Johnny's movies

New covers and new life for Charlie Mortdecai’s books

Posted in Uncategorized by Anna Maria Polidori on June 9, 2014

Penguin and the new (what a joy!) Charlie Mortdecai’s covers by Luke Pearson


Finally they did it, horay! New fresh and stunning covers for Kyril Bonfiglioli and his Charlie Mortdecai‘s books.

The previous ones by Penguin hope they will forgive me for writing this, were pretty insignificant.


I have two used used copies by The Mortdecai Trilogy

and once I tried to see in the net if there were more recent editions. I discovered that the covers by Penguin weren’t incredibly attractive and to me they didn’t represent completely the world of criminality, suspense, and dark humor that can be found in these books. 

I guess I had to be in good company considering Penguin recently decided to republish all the five books written by Bonfiglioli with different and more colored covers, asking to the cartoonist and illustrator Luke Pearson some help.

The work done is simply wonderful and every cover of every book is stunningly beauty, attractive and I am sure it will be a commercial success.

As we all know Johnny Depp

Image (here blonde for filming Charlie Mortdecai)

Image (Johnny, Charlie Mortdecai on the set. Thanks to Lory for the pic).



will be on theater with The Mortdecai Trilogy this next february 6th 2015. The movie was filmed last september ’til december in London with some scenes filmed in Los Angeles, Usa. The movie at the moment is in post-production.

The movie is based on Kyril Bonfiglioli’s trilogy called The Mortdecai Trilogy and the tales included are: “Don’t point that thing at me“,




After you with the pistol





Something nasty in the woodshed



The first book written by Kyril Bonfiglioli and involving an ancestor by Charlie Mortdecai is:

All the tea in China



and the one published after his death and completed by the satirist Craig Brown

The great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery




The book was released in 1999. This Penguin’s cover like all the other ones, stunning.



The first book by the trilogy Don’t Point That Thing at Me, reprinted by Penguin is out now.


Kyril Bonfiglioli was a great PG Wodehouse‘s Image fan so he wrote the books being constantly inspired by this personal hero.

Kyril Bonfiglioli tried to re-create with Charlie Mortdecai and Jock a couple like the one of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, his wonderful butler.

So are there direct similarities? Yes, absolutely although Charlie Mortdecai is very distant talking about intelligence, from Bertie.

To me the one inspired Bonfiglioli for Charlie’s character could be only Bertie’s butler: Jeeves.

Let’s imagine with a little story, just  few lines I invented right now what would happen if Jeeves would be a cruel butler and Bertie, well ok Bertie would remain a sort of victim of the situations. Impossible to change him. It would be a great pity. A man, Bertie, unfortunately unable to be an eagle like Jeeves is.




Someone has been killed….

Jeeves: “Sir, hope it’s fine with you but although without permission I killed your friend”.

Bertie:  “Oh, really? Mamma mia you did it? It had to be so scaring Jeeves”.

Jeeves: “Absolutely sir. It was a pretty horrible thing to do I admit it and I wouldn’t want to live it another time in this life. But I had to do that. He wasn’t a great companion for you and you started to be too much insofferent with him close to you”.

Bertie: “Jeeves you are always right”.

Jeeves: “Thank you, sir”.




Jeeves’ darkest side maybe would be able to act like it.

Exactly as Charlie Mortdecai would love to act like it. But under a much more dark perspective. And Charlie is a soul where there is not any tendency for redemption. Charlie is without compassion but he is plenty of cruelty.


The main differences between Bonfiglioli’s duo and Bertie and Jeeves?

Charlie is absolutely more brilliant than his butler, although Charlie Mortdecai’s butler Jock Strapp will be incredibly dark and will kill and will and act as a real criminal in every possible situations where of course his cruel help is requested. He won’t be an eagle but he will be an executor in most cases of Charlie’s orders. Yes a good pair.

In the couple Bertie-Jeeves, of course it’s Jeeves the butler the leader of the situation and the smart one.

Bonfiglioli in a way has extremized his life to, putting a lot of him in Charlie’s character. Charlie is rich, Bonfiglioli was poor, Charlie is an art dealer. Bonfiglioli was an art dealer. Charlie doesn’t love law a lot, and is flexible in that sense just for using an euphemism. Same was for Bonfiglioli. Sometimes, of course.

But when and why was approached by Penguin Luke Pearson as illustrator ? Richard Bravery designer by Penguin contacted him considering that Pearson had previously drawn the cover for the publisher’s Essentials edition of Kingsley Amis’ Lucky Jim.

Pearson was so excited and accepted immediately this job.


” I quickly read the first book Don’t Point That Thing at Me, and designed a cover that I felt suited the tone of it, something that described the character and felt comic, with various hints of violence and a nasty edge. I assumed that the books would continue in a similar vein and that the covers could follow this one’s lead somehow” he told in an interview appeared on

But…the latest book of The Mortdecai Trilogy Something nasty in the Woodshed was more difficult. Although the character is the same “That one is a completely different kind of book, weirdly out of step with the others and way, way darker”.

To the illustrator it felt it would be wrong if the third books didn’t look: “Distinctly different to the first book so I tried to design it in the same way I did the first, more or less thinking about it in isolation. I figured that if I could make the rest of them feel tied to both of these somehow, then they’d feel like a set”.

Pearson tried to make them feel uniform, real attractive, and every cover will tell the soul of the book.

There is not a Charlie Mortdecai’s face in these books. The reasons?


Pearson said: “Well they’re strong books. They can be comical books but of a dark comicity”.
Maybe it was better to leave the face…alone.


“Charlie Mortdecai’s face and those of other characters are so prominent. I’m very happy with it as a design, but I know that reading it for the first time with that cover, those faces are going to be in your mind from the start and I don’t know if I like that. I think having a hazy, uncertain view of what the protagonist looks like allows you to subconsciously put yourself in their shoes more easily, or at least come to conclusions that are more personal”.


Don’t Point That Thing at Me is out now for just 7 pounds and 99.

Have a good reading!


Anna Maria Polidori





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