Peter Sellers was evil." That's the final judgment biographer Roger Lewis passes on his subject. As drastic as it sounds, his book makes a good case for that conclusion. An almost exhaustive chronicle of Peter Sellers' rise from obscurity and decline into dementia, Lewis narrates his story in an almost exhausted voice. And it's no wonder: For all the genius he possessed as a mimic and the skill he exercised at creating memorable characters, Sellers, by his own admission, did not seem to possess a personality of his own—and certainly not the type that makes biography an easy task. Lewis repeats this point frequently, and illustrates it with telling examples of Sellers' extremes: from a consuming, unrequited and very public obsession with Sophia Loren, to violent tantrums directed against his wives (and their pets); from late-night phone calls to Blake Edwards, assuring him that God had instructed him how to perform a scene he had botched before, to his mean-spirited disposal of past acquaintances, including his own children. Never one to accept responsibility, Sellers sought justification in the esoteric, at one time having a laboriously constructed set destroyed because it was an unlucky color. Sentimental one moment, Sellers could become a bully the next, almost as if he merely had to discard one role for another. Lewis' biography hops around chronologically—elaborating many points with antecdotes from his film roles and his later life—but it never seems disconnected. He insightfully manages to make as much sense as possible of a brilliant but often repulsive life.