#FirstLineFriday Submissions Are Now Closed! Here’s the Answer to Our Quiz,

Submissions for #FirstLineFriday are officially closed now. My thanks to all who emailed me with their guesses. Today, I’m sorry (but not very surprised) to say we have no winners. While I was hoping I’d be wrong, I had a pretty strong feeling this would be a tough one, though well deserving a spot on an official Top 100 Opening Lines list.  

And now, let’s find out just where this really amusing line is found. Here’s the answer to today’s quiz:

“Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French.” is the opening line of The Luck of the Bodkins written by P. G. Wodehouse in 1935.

The Luck of the Bodkins is a comic novel, first published in the United Kingdom on 11 October 1935 in the United States on 3 January 1936. The two editions are significantly different, though the plot remains the same.

The novel was serialized in The Passing Show magazine (UK) from 21 September to 23 November 1935, and this version was published as the UK edition. For its US magazine appearance, in the Red Book, between August 1935 and January 1936, Wodehouse re-wrote the story, reducing its length, and this became the US book edition.

The story concerns the complicated love life of amiable young Monty Bodkin, the nephew of Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe, who had previously appeared in Heavy Weather (1933), when he was employed as the latest in the long line of Lord Emsworth‘s secretaries.

A comic effect is created by the incongruous combination of formal and informal language in Wodehouse’s narrative passages, as in the beginning of the novel: “Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French.” Before the first comma, the passage may be the beginning of a serious novel, but the sudden use of two colloquial words, “shifty” and “hangdog”, prepares the reader for the semantic incongruity of the last part of the sentence.


To the majority of the passengers aboard the R.M.S. “Atlantic” the voyage to America was just a pleasant interlude in life’s hectic rush. But not so to Monty Bodkin. Monty’s wooing of Gertrude Butterwick was not progressing as it should, and the cause of all  the trouble was Miss Lotus Blossom, the brightest star in Hollywood’s firmament.

The easy camaraderie of Miss Blossom, coupled with the idea that Monty was the only person who could send the errant Ambrose back to her welcoming arms, was causing Mr. Bodkin moments of acute distress. But Lotus and Monty were not the only ones to wear the furrowed brow. Reggie Tennyson was another, and so was Ikey Llewellyn. Reggie’s trouble was pecuniary; but Ikey’s was more serious, for he had something on his mind—a dangerous condition for one of his mental capacity.

Finally there was Albert Peasemarch, prince of stewards and singer of ballads, whose sanity was threatened by the complete goofiness of his charges. This is a book of laughter, packed with the most glorious situations and related in the deliciously inconsequential manner which is the hallmark of authentic Wodehouse. In short, another Wodehouse triumph.

Buy The Luck of the Bodkins HERE:

And that wraps up this week’s quiz, folks! Again, sorry I could/couldn’t give away any downloads, but maybe next time. #FirstLineFriday will be back in two weeks, so stay tuned!  😀  See you then!


21 thoughts on “#FirstLineFriday Submissions Are Now Closed! Here’s the Answer to Our Quiz,

    • I didn’t pick him, exactly, Priscilla. He’s on the “official list.” But I’m going to make up for lost time by reading some of his work, for sure. I’m in love with this line and with the premise of the book as described by Amazon. Can’t wait to discover a “brand, new classic.” (Is that an oxymoron?) 😀


  1. I’m so sorry I missed the fun, but I wouldn’t have “won” anyway. 😥 Your First Line Fridays are always a great learning adventure. Thank you for the fun and the boost! Have a lovely weekend, Marcia! 💗

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Gwen. This was a hard one. I’ve used up most of the easy ones on the list, I’m afraid, so I’m sharing the tricky ones that I think are excellent examples of ways to open a book. I absolutely LOVE this one, and am planning to read the book as soon as I can. Amazon’s write up on it has won me over, when combined with that very amusing opening line. 😀 I will also be looking around for some more Best First Lines Lists. There are lots of them out there, though the one I started with was one of the largest and most varied.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I wasn’t familiar with either one, myself, Mae, but I do recognize the name of Wodehouse, and I suspect some of his characters have translated to movies over the years. But after falling in love with the opening line AND the write up from Amazon, especially the last paragraph, I’m definitely going to read this one. I love British humor, and I can tell I’m going to enjoy it. (I think! 😀 )

      Don’t beat yourself up too much, though. NOT ONE of us recognized this one, though Darlene is familiar with Wodehouse. (He’s a British writer, and this one WAS written LONG before you were born. Even before *I* was born, in fact.) I would have been astonished had anyone gotten it. 😀 Still, it was fun, and I truly do love the line.


  2. This was a new one on me. I’ve only ever read excerpts of Wodehouse and I don’t know why I’ve never thought to read a whole book! I hadn’t even heard of this one but that description at the beginning is first-rate and such a familiar scene now that I think about it! Thanks, Marcia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It sure sounds worth reading to me, and the Amazon write up had me laughing, already. I’m definitely going to check it out. Will let you know what I think. (Personally, I think anyone who could create Jeeves the butler is worth taking a chance on.) 😀 Glad you enjoyed this one, even if it wasn’t familiar, Trish! 😀


Looking forward to hearing what YOU think! NOTE: If in doubt about leaving comments on this blog, please read the privacy statement in the menu at the top of the page.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s