I picked up Don’t Point That Thing at Me by Kyril Benfiglioli before the Mortdecai film came out. You see, it was described on the front cover as being “an unholy collaboration between PG Wodehouse and Ian Fleming” by no less than the New Yorker, so I thought I’d give it a go. A quick flick through the first few pages promised amusement of a peculiarly British variety.
Charlie Mortdecai, a portly, dishonest art dealer (not in any way, shape or form based on Benfiglioli, also an art dealer) is in trouble. Chief Superintendent Martland of Scotland Yard thinks Mortdecai has something to do with a recently stolen Goya painting. Which isn’t a bad guess, as it turns out.
I read this book with Johnny Depp in mind as the casting for Mortdecai. It worked well. Much better than the film, of which I barely managed fifteen minutes. Which is a shame. It could have been so good, but I’m not sure the scriptwriters or producers or whomever has actually read the book.
There were some things I liked about this book. The particular strain of humour, for instance. The description of Martland being “like a portly elf hoping to be picked up by a leprechaun”, for example.
But, I haven’t rushed out to find the rest of the Mortdecai books. Maybe I will one day, but I’m in no hurry. And I doubt I shall finish the film.