This is the first of the Blandings novels that Wodehouse published, and many of the characters in this book reappear in later ones. I listened to it on audio in the car, which was probably not the best place as its numerous absurdities and hilarious scenes were apt to disturb my concentration from the road. Those familiar with Jeeves and Wooster will be relieved to learn that Wodehouse is not a one note writer, but is able to conjure up a whole range of the most perfectly idiotic characters you could hope to meet. I doubt they were exaggerated.
The novel is at once is mystery and a romance, with intertwining plots mixing the two. Ashe Marston and Joan Valentine, the two protagonists and romantic interest are two young people both searching for a change of direction. Ashe is a hack writer of ghastly detective stories and Joan an actress. They are both attracted by an advertisement of a £1000 reward for the recovery of a stolen scarab, placed by that eminent collector of scarabs, the American tycoon J Preston Peters. The recovery of the scarab is a ticklish business. It has apparently been stolen by Mr Peters’ prospective father-in-law, the Earl of Emsworth. Disguised as servants, and in competition with each other, Ashe and Joan head down to Blandings Castle to effect the recovery.
A detailed analysis of the novel can be read here.
The wikipedia article is also good.
See also, Psmith in the City