Kyril Bonfiglioli

Kyril Bonfiglioli (born Cyril Emmanuel George Bonfiglioli; 29 May 1928 – 3 March 1985) was an English art-dealer, magazine editor and comic novelist. His eccentric and witty Mortdecai novels have attained cult status since his death.


Bonfiglioli was born in Eastbourne on the south coast of England to an Italo-Slovene father, Emmanuel Bonfiglioli, and English mother, Dorothy née Pallett. His mother and brother died in an air raid when he was 14. Having served in the British Army from 1947 to 1954, and been widowed, he applied to Balliol College, Oxford, where he took his degree. After his divorce from his second wife he lived in Silverdale in Lancashire, then Jersey and Ireland. He edited Science Fantasy magazine for a period from 1964 to 1966, appointed by David Warburton of Roberts and Vinter Ltd.; and the successor Impulse for its first few issues in 1966 before handing the reins to Harry Harrison. He died in Jersey of cirrhosis of the liver in 1985, having had five children.[1][2]

He described himself as "an accomplished fencer, a fair shot with most weapons and a serial marrier of beautiful women ... abstemious in all things except drink, food, tobacco and talking ... and loved and respected by all who knew him slightly."[1][3]

Charlie Mortdecai novels

Bonfiglioli wrote four books featuring Charlie Mortdecai, three of which were published in his lifetime, and one posthumously as completed by the satirist and literary mimic Craig Brown. Charlie Mortdecai is the fictional art dealer anti-hero of the series. His character resembles, among other things, an amoral Bertie Wooster with occasional psychopathic tendencies. His Mortdecai comic-thriller trilogy won critical plaudits back in the 1970s and early 1980s. The dry satire and black humour of the books were favourably reviewed by The New Yorker and others. The books are still in print and have been translated into several languages.

Don't Point That Thing At Me was awarded the 1973 CWA New Blood Dagger for the best crime novel by a hitherto unpublished writer.

Bonfiglioli's style and narrative technique have been favourably compared to those of P. G. Wodehouse. Mortdecai and his manservant Jock Strapp bear a fun-house mirror relation to Wodehouse's Wooster and Jeeves. The author makes a nod to this comparison by having Mortdecai reference Wodehouse in the novels. Actors Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie are among those who are fans of his work.[2] Hugh Laurie praised "the excellent Kyril Bonfigliolo" [sic] in the afternotes of his book The Gun Seller.[4]

The three original books, published out of chronological order:

Reissued (Penguin, 2015 ISBN 978-0-241-97267-0) as film tie-in under title Mortdecai
  • After You With The Pistol (Secker and Warburg, 1979), Book Two
  • Something Nasty In The Woodshed (Macmillan, 1976), Book Three

Anthologised in:

An historical prequel about one of Charlie's Dutch ancestors:

  • All the Tea in China (Secker and Warburg, 1978)

The posthumously completed sequel:

Bonfiglioli's second wife Margaret wrote and compiled a posthumous anthology of works and anecdotes, called The Mortdecai ABC (London: Penguin / Viking, 2001), ISBN 0-670-91084-8.

2015 film

Mortdecai, a film based on the books directed by David Koepp and starring Johnny Depp in the title role, was released in January 2015. The film was a box office bomb, and received overwhelmingly negative reviews.[5][6] The Rotten Tomatoes aggregated rating for the movie stands at just 12%.[7]


  1. ^ a b Carey, Leo (20 September 2004). "The Genuine Article: the strange case of Kyril Bonfiglioli". The New Yorker. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Don’t Point That Thing at Me by Kyril Bonfiglioli". Sunday Times. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  3. ^ Bonfiglioli, Kyril. "After you with the Pistol", Penguin Books, 2014 edition, p. i (first page, publishers preface).
  4. ^ Hugh Laurie, The Gunseller, Washington Square Press, 1996, p. 345.
  5. ^ "'Mortdecai' Is One Of Johnny Depp's Worst Flops Ever". 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  6. ^ Stephanie Garcia (2015-01-26). "Mortdecai becomes Johnny Depp's fifth consecutive movie to flop at the box office - News - Films". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  7. ^ Rotten Tomatoes: Mortdecai

External links

Basil Lubbock

Alfred Basil Lubbock MC (9 September 1876 – 3/4 September 1944 at Monks Orchard, Seaford) was a British historian, sailor and soldier. He was a prolific writer of naval and sailing histories, and a member of the Society for Nautical Research.

Black Spring Press

Black Spring Press is an independent English publishing house founded in the early 1980s. The first Black Spring publication was a reprint of Anais Nin's D.H. Lawrence: An Unprofessional Study, which on its first publication in 1932 had been only the second study of Lawrence's work to appear. This was followed by Patrick Kearney's The Paris Olympia Press: An Annotated Bibliography, which carried a Foreword by Maurice Girodias. Later publications included translations of early Soviet short stories and an epistolary first novel from the French; Nick Cave's debut novel, And the Ass Saw the Angel, which had been commissioned five years previously; reprints of Leonard Cohen's novels together with new editions of his titles Book of Mercy and Death of a Lady's Man; and the memoirs of Carolyn Cassady, Off the Road: Twenty Years with Cassady, Kerouac and Ginsberg. In the early 1990s Black Spring revived the reputation of the black comedy thriller writer Kyril Bonfiglioli by gathering his three previously-published novels featuring art-dealer and bon viveur Charlie Mortdecai and issuing them as The Mortdecai Trilogy; this was followed by a reprint of Bonfiglioli's historical romp All the Tea in China and first publication of The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery, left lacking its final chapter at the time of the author's death but now completed by Craig Brown. In 2001 the company was acquired by Robert Hastings, under whose proprietorship it continued to publish original fiction and non-fiction as well as successfully reviving work by Patrick Hamilton, Alexander Baron and Julian Maclaren-Ross.


Bonfiglioli is an Italian surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Alessandra Bonfiglioli (born 1963), Italian high jumper

Kyril Bonfiglioli (1928–1985), English writer

CWA New Blood Dagger

The CWA New Blood Dagger is an annual award given by the British Crime Writers' Association (CWA) for first books by previously unpublished writers. It is given in memory of CWA founder John Creasey and was previously known as The John Creasey Memorial Award. Publisher Chivers Press was the sponsor from the award's introduction in 1973 to 2002. BBC Audiobooks was the sponsor in 2003.

Colt Woodsman

The Colt Woodsman is a semi-automatic sporting pistol manufactured by the U.S.Colt's Manufacturing Company from 1915 to 1977. It was designed by John Moses Browning. The frame design changed over time, in three distinct series: series one being 1915–1941, series two 1947–1955, and series three being 1955–1977.

Craig Brown (satirist)

Craig Edward Moncrieff Brown (born 23 May 1957) is an English critic and satirist, best known for his parodies in Private Eye.

David Koepp

David Koepp (born June 9, 1963) is an American screenwriter and film director. Koepp is the sixth most successful screenwriter of all time in terms of U.S. box office receipts with a total gross of over $2.3 billion.Koepp has achieved both critical and commercial success in a wide variety of genres: thriller, science fiction, comedy, action, drama, crime, superhero, horror, adventure, and fantasy.

Some of the best known films he has written include the sci-fi adventure films Jurassic Park (1993), The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008); the action spy films Mission: Impossible (1996) and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014); the superhero film Spider-Man (2002); the sci-fi disaster film War of the Worlds (2005) and the mystery thriller Angels & Demons (2009). Koepp has directed six films over the course of his career: The Trigger Effect (1996), Stir of Echoes (1999), Secret Window (2004), Ghost Town (2008), Premium Rush (2012), and Mortdecai (2015).

Future Science Fiction and Science Fiction Stories

Future Science Fiction and Science Fiction Stories were two American science fiction magazines that were published under various names between 1939 and 1943 and again from 1950 to 1960. Both publications were edited by Charles Hornig for the first few issues; Robert W. Lowndes took over in late 1941 and remained editor until the end. The initial launch of the magazines came as part of a boom in science fiction pulp magazine publishing at the end of the 1930s. In 1941 the two magazines were combined into one, titled Future Fiction combined with Science Fiction, but in 1943 wartime paper shortages ended the magazine's run, as Louis Silberkleit, the publisher, decided to focus his resources on his mystery and western magazine titles. In 1950, with the market improving again, Silberkleit relaunched Future Fiction, still in the pulp format. In the mid-1950s he also relaunched Science Fiction, this time under the title Science Fiction Stories. Silberkleit kept both magazines on very slim budgets throughout the 1950s. In 1960 both titles ceased publication when their distributor suddenly dropped all of Silberkleit's titles.

The fiction was generally unremarkable, with few memorable stories being published, particularly in the earlier versions of the magazines. Lowndes spent much effort to set a friendly and engaging tone in both magazines, with letter columns and reader departments that interested fans. He was more successful than Hornig in obtaining good stories, partly because he had good relationships with several well-known and emerging writers. Among the better-known stories he published were "The Liberation of Earth" by William Tenn, and "If I Forget Thee, Oh Earth" by Arthur C. Clarke.

Gombeen man

A Gombeen man is a pejorative Hiberno-English term used in Ireland for a shady, small-time "wheeler-dealer" businessman or politician who is always looking to make a quick profit, often at someone else's expense or through the acceptance of bribes. Its origin is the Irish word "gaimbín", meaning monetary interest. The term referred originally to a money-lender and became associated with those shopkeepers and merchants who exploited the starving during the Irish Famine by selling much-needed food and goods on credit at ruinous interest rates.

List of American films of 2015

This is a list of American films released in 2015.

List of Balliol College, Oxford people

The following is a list of notable people associated with Balliol College, Oxford, including alumni and Masters of the college. When available, year of matriculation is provided in parentheses, as listed in the relevant edition of The Balliol College Register or in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. More than one in twenty Balliol alumni are listed in Who's Who.

Complete (or very nearly complete) lists of Fellows and students, arranged by year of matriculation, can be found in the published Balliol College Register; the 1st edition, 2nd edition and 3rd edition.This list of notable alumni consists almost entirely of men, due to the fact that for over seven centuries (1263-1979), women were barred from studying at Balliol.

List of fictional Oxford colleges

Fictional colleges are found in many modern novels, films, and other works of fiction, probably because they allow the author greater licence for invention and a reduced risk of being accused of libel or slander, as might happen if the author depicted unsavory events as occurring at a real-life institution. Below is a list of some of the fictional colleges of the University of Oxford.

Mordecai (disambiguation)

Mordecai is one of the main personalities in the Book of Esther in the Hebrew Bible.

Mordecai or Mordechai may also refer to:

The Mordechai or Mordecai ben Hillel, major Talmudist and posek

Kevin Fertig, American professional wrestler who used the ring name "Mordecai"

Mordecai, a main character in the animated television series Regular Show

"Mordecai", song by Between the Buried and Me

Mordecai, pet hawk in the film The Royal Tenenbaums

Mordecai, synth pop group from Portland, Oregon

Mordecai, band from Vancouver

Mordecai, character in Gearbox Software's Borderlands


Mortdecai is a series of comic thriller novels written by English author Kyril Bonfiglioli. The book series deals with the picaresque adventures of a dissolute aristocratic art dealer named Charlie Mortdecai, accompanied on his adventures by his manservant Jock. The books consisted of Don't Point That Thing at Me, After You with the Pistol, Something Nasty in the Woodshed and The Great Moustache Mystery. The books have been translated into several languages including Spanish, French, Italian, German and Japanese. First published in the 1970s, the novels have since attained cult status.Bonfiglioli's style and novel structure have often been favourably compared to that of P. G. Wodehouse, Mortdecai and his manservant Jock Strapp being described as bearing a fun-house mirror resemblance to Wodehouse's Wooster and Jeeves. The author makes a nod to this comparison by having Mortdecai reference Wodehouse in the novels.

Mortdecai (film)

Mortdecai is a 2015 American action comedy film directed by David Koepp and written by Eric Aronson. The film is adapted from the novel series Mortdecai (specifically its first installment Don't Point that Thing at Me) written by Kyril Bonfiglioli. It stars Johnny Depp in the title role and also features Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Munn, Paul Bettany and Jeff Goldblum. Released by Lionsgate on January 23, 2015, Mortdecai was a box office bomb, grossing $47 million against its $60 million budget, and received overwhelmingly negative reviews.

Sanders of Oxford

Sanders of Oxford is an antique print shop situated on the High Street of the city of Oxford, England.

Although stores trading in prints were once common in the country, there are now only a handful left, Sanders being one of the largest and longest running outside London. The building, Salutation House, has traded in books and prints since at least the 1840s, when it was registered as a 'Bookseller and Auctioneer & appraiser' by its then proprietor Charles Richards. In the 16th and 17th centuries the building housed the Saluation Inn and Thomas Wood was the proprietor of the Inn. Sanders possesses a token issued by Wood in 1652. The design shows a racket, a reference to the real tennis court at Oriel College. The tavern later became a coffee house kept by James Houseman.

Sanders of Oxford was owned until his death in 2012 by Hon. Christopher Lennox-Boyd, second son of Conservative politician Alan Lennox-Boyd.

Science Fantasy (magazine)

Science Fantasy, which also appeared under the titles Impulse and SF Impulse, was a British fantasy and science fiction magazine, launched in 1950 by Nova Publications as a companion to Nova's New Worlds. Walter Gillings was editor for the first two issues, and was then replaced by John Carnell, the editor of New Worlds, as a cost-saving measure. Carnell edited both magazines until Nova went out of business in early 1964. The titles were acquired by Roberts & Vinter, who hired Kyril Bonfiglioli to edit Science Fantasy; Bonfiglioli changed the title to Impulse in early 1966, but the new title led to confusion with the distributors and sales fell, though the magazine remained profitable. The title was changed again to SF Impulse for the last few issues. Science Fantasy ceased publication the following year, when Roberts & Vinter came under financial pressure after their printer went bankrupt.

Gillings had an inventory of material that he had acquired while editing Fantasy, and he drew on this for Science Fantasy, as well as incorporating his own fanzine, Science Fantasy Review, into the new magazine. Once Carnell took over, Science Fantasy typically ran a long lead novelette along with several shorter stories; prominent contributors in the 1950s included John Brunner, Ken Bulmer, and Brian Aldiss, whose first novel Nonstop appeared (in an early version) in the February 1956 issue. Fantasy stories began to appear more frequently during the latter half of the 1950s, and in the early 1960s Carnell began to publish Thomas Burnett Swann's well-received historical fantasies. Carnell felt that the literary quality of Science Fantasy was always higher than that of New Worlds, and in the early 1960s his efforts were rewarded with three consecutive Hugo nominations for best magazine. Under Bonfiglioli more new writers appeared, including Keith Roberts, Brian Stableford and Josephine Saxton. In the opinion of science fiction historian Mike Ashley, the final year of Impulse, as it was titled by that time, included some of the best material ever published in a British science fiction magazine.

Silverdale, Lancashire

Silverdale is a village and civil parish within the City of Lancaster in Lancashire, England. The village stands on Morecambe Bay, near the border with Cumbria, 4.5 miles (7 km) north west of Carnforth and 8.5 miles (14 km) north of Lancaster. The parish had a population of 1,545 recorded in the 2001 census, reducing slightly to 1,519 at the 2011 Census.Silverdale forms part of the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The RSPB's Leighton Moss nature reserve is close to the village. The National Trust owns several pieces of land in the area. The former Tarmac-owned Trowbarrow quarry is now a SSSI and popular climbing location. The Lancashire Coastal Way footpath goes from Silverdale to Freckleton, and the Cumbria Coastal Way goes from Silverdale to Gretna.

It is served by nearby Silverdale railway station on the line from Lancaster to Barrow in Furness.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.