This was my first Wodehouse book and it was a reasonable starting point to the Jeeves and Wooster stories. It was a fairly quick read and in my view really got going around page 100 as the action came to a head, specifically as a painting was used for some fairly ineffective head-cracking. The zaniness continued largely unabated from that point onward, which did heighten my enjoyment as the relentlessness of the plotting meant that the underlying absurdity of the problems was overwhelmed by the urgency of dealing with them. I enjoyed the whole thing, although I fear my comparatively weak background in the western canon meant that I was missing how some of the classical quotes were being tweaked. My only real takeaway about the culture being described was a curiosity about whether the characters' willingness to prank the police was primarily an upper-class thing or whether it reflects differences between British and American culture. Cops are often buffoons in American comedies, but characters don't go around stealing their hats or the like unless avenging a particular slight. Come to think of it, more than anything else the attitude reminds me of that of the Phoenix Wright games.
I'll run down the rest of my book backlog before returning to the series, but I do have definite hopes that the humor of the series will be cumulative as I get to know the characters better. I often end up turned off by series that revolve around the suffering of a foolish main character, but Wooster is shown to have a healthy dose of humanity and wit if not wisdom.
Source: Recommended by Andrew and Monica, loaned to me by my father-in-law; thanks all.