The QI Book of the Dead

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The QI Book of the Dead
The QI Book of the Dead.jpg
The UK cover.
AuthorJohn Lloyd
John Mitchinson
CountryUnited Kingdom
PublisherFaber and Faber
Publication date
5 November 2009
Media typeHardback
Preceded byAdvanced Banter 
Followed byThe Second Book of General Ignorance 

The QI Book of the Dead (sold as The Book of the Dead in the United States) is the fourth title in a series of books based on the intellectual British panel game QI, written by series-creator John Lloyd and head-researcher John Mitchinson. It is a book of "quite interesting" obituaries.

Publication history[edit]

The QI Book of the Dead was first published by Faber and Faber in hardback on 5 November 2009.[1] The idea of the book originated before the television series QI was broadcast. Mitchinson wrote in an article for the Daily Telegraph newspaper that, "It first appeared on one of our "how to make life more interesting" lists at a time when Stephen Fry's erudite put-downs and the anteater impressions of Alan Davies weren't even gleams in Lloyd's eye."[2]


The book is divided into 10 chapters, covering 68 different people.[2] However, instead of dividing the chapters into subjects normally found in such books, like "Royalty", "Scientists" and "Sportsmen", The QI Book of the Dead uses "more diverting categories". Examples include "There's Nothing Like a Bad Start in Life", covering people who had bad childhoods; "Man Cannot Live by Bread Alone", about people with unusual diets; and "Is That All There Is?" about people interested in life after death.[1][2]


Ian Wolf for the British Comedy Guide was mostly positive with his review, saying: "The QI Book of the Dead is definitely an enjoyable read, and makes for a great gift idea. For one thing, it allows us to look back and learn on the mistakes of our ancestors. Amongst those ancestors are Confucius and Nefertiti, whom everyone in the world is related to... interesting, isn't it!"[3]

However, Wolf also wrote that the book made mistakes. He wrote that the book wrongly claimed that Lord Shelburne was Prime Minister, when in fact he was First Lord of the Treasury, with the title of "Prime Minister" not being used to describe the leader of the British government until a century after Shelburne died by Henry Campbell-Bannerman.[3]


The people covered in The QI Book of the Dead are as follows.[4]

Chapter Title Subject People
1 There's Nothing like a Bad Start in Life People with unhappy childhoods
2 Happy-go-lucky People who were always happy
3 Driven The highly motivated
4 Let's Do It The sex mad
5 Man Cannot Live by Bread Alone People with strange diets
6 Grin and Bear It The pain ridden and disabled
7 The Monkey-Keepers People who kept pet monkeys
8 Who Do You Think You Are? Impostors
9 Once You're Dead, You're Made for Life People who died penniless
10 Is That All There Is? People interested in life after death


  1. ^ a b Wolf, Ian. "'QI' Merchandise". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 14 October 2009.
  2. ^ a b c Mitchinson, John (24 November 2009). "QI Book of the Dead - exclusive extracts from the brains behind the tv show". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 November 2009.
  3. ^ a b Wolf, Ian (1 December 2009). "The QI Book of the Dead Review". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
  4. ^ Lloyd, John; Mitchinson, John (5 November 2009). The QI Book of the Dead. London: Faber and Faber. pp. v–vi. ISBN 978-0-571-24490-4.

Further reading[edit]