The Books Behind Mortdecai
Last week saw Mortdecai, starring Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor and Gwyneth Paltrow, hit the big screen. Based on the books by Kyril Bonfiglioli, the film is centred around Charlie Mortdecai, art dealer, aristocrat and assassin.
The books, three of which were originally published during the 1970s, are renowned for their dark, perhaps politically incorrect humour and satire. The fourth thriller in the series was unfinished at the time of Bonfiglioli’s death and was completed by satirist Craig Brown during the 1990s.
We do love a good crime adaptation – but sometimes there’s nothing better than reading the books. Here’s a taster of the Charlie Mortdecai books by Kyril Bonfiglioli…
The Books Behind Mortdecai
Don’t Point That Thing At Me
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 he’s trying to do is make a dishonest living, but various governments, secret organisations 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.
After You With The Pistol
Charlie Mortdecai – degenerate aristocrat and victim of his own larceny and licentiousness – has no idea. Until it is made clear to him that he must marry the beautiful, sex-crazed and very, very rich Johanna Krampf. The fly in the ointment is that Johanna thinks nothing of involving poor Charlie in her life-threatening schemes such as monarch assassination, heroin smuggling and – worst of all – survival training at a college for feminist spies. Perhaps, it’s all in a good cause – if only Charlie can live long enough to find out.
Something Nasty in the Woodshead
Charlie Mortdecai, minor aristocrat and art-dealer banished from London for crimes against, well, art, has decamped to the tiny island of Jersey with his wife Johanna and manservant Jock. There, amidst tax dodgers and inbred natives, he had hoped to lie low and sink lower. But when a friend’s wife is attacked, Charlie is forced to turn sleuth to discover the perpetrator. As further attacks occur, of an increasingly Satanic nature, Charlie finds he is desperate to solve the crimes before things turn truly Hellish…
The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery
The Hon. Charlie Mortdecai (and his intrepid moustache) is invited to Oxford to investigate the cruel and most definitely unusual death of a don who collided with an omnibus. Though her death appears accidental, one or two things don’t add up – such as two pairs of thugs who were following her just before her death. With more spies than you could shoe horn into a stretch limo and the solving of the odd murder along the way, The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery is a criminally comic delight.
Have you read any of Kyril Bonfiglioli’s Charlie Mortdecai books? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!