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Kyril Bonfiglioli

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Title: Kyril Bonfiglioli  
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Subject: Science Fantasy (magazine), Sanders of Oxford, M. John Harrison, Craig Brown (satirist), People by year/Reports/No other categories/1/Bo
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Kyril Bonfiglioli

Kyril Bonfiglioli (born Cyril Emmanuel George Bonfiglioli; 29 May 1928 – 3 March 1985) was an English art-dealer, actor, science fiction editor, champion swordsman, and comic novelist.


  • Life and career 1
  • Charlie Mortdecai novels 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Life and career

He was born in Eastbourne on the south coast of England to an Italo-Slovene father, Emmanuel Bonfiglioli, and English mother, Dorothy née Pallett. 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 Lancashire, Jersey and Ireland. He died in Jersey of cirrhosis of the liver in 1985. He had five children. He claimed to be loved and respected by all who knew him slightly. Known for being eccentric and witty, his Mortdecai novels have attained cult status since his death.[1][2]

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 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.

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.[1][2] Hugh Laurie praised "the excellent Kyril Bonfigliolo" (sic) in the afternotes of his book The Gun Seller.

The three original books:

  • Don't Point That Thing At Me (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1973) Book One
  • Something Nasty In The Woodshed (Macmillan, 1976) Book Two
  • After You With The Pistol (Secker and Warburg, 1979) 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. Mortdecai, a film based on the books directed by David Koepp and starring Johnny Depp in the title role, was released in January 2015.


  1. ^ a b "Don’t Point That Thing at Me by Kyril Bonfiglioli". Sunday Times. Retrieved 17 October 2014
  2. ^ a b "Forgotten authors No 56: Kyril Bonfiglioli". The independent. Retrieved 17 October 2014

External links

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