Kyril Bonfiglioli


Kyril Bonfiglioli

Kyril Bonfiglioli (29 May 1928 - 3 March 1985) was born Cyril Emmanuel George Bonfiglioli in Eastbourne, to an Italo-Slovene father, Emmanuel Bonfiglioli, and English mother, Dorothy née Pallett. Having served in the army from 1947 to 1952, and been widowed, he applied to Balliol College, Oxford where he took his degree. He was variously an art dealer in Oxford, UK, an editor, and a writer. After his divorce from his second wife he lived in Lancashire, Jersey and Ireland. He died in Jersey of cirrhosis of the liver in 1985. He had five children.

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.

'Charlie Mortdecai' series

He wrote nearly four books featuring Charlie Mortdecai, three of which were published in his lifetime, and one posthumously as completed by the satirist 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 books are still in print and have been translated into several different languages including Spanish, French, Italian, German and Japanese.

Bonfiglioli's style and novel structure have often been favorably compared to that 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.

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

The three original books:

  • Don't Point That Thing At Me (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1972)
  • Something Nasty In The Woodshed (Macmillan, 1976)
  • After You With The Pistol (Secker and Warburg, 1979)

Anthologised in:

  • The Mortdecai Trilogy (Black Spring Press, 1991)

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

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

The posthumously completed sequel:

Quotes & References

The dry satire and black humour of the books, are (highly) favorably reviewed by the New Yorker and others. Some quotes may be found on WikiQuote, to sample the flavour.

Three of the Mortdecai titles, are also featured in 'Fish Who Answer the Telephone' -- a compendium of bizarre books & titles.

External links