Wodehouse classics in new edition

THERE MAY be a boom in the employment of valets but, for most of us, employing our very own Jeeves remains a fantasy, writes Jane Hughes.

But we can dream, and read. Penguin is now relaunching P G Wodehouse's 12 Jeeves books to mark the 80th anni-versary of the first in the series, Leave it to Jeeves.

The comic genius's depiction of the subtle nuances in the relationship between the dizzy aristocrat Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves was immortalised in an ITV series starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.

Jeeves, who described his master as "exceedingly pleasant and amiable ... but not intelligent", was invariably the winner in any power tussle.

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was born in Surrey in 1881 and educated at Dulwich College. He worked for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank for two years but left, saying he "couldn't follow the thing at all", to begin a career as a journalist and storywriter. He was a prolific worker, writing more than 90 books as well as musicals.

In 1940 he was arrested by the Germans at his home in Le Touquet and subsequently made broadcasts viewed as sympathetic to Hitler. He was widely regarded as a Nazi collaborator and his work fell into disrepute after the war. His knighthood in 1975 marked his rehabilitation as a serious literary figure.