So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Modesty Blaise

Modesty Blaise by Peter O'Donnell
Modesty Blaise started out as a comic strip character created by Peter O'Donnell in 1963. The comics were produced until 2001, and O'Donnell wrote a 13 book series of novels and collections of short stories that started with this book in 1965 and ended in 1996. There have even been two or three movies made featuring her character. I became intrigued with the series when I saw the 2004 movie My Name Is Modesty starring Alexandra Staden.
In this first novel, we meet Modesty after she has retired with a fortune from a life in the underworld. Her loyal sidekick Willie Garvin has gotten himself into trouble, and a couple of British agents let her know his situation hoping that in return she will help them with a situation that can use her particular talents. After saving Willie, she agrees to help the agents with a payoff to a Middle Eastern sheik of 10 million British Pounds worth of diamonds being transferred from South Africa. When two of their agents are killed, they fear that the jewels are being targeted for a heist along the way.
The story was written 50 years ago, and it may not appeal to a younger audience. O'Donnell pays great attention to detail, creates a strong female lead character, and has a skill at developing interesting secondary characters throughout the story. Similar in appeal to the early James Bond novels.


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