Cover image for Pure dead brilliant
Pure dead brilliant
Gliori, Debi.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, [2003]

Physical Description:
262 pages ; 22 cm
Time travel, a computer virus that's deadly to humans, and other strange things begin to happen when some would-be witches come to stay with the eccentric Strega-Borgia family.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 7.5 11.0 74698.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
XX(1250480.11) Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



There's trouble brewing at StregaSchloss! When Signora Strega-Borgia invites some would-be witches to stay, weird things begin to happen. Pandora can't resist the temptation of time travel. Titus picks up a strange--and deadly--computer virus. And it looks like they may have to trade in the family riches for a family curse. Are they falling under the witches' spell? Or is the ghost of the Strega-Borgias' past coming back to haunt them all?

Author Notes

Author and illustrator Debi Gliori was born in 1959 in Glasgow, Scotland. She went to school there as well and studied design and illustration at Edinburgh College of Art. She received an Andrew Grant traveling scholarship to go to Milan for a year. Gliori is best known for her work with children's books. Her picture book Mr. Bear to the Rescue won the Children's Book Award and was short listed for the Kate Greenaway Prize. Where, Oh Where, is Baby Bear? was shortlisted for the Sainsbury's Baby Book Award in 2001. Always and Forever, written by Alan Durant and illustrated by Debi Gliori, was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2003. Her work has also been shortlisted for the Scottish Arts Council Award (for Pure Dead Wicked in 2003), and for the Royal Mail Award, for Stormy Weather in 2010.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-7. The author of Pure Dead Wicked (2002) offers another fast-paced, grossly hilarious adventure featuring the Scottish Strega-Borgia clan. In this tale, Titus eagerly awaits an inheritance, sorcery students from his mother's witchcraft classes come to stay at Castle StregaSchoss, and sister Pandora discovers a clock able to transport its possessor through time. The clock proves very useful in helping Titus to see the downside of having too much money, but it takes the skills of the children's nanny, Flora McLachlan, and assorted other household beasts to purge the castle of numerous dastardly villains. Gliori's writing is both witty and extremely complex; as a result, only more astute readers will catch all the humor. Most kids, however, can appreciate the eccentric charm of the cast, specially the secondary characters--among them, evil uncle Lucifer, who squeaks like a mouse; and Damp, Titus' two-year-old sister, who is already a better witch than her mother will ever be. Give this to fans of Roald Dahl, Charles Addams, and Lemony Snicket. --Kay Weisman Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In Pure Dead Brilliant, Debi Gliori's follow-up to Pure Dead Magic and Pure Dead Wicked, things are as chaotic as ever at the family castle StregaSchloss. Twelve-year-old Titus is about to inherit his grandfather's entire fortune-if his Uncle Lucifer doesn't get his hands on it instead, and strange things start happening when Titus's mother invites her witch classmates to visit. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-Young readers will be "dging fain" at the arrival of the third installment of the zany adventures of the Strega-Borgia clan. Young Titus is about to inherit a massive fortune from his mafioso grandfather, and his family won't leave him alone. Between their mother's witchy houseguests-one of whom might well be plotting evil-and a definitely evil uncle's nefarious plans to get the fortune for himself, the Strega-Borgias barely have time to breathe, and the Beasts in residence are once again in rare form. Gliori's excellent turn of phrase and sense of humor will instantly draw readers into the mystical world of StregaSchloss and its inhabitants. Readers will roar as each page turns and new, even more preposterous scenarios arise. The "Gliossary" in the back is also a helpful touch for the wee laddies and lassies new to Scottish slang. Filled with fun phrasing and plenty of scatological bits thrown in for good measure, the story is sure to be popular with fans of the first two outings.-Elaine Baran Black, Gwinnett County Public Library, Lawrenceville, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Kiss of Death Titus decided that if there were a button to press that would cause his sister to reincarnate as a cockroach, he would push it without a moment's hesitation. He stood outside her bedroom door, seething, as he read the notice taped to the oak paneling: Pandora's Room entry is absolutely forbidden to any of the following: brothers dweebs possessors of smelly pits & dog's breath one-celled amoebas with memory of goldfish smug, rich jerks the terminally plug-ugly the criminally insane and especially the vertically challenged over 12 yrs. Titus, all of the above describe you, so bog off. Yours Cordially, Pandora Strega-Borgia Pandora's Room StregaSchloss Argyll Scotland United Kingdom Europe Western Hemisphere Earth The Universe The Galaxy "Just because I'm about to inherit all Grandfather Borgia's money and you're broke doesn't mean you have to be so aggressive." Titus's voice bounced off the door and down the landing, but brought no answering response from within. He pressed his mouth up to the keyhole and tried again. "Some people just can't handle other people's good fortune, can they, Pandora?" Over his head, dangling from the cornice, Pandora's pet tarantula, Tarantella, gave out an exasperated "Tchhhh." Titus looked up and shuddered. There was something about the scuttling nature of spiders that revolted him. This one in particular, with her swollen abdomen, gave him nightmares. Titus loathed the entire spider race with a deep and abiding passion. Their gross hairiness, their appetite for flies, their-- The tarantula grinned widely, as if reading his thoughts. "Like it?" she inquired, puckering up her lipsticked mouth parts into a pout. "It's a new one. Now, what's it called . . . ?" Tarantella rummaged under her abdomen with one hairy leg and produced a minuscule lipstick. "Let me see . . . 'Blood-Lust.' Mmm-hmm. Come on, Titus, I know you find me irresistible, give us a kiss. . . ." With a barely stifled shriek, Titus fled downstairs. Trembling, he burst through the kitchen door and was immediately assailed by a stench that defied description. The beasts were already at breakfast and, judging by the state of the kitchen, had been eating for several hours. Sprawled across the kitchen table, Ffup, the teenage dragon, had her vast head buried in her talons. "Don't say it," she warned, gazing down at Titus with her vast golden eyes. "Just don't say it, right? I've been up all night with that wee horror, and now he sits there, wolfs down forty-eight Miserablios, three boxes of Ricey Krispettes, and then does a major dump, downloading the lot into his pants. I tell you, pal, I'm not cut out for this motherhood stuff. I hate changing diapers, and . . ." The dragon paused, peered under her baby's high chair, and whimpered, "Yup, just as I thought, it's a shovel job." "Spare me the details," muttered Titus, edging past Ffup and patting her offending infant on his scaly little head. "Phwoarr, Nestor, you stink, don't you?" The baby gazed up at Titus and grinned gummily, clapping his tiny wings above his head and lashing his snake-like tail back and forth by way of greeting. This had the unfortunate consequence of launching most of the contents of his overloaded diaper into orbit. "Stop. Stop. STOP!" wailed Ffup. "Oh, yeurrrch. I can't handle this. . . . Knot! knot? Come on, help me out here." Emerging from the pantry with a sheepish grin, Knot the yeti shuffled across the kitchen to stare hopefully at his fellow beasts. The yeti's perpetually unsanitary fur was clotted with fetid lumps of food that had somehow failed to make the journey to his mouth. He wrinkled up his fur in the general area of his nose, sniffed deeply in sincerest appreciation of the odors in the kitchen, and sighed in happy anticipation. "Nestor has a wee something for you," muttered Ffup, burying her nostrils in a coffee cup. "Freshly laid, still warm . . ." "Give me strength," gagged Titus, turning his back on this revolting inter-beast exchange. "Mmm-yummy," observed Knot, dipping an experimental paw in the puddle under Nestor's high chair. Titus moaned softly and closed his eyes. Knot sniffed, unrolled his lengthy spotted tongue, and sampled a little morsel. "Naww," he pronounced, at length. "Bit overripe, that one. Nope. Don't fancy it much." "Don't be so picky," said Ffup. "Be a gent. Help me out. Just close your eyes and think of Gorgonzola. Pleeeeease?" Knot wiped his paw on his tummy and scratched his armpit thoughtfully. "If you don't mind, I'll pass," he mumbled, clearly uncomfortable at the prospect of letting Ffup down. "I'm not really too hungry right this minute." "Well, I'm starving," said Pandora, arriving in the kitchen by way of the door to the herb garden. "Phwoarr. Urghhh. What's that stench?" "Here we go again," sighed Ffup, glaring at her baby son. "See what you've done?" "'Morning, all." Pandora kicked off her rubber boots and came over to warm herself beside Titus at the range. "Are we all pretending that there isn't a vast pile of dragon poo on the floor over there, or is someone going to clean it up?" "Ffup is," said Titus. "Aren't you, Ffup?" "What? And ruin my manicured talons?" squeaked the dragon. "You can't be serious. These took me ages." Hoping for female sympathy, she extended one paw for Pandora's inspection. Each of her seven talons was painted a lurid sugar-pink. "Pretty, aren't they?" Ffup smirked, examining her paw with satisfaction, turning it this way and that, all the better to catch the light. Mrs. Flora McLachlan, nanny to Titus and Pandora, entered the kitchen with their baby sister, Damp, in her arms. Smelling something truly awful and assuming that it was about to be her breakfast, the little girl buried her face in the nanny's shoulder and gave a little moan. "Good heavens, is that the time?" Mrs. McLachlan peered at the mantelpiece clock in dismay. "My bedside clock isn't keeping very good time, and the alarm didn't go off." Then, as she became aware of the odor in the kitchen, she added, "Ffup, dear, I'm sure you're aware that Nestor needs a diaper change. D'you think you could stop admiring your manicure, stir your stumps, and do it before your mistress comes downstairs for breakfast?" From the Trade Paperback edition. Excerpted from Pure Dead Brilliant by Debi Gliori All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.