Kyril Bonfiglioli

British art dealer

Cyril Emmanuel George Bonfiglioli (29 May 19283 March 1985) was an English art-dealer, science fiction editor, champion swordsman, and comic novelist. His name, which reflects his English, Italian and Slovene descent, was revised to Kyril Bonfiglioli. He claimed to be loved and respected by all who knew him slightly.



The Mortdecai Trilogy


Published out of chronological order

Don't Point That Thing At Me (1972)


The title of the first US edition was Mortdecai’s Endgame

  • 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.
    • Ch. 1.
  • I could almost hear him scrabbling about in his brain for a deft, light opening. His Oscar Wilde touch. Martland has only two personalities – Wilde and Eeyore.
    • Ch. 1.
  • "No no, Jock…we're going to push him out of a window. Your bedroom window, I think. Yes, and we'll undress him first and say that he was making advances to you and jumped out of the window in a frenzy of thwarted love."
    "I say, Charlie, really, what a filthy rotten idea; I mean, think of my wife."
    "I never think of policemen's wives, their beauty maddens me like wine."
    • Ch. 3.
  • Why do people build houses to keep the climate out, then cut holes in the walls to let it in again? I shall never understand.
    • Ch. 3.
  • The coffee having arrived (how hard it is to write without the ablative absolute!) we guzzled genteelly for a while...
    • Ch. 4.
  • He had made one mistake in an otherwise flawless performance: he hadn't told me his name. Have you ever exchanged three words with an American without being told his name?
    • Ch. 8.
  • Ten minutes later I was in an enormous taxi-cab, an air-conditioned one, hired for the day for fifty dollars; it seems an awful lot, I know, but money's worth awfully little over there, you'd be surprised. It's because there's so much of it, you see.
    • Ch. 9.
  • It was still only nine o'clock when I set off on the last leg of my journey, feeling old and dirty and incapable. You probably know the feeling if you are over eighteen.
    • Ch. 13.
  • "Goodness," I babbled, "but how awful for you. Not drinking, I mean. I mean, imagine getting up in the morning knowing that you're not going to feel any better all day".
    • Ch. 13.
  • To be on foot in the United States is only immoral, not illegal.
    • Ch. 14.

After You With The Pistol (1979)

  • I don't much care about tea-drinking in the afternoon; in the morning the stuff Jock brings to me in bed is like that Nepenthe which the wife of Thone gave to Jove-born Helena, but in the p.m. it always makes me think of Ganges mud in which crocodiles have been coupling.
    • Ch. 5.
  • The cold pork in the fridge was wilting at the edges; it and I exchanged looks of mutual contempt, like two women wearing the same hat in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot.
    • Ch. 7.
  • "You would now be an enemy, in the third class, of my own organization."
    "Only third class?" I asked in the indignant tones which Queen Victoria surely used when she received the Abyssinian Order of Chastity, Second Class.
    • Ch. 16.
  • It will be a sad day for the world when the Oriental gent realizes that Western bumbling is only Eastern guile in a different idiom. Well, a lot of it, anyway.
    • Ch. 17.
  • Sleep slunk up like a black panther and sank its kindly fangs into what remained of the Mortdecai brain.
    • Ch. 17.
  • Fate's fickle finger was feeling for my fundament.
    • Ch. 20.
  • I have this heavy addiction to life and I'm told that the withdrawal symptoms are shocking.
    • Ch. 21.

Something Nasty in the Woodshed (1976)

  • A moral coward, you see, is simply someone who has read the fine print on the back of his Birth Certificate and seen the little clause which says "You can't win."
    • Ch. 16.

All the Tea in China (1978)

  • You will learn nothing of importance from this story except, perhaps, how to die; but then, you were born knowing that and in any case it only has to be done once. It is easy: ask anyone who has done it.
    • Ch. 1.
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