KYRIL BONFIGLIOLI – Don’t Point That Thing at Me. Charlie Mordecai #1. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, UK, hardcover, 1972. US title: Mortdecai’s Endgame. Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 1973. Also published in the US under the British title by International Polygonics, paperback, 1990. Film: Mortdecai, 2015, starring Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow.

   Here’s another author that I’m sure most of you are familiar with, but whom I’ve never read. I keep stumbling across these large holes in my education.

   The Honorable (not) Charlie Mortdecai, art dealer, is involved in an intricate scheme to smuggle a stolen painting to America for an unscrupulous millionaire. The millionaire and another Englishman decide to blackmail a British public official, unfortunately, and this brings Charlie to the attention of Great Britain’s version of the OGPU and its brutally smarmy head-an old schoolmate of Charlie’s.

   Now begins a hare-and-hounds that leads to America (where Charlie encounters some lethal US Government agents), leaving bodies strewn along the way.

   This is written in that mannered, bitchy English prose style that I absolutely love, though I imagine it’s anathema to some people. It’s one of those books that I enjoy just for the voice, characters, and dialog, and don’t worry a lot about the plot.

  “Farce” probably wouldn’t be a bad description, though that’s a line of demarcation I’m never quite sure where to draw. Mortdecai is as engaging a villain as I’ve come across in a long time, and I thoroughly enjoyed him and his exploits. There are two more of these, and now I’ve got to hunt them up.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #22, November 1995


      The Charlie Mortdecai series

   Kyril Bonfiglioli:

Don’t Point That Thing at Me.  Weidenfeld 1972
Something Nasty in the Woodshed. Macmillan 1976
After You with the Pistol.  Secker 1979

   Kyril Bonfiglioli & Craig Brown:

The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery.  Black Spring 1996