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Something Nasty in the Woodshed: A Charlie Mortdecai Mysteryby Kyril Bonfiglioli
Synopses & Reviews
Readers and critics alike are toasting the American appearance of Kyril Bonfiglioli's wickedly funny cult mysteries, first published in the UK in the 1970s. Featuring the Honorable Charlie Mortdecai — degenerate aristocrat, amoral art dealer, seasoned epicurean, unwilling assasin, and general knave-about-Piccadilly — Something Nasty In the Woodshed is, chronologically, the third in the Mortdecai trilogy, after Don't Point That Thing at Me and After You With the Pistol, although written second.
The players are, once again, Charlie, Johanna, and Jock (the thuggish anti-Jeeves), and there is plenty of liquor, lasciviousness, and filthy lucre to keep the plot turning. As Stephen Fry put it, "You couldn't snuggle under the duvet with anything more disreputable and delightful."
"This third installment of the scintillating British mystery series originally published in the U.K. in the 1970s finds shady art dealer Charlie Mortdecai, randy wife Johanna and butler Jock, a 'one-eyed, one-fanged' ex-convict, sojourning on the isle of Jersey. The setting provides many targets — drunken peasants, rich tourists, quaint French customs, unintelligible patois — for Charlie's jaundiced drolleries. His omnidirectional disdain is intruded upon by a string of brutal rapes, with Satanic ritual overtones, that victimize his neighbors and embroil him in a farcical investigation featuring fruitless stakeouts and a Black Mass. Through it all, Charlie keeps his priorities straight: avoiding personal danger and inconvenience and ensuring that the flow of food and alcohol is never interrupted. Bonfiglioli's comic invention and lacerating, politically incorrect humor are in brilliant form, but they take on a somewhat rancid edge in this outing. Unlike the innocuous art thievery that figured in Don't Point That Thing at Me, Bonfiglioli's first volume, serial rape is the wrong background for the facetiousness and light misogyny that characterizes Charlie's satirical voice. Weighed down by this dissonance, the laughs finally falter and the story ends on a dark note of trauma and suicide. Fans of Charlie's dissolute charm and outrageous wit will find it, but some readers may decide that certain crimes just aren't funny. (July 5)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The effortless brio of Mortdecai's narration and the outrageousness of his prejudices have insured a following for the Mortdecai novels even while they have been out of print." Leo Carey, The New Yorker
"Mortdecai is a deceitful art dealer, ferocious coward, and relentless dipsomaniac. He's also a liquor-soaked Lazarus whose resurrection should be the source of many hosannas." New York Post
"A rare mixture of wit and imaginative unpleasantness." Julian Barnes
About the Author
Kyril Bonfiglioli (1928-85) was an art dealer, accomplished fencer, a fair shot with most weapons, and a serial marrier of beautiful women. He claimed to be "abstemious in all things except drink, food, tobacco, and talking," and "loved and respected by all who knew him slightly."
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