Gentleman, The: A NovelBy Leo Forrest
A funny, fantastically entertaining debut novel in the spirit of Wodehouse and Monty Python. When Lionel Savage, a popular poet in Victorian London, learns from his butler that they're broke, he marries the beautiful Vivien Lancaster for her money, only to find that his muse has abandoned him. Distraught and contemplating suicide, Savage accidentally conjures the Devil - the polite 'Gentleman' of the title - who appears at one of the society parties Savage abhors. The two hit it off: the Devil talks about his home, where he employs Dante as a gardener; Savage lends him a volume of Tennyson. But when the party's over and Vivien has disappeared, the poet concludes in horror that he must have inadvertently sold his wife to the dark lord. Newly in love with Vivian, Savage plans a rescue mission to Hell that includes Simmons, the butler; Tompkins, the bookseller; Ashley Lancaster, the swashbuckling Buddhist; Will Kensington, inventor of a flying machine and Savage's spirited kid sister, Lizzie, freshly booted from boarding school for a 'dalliance.' Throughout, his cousin's quibbling footnotes to the text push the story into comedy nirvana.