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Don't Point that Thing at Me

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Don't Point That Thing At Me by Kyril Bonfiglioli Book 1 of the Mortdecai Trilogy now a major motion picture starring Johnny Depp Introducing the Hon Charlie Mortdecai art dealer aristocrat and assassin in the first of the Mortdecai novels Portly art dealer and seasoned epicurean Charlie Mortdecai comes into possesion of a stolen Goya the disappearance of which is causing a diplomatic ruction between Spain and its allies Not that that matters to Charlie until compromising pictures of some British diplomats also come into his possession and start to muddy the waters All. This is Jeeves Wooster with a James Bond twist Not only was Kyril Bonfiglioli a fan of PG Wodehouse he flat out references Wodehouse through out Don't Point That Thing At Me It's a level of sycophancy that I wasn't 100% comfortable with But I guess if you're going to ape a writer's style why not go full monty and let it all hang out I mean Bonfiglioli's writing style is sooo similar to Wodehouse's that it wasn't going to take the British public long to sniff it out so hell drop in a mention of Jeeves and Wooster into the text right off the bat and get it over with That said Bonfiglioli does not uite have Wodehouse's wit and his characters are not uite as charmingly lovable as Wodehouse's The first part is a tough one for anyone save the odd Oscar Wildes and Mark Twains of the world The second part is unavoidable considering Bonfiglioli is writing about characters involved in grand theft and murder He's taken Wodehouse's stock plot Wooster being forced into petty crime and gone big and mean with it Conseuently it becomes hard to love or even side with his main characters They do wrong and when wrong is done to them the best I could muster was an oh well mate you had it coming kind of sympathy However like James Bond who kills a chap or two before he's even had his kippers there is a certain amount of acceptance for all the wrong doing This is entertainment This is comedy Since these aren't real people getting bumped off we can remain lighthearted and aloof and so the characters we're supposed to be rooting for aren't completely tarnished Humor man it's so violentRating 35 stars

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He's trying to do is make a dishonest living but various governments secret organizations and an unbelievably nubile young German don't see it that way and pretty soon he's in great need of his thuggish manservant Jock to keep them all at bay and the Goya safe First published in the 1970s this hilarious novel is part Ian Fleming part P G Wodehouse It is now a major motion picture starring Johnny Depp as Mortdecai Ewan McGregor as Jock and Gwyneth Paltrow 'A rare mixture of wit and imaginative unpleasantness' Julian Barnes 'You couldn't snuggle under the duvet with anyth. Imagine a story told by Paul Whitehouse’s character Rowley Birkin C “Blahblahblahblahhorsesblahblahmuttermutterpaintjobrhubarbrhubarbblahblahofcourse Iwasvery very drunk” except vastly coherent so you can understand every word but so scattered that it may as well be muttered gibberish That’s essentially what reading Don’t Point That Thing At Me is like Charles Mortdecai is an aristocratic art dealer who’s fallen in with a bad crowd The police are after him for an alleged art theft and some shady types are on his tail but it’s ok because he’s very very drunk The cover blurb compares the unpronounceable author Kyril Bonfiglioli’s novel as a cross between Ian Fleming and PG Wodehouse – if only Charles is always drinking and some guys get shot around him so I suppose that’s where the Fleming reference comes from – a couple of details that sound FlemingBond like and nothing – but the Wodehouse Hmm no that would mean Bonfiglioli’s funny and he’s not I suppose at the time it was hilarious to read lines like “The man was looking at me askance ‘Why are you looking at me askance’ I asked” as the first person novelistic narrative bleeds over into pseudo realistic dialogue but these days Meta has been done a great many times since not just in novels so it’s not as fresh as it once was or at all funny And no Bonfiglioli didn’t pioneer that style Despite being a short novel the turgid sentences soon slow down the narrative to a near stop – and it’s not like it was fast paced to start with The scenes are mostly Charles drinking in various places while tediously “bantering” with the other flat characters You have to be very careful when reading this because when a “character” gets shot in the head it’s literally dealt with in one sentence before Charles hurries off to resume drinking elsewhere and it’s not brought up again ‘til later Don’t want to do anything difficult like write non static scenes what After struggling through nearly 50 pages of this 160 page novel I just gave up Maybe having a protagonist who thinks he’s funny because he drinks is rich and tediously makes fun of everyone for not being funny drunk or rich like him is entertaining for some readers not for me I even tried drinking while reading this crap and it only underlined how unfunny Bonfiglywhatever is Why republish this outdated unknown for a reason rubbish The character’s exploits have been turned into a movie starring Johnny Depp scheduled to flop next year so Penguin are cashing in A roguish main character played by Depp who’s drunk all the time talks nonsense and stumbles around like a buffoon – well it’s good to see Depp stretching himself Savvy

Kyril Bonfiglioli × 4 Free read

Ing disreputable and delightful' Stephen Fry 'The jokes are excellent but the most horrible things keep happening Funny and chilling' Sunday Telegraph Kyril Bonfiglioli was born on the south coast of England in 1928 of an English mother and Italo Slovene father After studying at Oxford and five years in the army he took up a career as an art dealer like his eccentric creation Charlie Mortdecai He lived in Oxford Lancashire Ireland and Jersey where he died in 1985 He wrote four Charlie Mortdecai novels and a fifth historical Mortdecai novel about a distinguished ancestor. There are about three categories of books I really love ones where a fully realized world is offered to me by the book ones where the power of the telling is powerful I am bowled over and the third category is ones where I’m plunked down into the head of a lunatic and forced to endure a world fully through their viewpoint This book belongs strongly to the latter in the tradition of Nabokov Celine Beckett and John Hawkes and is a relentless black comic farce A kind of Wodehouse goes noirparanoid thriller with one of the most amoral and endlessly entertaining character I have ever encountered Charlie Mortdecai’s outlook on the world almost brings this book to the level of Dostoevsky Everything is permitted The literary allusions are wondrous Unterwegs in Deutschland: Das große Reisebuch (KUNTH Unterwegs in ... / Das grosse Reisebuch) the most horrible A Lady in Disguise (Daughters of Hampshire, things keep happening Funny and chilling' Sunday Telegraph Kyril Bonfiglioli was born on Children Of Circumstances the south coast of England in 1928 of an English mother and Italo Slovene father After studying at Oxford and five years in How Not to Die the army he Rodin took up a career as an art dealer like his eccentric creation Charlie Mortdecai He lived in Oxford Lancashire Ireland and Jersey where he died in 1985 He wrote four Charlie Mortdecai novels and a fifth historical Mortdecai novel about a distinguished ancestor. There are about Our Best Friends three categories of books I really love ones where a fully realized world is offered Jerky to me by Azad On Pakistan the book ones where Why Capitalism? the power of Bosch Tarot the Glorious 39 telling is powerful I am bowled over and Order Flow Trading the Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War third category is ones where I’m plunked down into No Unhallowed Hand (Saints, the head of a lunatic and forced Dominican Spirituality to endure a world fully The Rough Guide to London through nowhere people their viewpoint This book belongs strongly Vuela A Tu Libertad to The Tiptoeing Tiger the latter in Uncanny Valley: A Memoir the Differential Equations and Their Applications tradition of Nabokov Celine Beckett and John Hawkes and is a relentless black comic farce A kind of Wodehouse goes noirparanoid Varshas Honeymoon thriller with one of Holt McDougal United States History the most amoral and endlessly entertaining character I have ever encountered Charlie Mortdecai’s outlook on 100 activités d'éveil papa-bébé the world almost brings Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, this book Star Wars Chevaliers de lancienne République, Tome 1 to Best Bear Ever!: A Little Year of Liz Climo the level of Dostoevsky Everything is permitted The literary allusions are wondrous


10 thoughts on “Don't Point that Thing at Me

  1. says:

    ”Destroying the painting was out of the uestion my soul is all stained and shagged with sin like a cigarette smoker’s moustache but I am uite incapable of destroying works of art Steal them yes cheerfully it is a mark of respect and love but destroy them never Why even the Woosters had a code as we are told on the highest authority” Johnny Depp plays Mortdecai in the 2015 movie I’ve not seen it but most of the reviewers are torching it Regardless I will eventually watch it”Charlie Mortdecai is a cad of the worst kind He is educated capable of refinement a degenerate member of the upper crust a gluttonous eater of fine foods a dabbler in fine art and a man readily admitting that he lacks moral courage He is completely untrustworthy except when it comes to doing what is absolutely best for Charlie He uotes P G Wodehouse though he has little in common with Bertie Wooster except for an occasional bout of self centered bumbling and certainly his thuggish manservant Jock Strapp is no Jeeves When a Goya goes missing Mortdecai is the primary and only suspect He is given a visit by his arch nemesis Martland ”Martland has only two personalities Wilde and Eeyore Nevertheless he is a very cruel and dangerous policeman” After Charlie with the help of Jock convinces Martland to beat it Mortdecai starts making plans to sell the painting because of course he did steal the painting ”The truth had to be delivered in carefully spaced rations so as to give him a healthy appetite for later lies”Now Martland and it turns out others isn’t trying to get the painting back to return it to the rightful owners They are planning to steal it from the thief and sell it themselves They are uite willing to step over the cooling corpse of a certain Mortdecai to do so Mortdecai might be portly but when his life is on the line he becomes very light on his feet He hides the Goya in his Rolls Royce and has it hoisted on to the boat that will take him to America to meet his Southwestern American buyer When he arrives in America his first challenge is conuering the Old Oklahoma Cattleman’s Breakfast Special or the OOCBS It is a thick raw steak a hunk of salt bacon the size of Jocks’ fist sourdough biscuits a pot of hot coffee and a half a gill of rye whiskey ”Britain’s honour lay in pawn to my knife and fork” If there is ever a man who can overcome a pile of food it is Charlie Mortdecai ”Tis from scenes like this that Britain’s greatness springs I accepted a free drink from the barman shook hands gravely and made a good exit Not all Ambassadors sit in Embassies you know” Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie will forever be Jeeves and Wooster for me There are certainly many oddish references to Wodehouse’s famous creations in this novelHis next challenge with some form of special police hot on his tail is arriving to meet his wealthy American buyer only to greet his mortal remains Now unscrupulous American buyers for stolen art are not that easy to come by They are as rare as moments of morality are for Mortdecai This is a pickle of a different hue The luscious and lascivious widow proves to be friendly even though she doesn’t imbibe with Mortdecai’s favorite concoction on earth Is it possible to trust anyone who? ”’I never drink alcohol I do not like to blunt my senses’‘Goodness’ I babbled ‘but how awful for you Not drinking I mean imagine getting up in the morning knowing that you’re not going to feel any better all day’‘But I feel lovely all day every day Feel me’ I spilled uite a lot of my drink‘No really’ she said ‘feel’I gingerly prodded a golden rounded forearm‘Not there stupid; here’ She flipped a button open and two of the most beautiful”I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what sprang out of her blouse Things go from dire to disastrous and Mortdecai finds himself on the verge of epic failure without a pot of hot tea or a pint of whiskey anywhere in sight In fact Kyril Bonifiglioli leaves our anti hero in such dreadful straits that I will have to read the next book in the trilogy to see how Mortdecai even with the survival instincts of a trapped rat extracts himself from certain extinction The interesting thing about this book is that I approached it thinking it would be a breezy affair a bit of irreverent humor with an adorably unlikeable character that would make for an enjoyable afternoon What I found was yes it is humorous and bawdy but it is certainly not breezy I had to pay attention because the cheeky references and the amusing asides were coming fast and furious This is a short book by most standards but it is certainly packed with deftly conceived sentences that sometimes reuired a second pass to catch the undertow of impertinent meaning Ma’am would you mind stepping a bit closerKyril BonfiglioliThe author’s description of himself lends me to believe that many of Mortdecai’s salacious personality traits may have been drawn from his own character He was an art dealer accomplished fencer a fair shot with most weapons and a serial marrier of beautiful women He claimed to be ‘abstemious in all things except drink food tobacco and talking’ and ‘loved and respected by all who knew him slightly’If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at


  2. says:

    This is Jeeves Wooster with a James Bond twist Not only was Kyril Bonfiglioli a fan of PG Wodehouse he flat out references Wodehouse through out Don't Point That Thing At Me It's a level of sycophancy that I wasn't 100% comfortable with But I guess if you're going to ape a writer's style why not go full monty and let it all hang out? I mean Bonfiglioli's writing style is sooo similar to Wodehouse's that it wasn't going to take the British public long to sniff it out so hell drop in a mention of Jeeves and Wooster into the text right off the bat and get it over with That said Bonfiglioli does not uite have Wodehouse's wit and his characters are not uite as charmingly lovable as Wodehouse's The first part is a tough one for anyone save the odd Oscar Wildes and Mark Twains of the world The second part is unavoidable considering Bonfiglioli is writing about characters involved in grand theft and murder He's taken Wodehouse's stock plot Wooster being forced into petty crime and gone big and mean with it Conseuently it becomes hard to love or even side with his main characters They do wrong and when wrong is done to them the best I could muster was an oh well mate you had it coming kind of sympathy However like James Bond who kills a chap or two before he's even had his kippers there is a certain amount of acceptance for all the wrong doing This is entertainment This is comedy Since these aren't real people getting bumped off we can remain lighthearted and aloof and so the characters we're supposed to be rooting for aren't completely tarnished Humor man it's so violentRating 35 stars


  3. says:

    Most authors make their stories work through plot or characters or sometimes both Some make them work through sheer attitude Sometimes this latter approach works fabulously see Don Winslow Chuck Palahniuk and Josh Bazell but it's easy to fall off this particular tightrope For example Don't Point That Thing At Me author Bonfiglioli's first outing with his series character Charlie MortdecaiMortdecai is a fringe member of the minor British nobility in the early 1970s He's a sometime shady art dealer and a full time effete snob sot and wastrel attended by Jock a thuggish butlermanservant Mortdecai's ended up with a stolen Goya that he intends to unload on a wealthy American collector if he can enlist the aid of a shadowy British police unit without unduly arousing its interest in his businessSo far so good; an antihero is often entertaining than a traditional straight up hero But antiheroes need to be either interesting fun or both especially if they're otherwise despicable people Here lies this book's first great failing Mortdecai spins this tale for us in first person narrative but his voice which is clearly meant to be arch and droll and a bit world weary is by turns peevish snide obscure and repetitious Charlie's not nearly as funny as he thinks he is his humor isn't as much dry as it is muddled nor as smart or devious as he wants to be This is part of the reason it took what in retrospect is an absurdly long time for me to read such a tiny 166 pages book there was only so much Charlie I could abide in one sittingI've struggled to come up with a genre tag for this novel It's not a mystery very little happens that reuires deciphering It's not a caper Charlie's planning horizon seems to be measured in minutes and there's no great jobscam payoff at the end The New Yorker calls it a collaboration between PG Wodehouse and Ian Fleming which far oversells the case; it has neither Wodehouse's wit nor Fleming's thrills That what plot there is takes those aforementioned 166 pages to resolve itself owes to Charlie's habit of using twenty words plus an untranslated French adage when a handful would do nicely The novel's tone veers suddenly in the last 10% into something very different from what comes before adding to the narrative's neither fish nor fowl conditionI picked this up overseas as an experiment in reading an author I've neither seen nor heard of at home Once I brought it back here I learned that it's been made into a film starring Johnny Depp It's a good choice; Depp has a gift for bringing outlandish characters to raucous life something this story really needs There are three chapters in the Mortdecai saga plus a preuel of sorts so if you like this one there's to be had I'll pass Despite my initial high hopes Don't Point That Thing At Me clearly isn't aimed at me


  4. says:

    Imagine a story told by Paul Whitehouse’s character Rowley Birkin C “Blahblahblahblahhorsesblahblahmuttermutterpaintjobrhubarbrhubarbblahblahofcourse Iwasvery very drunk” except vastly coherent so you can understand every word but so scattered that it may as well be muttered gibberish That’s essentially what reading Don’t Point That Thing At Me is like Charles Mortdecai is an aristocratic art dealer who’s fallen in with a bad crowd The police are after him for an alleged art theft and some shady types are on his tail but it’s ok because he’s very very drunk The cover blurb compares the unpronounceable author Kyril Bonfiglioli’s novel as a cross between Ian Fleming and PG Wodehouse – if only Charles is always drinking and some guys get shot around him so I suppose that’s where the Fleming reference comes from – a couple of details that sound FlemingBond like and nothing – but the Wodehouse? Hmm no that would mean Bonfiglioli’s funny and he’s not I suppose at the time it was hilarious to read lines like “The man was looking at me askance ‘Why are you looking at me askance?’ I asked” as the first person novelistic narrative bleeds over into pseudo realistic dialogue but these days? Meta has been done a great many times since not just in novels so it’s not as fresh as it once was or at all funny And no Bonfiglioli didn’t pioneer that style Despite being a short novel the turgid sentences soon slow down the narrative to a near stop – and it’s not like it was fast paced to start with The scenes are mostly Charles drinking in various places while tediously “bantering” with the other flat characters You have to be very careful when reading this because when a “character” gets shot in the head it’s literally dealt with in one sentence before Charles hurries off to resume drinking elsewhere and it’s not brought up again ‘til later Don’t want to do anything difficult like write non static scenes what? After struggling through nearly 50 pages of this 160 page novel I just gave up Maybe having a protagonist who thinks he’s funny because he drinks is rich and tediously makes fun of everyone for not being funny drunk or rich like him is entertaining for some readers not for me I even tried drinking while reading this crap and it only underlined how unfunny Bonfiglywhatever is Why republish this outdated unknown for a reason rubbish? The character’s exploits have been turned into a movie starring Johnny Depp scheduled to flop next year so Penguin are cashing in A roguish main character played by Depp who’s drunk all the time talks nonsense and stumbles around like a buffoon – well it’s good to see Depp stretching himself Savvy?


  5. says:

    view spoiler Bettie's Books hide spoiler


  6. says:

    I feel like there has to have been some kind of giant conspiracy for these great books to have been near forgotten after such a short period of time The way Bonfiglioli writes doesn't really date itself it's not only worthy literature but deliberately and delightfully farcical and a daring look at the seedy underbelly of a part of society that seems rarely acknowledged in British literature that of the monied educated classes I could probably draw parallels with another rogueish gentleman thief such as Raffles The Amateur Cracksman or Arsene Lupin but Charlie Mortdecai is so much dirtier grubbier and offensive than that and I applaud him for it Between his over educated self satisfied air and his brutal and loyal manservant Jock the plot takes a back seat to their absurdly silly adventures across the British countryside and a trip to America whilst dealing with blackmailers attempted murder art thieves and smugglers not to mention renegade cops with anti Mortdecai vendettasEach chapter opens with a late wakeup call a greasy breakfast and a bottle of whiskey and filling the pages with witty one liners hillarious descriptive passages and offensive yet perfectly funny observations of people If you're not crying with laughter whilst reading this then you're doing it wrongThe plot taking the back seat is really what prevents this delightful work from receiving 5 stars the ending starts to drag as I found previously with After You with the Pistol as Bonfiglioli tries desperately to tie everything together in to an acceptable conclusion


  7. says:

    There are about three categories of books I really love ones where a fully realized world is offered to me by the book ones where the power of the telling is powerful I am bowled over and the third category is ones where I’m plunked down into the head of a lunatic and forced to endure a world fully through their viewpoint This book belongs strongly to the latter in the tradition of Nabokov Celine Beckett and John Hawkes and is a relentless black comic farce A kind of Wodehouse goes noirparanoid thriller with one of the most amoral and endlessly entertaining character I have ever encountered Charlie Mortdecai’s outlook on the world almost brings this book to the level of Dostoevsky Everything is permitted The literary allusions are wondrous


  8. says:

    I wanted SO BADLY to like this book the descriptions of it being a mix of Wodehouse and Fleming make it sound tailor made for me and I did think the writing itself was amusing and intelligent But amusing and intelligent writing deployed in service of an unpleasant and often incoherent plot is just wasted By the close of the novel I had only the slimmest idea of what had happened and the infuriating notion that I'd have to read the remaining books in the series to be anything like sure Unfortunately I'll likely have to remain frustrated in my curiosity about the book's events because I don't think I have the patience to put up with Mr Bonfiglioli's confounding plots for another 3 novels in order to be sure


  9. says:

    uirky fun depressing strange Charlie is a proper Englishman with a wonderful turn of phrase who is also an art thief fence murderer Imagine Jeeves gone terribly wrong set into a noir mystery thriller Fantastic Well read


  10. says:

    There are times when I could slap myself as compared to those times when others would sooner slap me? NO I have just finished this book after seeing the cover at a local thrift store and thinking that looks fun lets give it a go even though for some reason it sounds familiar Well of course now I have finished it and researched the author as I do I realise that it was made in to a film called Mortdecai with Johnny Depp How I over looked that one I do not know Anyway the book I must admit that it is rather a fun farce and a racing romp and I guess for one of those rare times where there blurb on the cover is pretty spot on saying that its a mix of P G Woodhouse and Ian Fleming The wording is a bit hard going at times but the play on words creates some amazing imagery although I am sometimes caught off guard on how Mr Charlie can flip from one state to another but I guess that just beguiles his true colours as compared to those he chooses to cultivate as part of him imageThere are 2 other books in the series although there are others which were completed after his death or are seen as distant preuels I shall certainly be hunting them out on my travels


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