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Don't Point that Thing at Me

(Charlie Mortdecai #1)

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  3,143 ratings  ·  455 reviews
A cult classic in the UK since its first publication there in the 1970s, Don't Point That Thing at Me is the first of a series of hilarious and dark-humored crime thrillers featuring the Honorable Charlie Mortdecai: degenerate aristocrat, amoral art dealer, seasoned epicurean, unwilling assassin, and acknowledged coward.

With his thuggish manservant - the incomparably named
Paperback, 168 pages
Published August 31st 2004 by The Overlook Press (first published 1972)
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Dana Kashubeck I think the book is worth a read, but it IS NOT the same as the movie at all. The book does not have the same bumbling Mortdecai or squeaky-clean Mart…moreI think the book is worth a read, but it IS NOT the same as the movie at all. The book does not have the same bumbling Mortdecai or squeaky-clean Martland -- they are very different characters in the book.(less)

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Average rating 3.32  · 
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 ·  3,143 ratings  ·  455 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hardboiled
”Destroying the painting was out of the question: my soul is all stained and shagged with sin like a cigarette smoker’s moustache but I am quite 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.”

 photo mortdecai-johnny-depp_zpstznovfqc.jpg
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.”

Jason Koivu
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 m
Lance Charnes
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who wonder what Lynley would be like as a self-involved drunk
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 Mortdecai.

Mortdecai is a fringe member of the minor British nobility in the early 1970s. He's a sometime s
Sam Quixote
Jul 14, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine a story told by Paul Whitehouse’s character Rowley Birkin QC - “Blahblahblahblahhorsesblahblahmuttermutterpaintjobrhubarbrhubarbblahblahofcourse… Iwasvery… very… drunk!” - except vastly more 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 the
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny, black-as-night, lit
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 t
Oct 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: black-comedy
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 noir ...more
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 sur
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quirky, 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. ...more
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alex Howard
What starts off as a vaguely interesting plot involving a stolen painting quickly devolves into a boring disjointed narrative where it's difficult to follow any character's motives.

Also, there's nothing redeeming about the main character. There's nothing wrong with having an anti-hero lead, or even a villain, but first-person narrative requires the reader to care at least a little bit about who is telling the story. Charlie Mortdecai is so unlikeable, and his 'I'm rich and drinking all the time'
Sep 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
Abandoned. Ever decide to abandon a book and feel a huge sense of relief?

I hated this on so many levels. Nope.. on ALL levels.

Tedious and irritating.
Jul 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of offbeat crime
A very funny crime novel that is utterly different from most examples of the crime genre. It's an absurdist caper that reminds me a little of *The Chinese Agent* and *The Russian Intelligence*, Michael Moorcock's own forays into the same territory. There are also heavy debts to Firbank and Wodehouse in terms of sheer elegance. But the aura (stench?) of pure thuggishness in Bonfiglioli's writing overwhelms all the ultra-civilised props and effects.

The plot is a bit confusing (and I wonder if it's
Arun Divakar
A portly art dealer, chronic alcoholic, epicurean, sexist and someone with a fine sense of humor- meet Charlie Mortdecai. Sounds like a fun person doesn’t he ? Kind of a warm, fuzzy and yet eccentric old uncle in the family is the first image to spring into your mind but Mr.C is nobody’s uncle. He is the most uncouth rapscallion you will ever get to meet and needless to say, you won’t forget him so easily. The first in the series is a fantastic joy ride into the life and times of Charlie and his ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Don't Point that Thing at Me reads like nothing else. The closest approximation isn't in print: It's the televised Blackadder series, which has a similar misanthropic anti-hero who can't get a break. The hilarious misadventures of amoral, cowardly, selfish but brilliant Charles Mortdecai (get it? death and decay right in the name) is the antidote to any overly saccharine British cozy.

I've just finished Kyril Bonfiglioli's dark debut novel, and I can't wait to read the sequel, After You with the
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: regno-unito
Boring. So-o-o boring.
The excellent choice of words doesn't make up for such a messy plot.
Next book, please
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first half of the book was very good and I enjoyed it a lot, Mortdecai is really peculiar, and I have to admit that I never read a book in which the main character sells stolen masterpieces, I'll try to find more of them, and any advice is welcome! And I liked a lot Jock, too. It's not a kind of character that I usually enjoy, but I liked him a lot!
And the writing was enjoyable, so I thought that all the reading would have been easy and enjoyable, but then came the half of the book and my in
Jonathan-David Jackson
Somewhere in the trash he reads, Martland has read that heavy men walk with surprising lightness and grace; as a result he trips about like a portly elf hoping to be picked up by a leprechaun. In he pranced, all silent and catlike and absurd, buttocks swaying noiselessly.

"Don't get up," he sneered, when he saw that I had no intention of doing so. "I'll help myself, shall I?"

Ignoring the more inviting bottles on the drinks tray, he unerringly snared the great Rodney decanter from underneath an
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was lured into buying this book during a 5 minute dash into London's Daunt books. What lured me in was the recommendation by Stephen Fry on the cover. I will admit to feeling a little a bit cheated, as it's a very odd book indeed and I am very glad that I didn't buy any more of the series on impulse. I read it, but the main character is abhorrent, the plot labyrinthine and impenetrable (and possibly in the end superfluous) and tho' it looks like he dies in the end, apparently he doesn't, as th ...more
Oct 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
It's if PG Wodehouse wrote a thriller. Kyril Bonfiglioli was an extremely talented writer and this book I didn't want to end. Why couldn't it go for another two or three hundred pages. I love the character, and it sort of reminds me of the Alex James memoir. Very charming, lots of drinking, takes life not seriously at all - just what I like in my literature and in my life. Fantastic book to have by your side at all times.
An enjoyable with only a few small flaws the main being the drive threw the american west and the diner stopovers, although I have always found this tedious in any book. Once I get through the second book my star rating may change because the book gave a lot pleasure with the unhinged storyline. Looking forward to the second book of the excellent anti-Wooster and Jock.

Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining little story narrated by art expert (and art thief) Charlie Mortdecai who has stolen a valuable painting and is attempting to transport it to his buyer in America whilst avoiding the attentions of the Police and other nefarious characters who seem to have it in for our 'hero'. Billed on the cover as 'P.G. Wodehouse meets Ian Fleming', whilst I wouldn't necessarily agree with that, it was certainly a light-hearted and amusing read, despite several acts of violence, with a likeable ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
I could give this 2.5 stars. I was just interested in the comparison to Wodehouse, and I didn't look into the content too much before borrowing this from the library... mistake. there was a lot of toilet humor, which I don't care for at all. I don't find it interesting or amusing. there were literary references and moments that I found compelling, but they were few and far between.
Lou Robinson
The protagonist, Mortdecai, is a bit of an arse to be honest. But a pleasant enough little ditty (that took me a surprisingly long time to read for such a short book).
Billy O'Callaghan
Aug 12, 2015 rated it liked it
It seems that Kyril Bonfiglioli, English-born and of Italian and Slovenian descent, drew on his leading character, Charlie Mortdecai, from the muddle of his own alcoholic and trauma-laden life. The son of a drunken Baron and made motherless by the Blitz, his world was a blur of booze, debt, tragedy and failed marriages, with time for a little bit of writing on the side. His half-hearted introductory insistence he that “This is not an autobiographical novel: it is about some other portly, dissolu ...more
Jim Loter
Jan 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Like many, I was only made aware of Bonfiglioli's "Mortdecai" series after seeing the bizarre trailer for the movie adaptation starring Johnny Depp. Though I had no interest in watching a grotesquely mustachioed Depp gallivant around for two hours, I was intrigued enough by the premise of the book series and its being described as a cross between Ian Fleming and P. G. Wodehouse.

Given how singular and brilliant Wodehouse is, it's a risky move for an author to seek out a comparison. And Bonfigliol
Kiri Salazar
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I listened to this as a book on tape (technically book on CD, but that just doesn't roll off the tongue.) I recommend it as an audiobook mostly because the reader did a fabulous job of bringing the character and the somewhat heavy prose to life. Also, it allows you to let some of the more archaic constructs of speech, French or other foreign language excerpts, slip past without hurting the brain too much. Though this doesn't contain spoilers - I do include a perspective for how the novel's endin ...more
May 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The blurb on the front of this compares the book to a combination of PG Wodehouse and Ian Fleming, a comparison that I would say is quite fair; however I would like to throw Tom Sharpe into the mix, simply because the mapcap and cheeky storyline brings to mind some of the escapades of characters like Wilt. Certainly this crime caper about stolen Goyas and murderous policemen owes a lot to Wodehouse, a fact that is made clear my Charlie Mortdecai through his references to Bertie Wooster, and vari ...more
Nov 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy, crime, sarah-o
This slim (160 pages) volume will appeal to the younger crowd & fans of Guy Ritchie movies (Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch). The pacing is pretty quick, but the real draw is the characters. Charlie Mortdecai is a booze-swilling "art dealer" of questionable principles. In spite of, or because of, he is an endearing character. Jock is his thug/butler. Although Jock is simple-minded, he is loyal to Mister Charlie, and the affection between the men is mutual.

Nothing goes right or smooth f
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See similar books…
Kyril Bonfiglioli was variously an art dealer, editor, and writer.

He wrote 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 tende

Other books in the series

Charlie Mortdecai (6 books)
  • Something Nasty in the Woodshed (Charlie Mortdecai, #3)
  • After You with the Pistol
  • The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery
  • The Mortdecai Trilogy (Charlie Mortdecai #1-3)
  • The Mortdecai ABC: A Bonfiglioli Reader

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