the High Priestess of Pulp Crime:
“In the past fourty-eight hours a poison capsule had been cut out of her body; she had thought Willie dead, found he was alive and fought a carefully faked duel; she had made a four-hour swim, paddled a canoe for six hours, slept for ten, tested her shoulder in combat, made complex plans and preparations. And now…”
When you read it like that, it all seems highly improbable, which is sort of the point. Reading it in context, however, it doesn’t seem quite so implausible, which is down to O’Donnell’s exquisite attention to ensuring every detail is accurate, and his uncanny knack of creating one scary, cold-blooded villain after another.
I’ve never seen any of the cinema adaptations that currently exist, but I’ve often though that Modesty Blaise was a character just crying out for a proper cinematic adaptation: a truly strong independent woman who could give a sexy high-kick along with the best of them, and guarantee more action than that boring old chauvanist James Bond (of whom I will be writing about in future posts, of course).
(One thing I’ve noticed is that many of the online tributes to O’Donnell mention that Modesty Blaise is known as the High Priestess of Pulp, which is why I used it as the post-title, but I’ve been unable to discover who first coined that epithet — does anyone know?)
Filed under: British, Spy, Thriller Tagged: cinema adaptations, Modesty Blaise, Pan Books, Peter O’Donnell