Words: kangaroo, n.

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
THE BAR-PARLOUR of the Angler's Rest has been animated by wine flowing in celebration of Kyril Bonfiglioli's posthumous novel. Readers always urge his tastefully lurid Mortdecai trilogy upon anybody nearby. No sooner had Julian Barnes done so a while ago than I made Francis Wheen seek it out, and Craig Brown has now supplied a missing chapter for the fourth novel.

Bonfiglioli relished words. His assertion that an Aborigine meant "I don't know" when asked the name of the kangaroo is misleading, but there is much edification - and a puzzle that Mortdecai says, "I have never quite known what the word `eldritch' means." Ghostly, as in noise. Scottish, but not in Macbeth, its origins are obscure; perhaps from elf, as it is also elphrish.