, knock-out drops, stealing, arrests and potential jewel-smuggling).
This is Wodehouse at his very best, with sundered lovers, explorers, broke publishers and irascible aristocrats all eventually yielding to the magic, ever-so-slightly-unscrupulous touch of Uncle Fred. It is, as Richard Usborne writes, 'a brilliantly sustained rattle of word-perfect dialogue and narrative topping a very complicated and well-controlled plot'.
Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (always known as `Plum') wrote about seventy novels and some three hundred short stories over 73 years. He is widely recognised as the greatest 20th-century writer of humour in the English language. Perhaps best known for the escapades of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, Wodehouse also created the world of Blandings Castle, home to Lord Emsworth and his cherished pig, the Empress of Blandings. His stories include gems concerning the irrepressible and disreputable Ukridge; Psmith, the elegant socialist; the ever-so-slightly-unscrupulous Fifth Earl of Ickenham, better known as Uncle Fred; and those related by Mr Mulliner, the charming raconteur of The Angler's Rest, and the Oldest Member at the Golf Club. In 1936 he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for `having made an outstanding and lasting contribution to the happiness of the world'. He was made a Doctor of Letters by Oxford University in 1939 and in 1975, aged 93, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He died shortly afterwards, on St Valentine's Day.