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) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Here is another in Bonfiglioli's comic mystery series featuring the lecherous Charlie Mortdecai. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.