Charlie Mortdecai, volume two

After You With The Pistol by Kyril Bonfiglioli

This is going to be a quick post, as you shouldn’t read the second novel in this delightfully Un-PC comedy crime series until you’ve read the first – they follow directly on from each other, but I’m not giving anything away with this quote from near the beginning…

To this day I still do not know where it was that I awoke nor, indeed, how long I had been separated from my cogitative faculties, bless them. But I think it must have been somewhere awful in the North-West of England, like Preston or Wigan or even Chorley, God forbid. The lapse of time must have been quite three or four weeks: I could tell by my toenails, which no one had thought to cut. They felt horrid. I felt cross.

Charlie Mortdecai, art dealer and aristo-gentleman bon viveur, all-round reprobate and womaniser, first appeared in Don’t Point That Thing At Me which I reviewed over at Shiny New Books – so head on over there to get a feel for it in detail.

First published in the late 1970s, if you crossed Jeeves and Wooster with James Bond, extra double-entendres and a total disregard for political correctness, you’ll get the idea. If you’re easily offended, these books are probably not for you…

The second novel sees Charlie Mortdecai, art dealer and aristo-reprobate forced to get married, thus getting into even more improbable scrapes, this time involving the a spy school for women and Chinese tongs…

You can also learn a surprising amount from Charlie – the following is actually true – I checked:

‘Please salt the eggs for me,’ I said by way of conceding defeat, ‘I always overdo it and spoil them. And do please remember, the fine, white pepper for eggs, not the coarse-ground stuff from the Rubi.’ (Cipriani of Harry’s Bar in Venice once told me why waiters of the better sort call that huge pepper-grinder a ‘Rubi’: it is in honour of the late, celebrated Brazilian playboy Porfirio Rubirosa. I don’t understand it myself because my mind is pure.)

I chuckled all the way through this book, and shall be reading the rest in the series before the film comes out in the spring.  Yes, if this sounds like your kind of thing, you need to get cracking in case the film is a dud. (9.5/10)

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Source: Own copy. To explore further on Amazon UK, please click below:
Don’t Point That Thing at me: The First Charlie Mortdecai Novel (Mortdecai Trilogy 1)
After you with the pistol: The Second Charlie Mortdecai Novel (Mortdecai Trilogy 2)
Something Nasty in the Woodshed: The Third Charlie Mortdecai Novel (Mortdecai Trilogy 3)
All by Kyril Bonfiglioli, Penguin paperbacks – around 200 pages.

12 thoughts on “Charlie Mortdecai, volume two

  1. Desperate Reader says:

    I have mixed feelings about these books. Very funny when he hits the mark, surprising amount of interesting stuff in there, and then after a while i get bored. He’s definitely worth a look though. My partner, who has fewer PC sensibilities than I do loves these books.

    • Annabel (gaskella) says:

      I don’t find them long enough to get bored and can put up with the bits that don’t work so well, although in the second I would have got fed up with the school for women spies had it gone on any longer. But all the scenes with just Charlie and Jock are classic!

  2. JacquiWine says:

    This series does sound fun, and I can see the comparison with Wodehouse. The covers are terrific, aren’t they? I recall seeing the series in a bookshop last month and the books really stand out.

      • JacquiWine says:

        Oh, I meant to say, I read your review of The Good Soldier, and it’s great – really interesting! I tried leaving a comment but couldn’t find the box, so I wondered if your post is closed for comments now? (Apologies if I’m being dim in failing to find the box.) In the end, I left another reply to your comment on mine and I’ve added a link to your review.

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