Don’t Point that Thing at Me

Don't Point that Thing at MeDon't Point that Thing at Me by Kyril Bonfiglioli
Series: Charlie Mortdecai #1
Publisher: Weidenfeld and Nicolson
Released: January 1, 1972
Pages: 168
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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 Jock Strapp - Mortdecai endures all manner of nastiness involving stolen paintings, a vintage Rolls Royce, secret police, a whirlwind trip to the United States, a dead client, and a ravishing and wealthy young widow...all just to make a dishonest living. He's not one to pass up a drink - or too many - and he prides himself on being stylishly dressed for whatever occasion may present itself, no matter how debauched. Don't miss this brilliant mixture of comedy, crime, and suspense.

I have no idea how this book made it onto my to-read list, but it did. And, as I found it to be quite enjoyable, I’m happy it did.
Don’t Point that Thing at Me is the first of three instalments making up the diary of Mr. Mortdecai, a dodgy art dealer. As a consequence of his dodgy art dealings he runs into quite a bit of trouble, or rather, it runs into him. The story itself is rather silly, probably deliberately so, but I felt that it crossed the line into becoming just a little too silly. The strength of the book is the irreverent one liners, along with the brilliant descriptions of objects, places, characters and moods. It’s easy, and at least somewhat justified, to compare the style of the book to Wodehouse (especially since Jeeves and Wooster are liberally referred to throughout the book). Though, unlike the funny complexities and intrigues that make up stories by Wodehouse, the story in this book seemed to be used primarily as a device for putting the characters into certain situations. This is a pity, as the brilliance of the writing could otherwise have made for an exceptional read, rather than just a good one. Still, it was a fun ride. And, as it is the first book in a trilogy, perhaps the other two books will give me some of the twists and turns this didn’t.

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