"It seemed Wolinski ignored everything for the life of the mind. Troy could not have slept a wink in dust and dirt such as this. On the bedside table, spine upwards, was Wolinski's bedtime reading. Troy smiled — The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse, in which whilst in hot pursuit of his Aunt Dahlia's cow-creamer, Bertie Wooster manages to defeat British fascism."Naming Wodehouse was unnecessary, like invoking Hamlet with the additional information that its author was William Shakespeare. But this was Lawton's first novel; perhaps he (or his editor) lacked the confidence to excise the name.
More interesting is a later passage, where Lawton has a minor character "assuming the jowly look of a lugubrious bloodhound." That's Wodehousian, though its placement at a serious moment in a serious story is a Lawtonian touch. Think of it as Wodehouse in a minor key.
And, as the English Wodehouse did in some of his American stories, the English Lawton pays special attention to the cadences of American speech. With the possible exception of one minuscule slip, he does a better job.
Authors often pay homage to influential or beloved predecessors. What such homages have surprised you?
© Peter Rozovsky 2010