DEAD MAN'S HANDLE by Peter O'Donnell

DEAD MAN'S HANDLE

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Modesty Blaise--karate whirlwind, super-thief, female James Bond--made the leap to fiction from her (still-running) comic strip in 1965, and 12 books later is still going strong. Not Miss Congeniality, but good to have around when push comes to shove, as longtime sidekick Willie Garyin discovers when he's kidnapped and brainwashed by an evil religious nut. Thaddeus Pilgrim is a supremely unpleasant genius/maniac in the Goldfinger mode who lives on the secluded Greek island of Kalivari, and runs a religious cult called the Hostel of Righteousness--for a fee his followers ""answer prayers"" by committing murder and mayhem all over the world. Mistakenly assuming Modesty's old buddy Willie is onto their operation, the Hostel kills his girlfriend, Molly Chen, and drags Willie back to Kalivari, where the nefarious Czech Dr. Janos Tyl uses narco-hypnosis to implant in him the notion that Modesty is actually a ruthless assassin named Delilah, who must be killed on sight. On hearing of the abduction, Modesty races to Kalivari from her country home in England (where she's been living in semiretirement since dismantling her international crime network some years ago) and falls fight into the trap, but to everyone's surprise, Willie's loyalty to her overcomes the brainwashing, and he's unable to attack. Stock in Dr. Tyl plummets, but the ever-practical Pilgrim decides to ""invite"" the dynamic duo along on what promises to be his biggest score: an insurance seam called the Hallelujah Scenario, during the course of which he plans to blow up an oil tanker, crew and all. Modesty and Willie pretend to agree, but manage to use the island radio to summon help, which arrives in the form of her old gang: the libidinous Danny Chavasse, the wily Greek crook Krolli, Willie's tough-as-nails former heartthrob, Maude Tiller, et al. The siren song of Uzis is heard in the land; and when the smoke clears, Pilgrim and his ilk are vanquished for good. Longish in places where O'Donnell feels the need to bring new readers up to date on Modesty's doings, but mostly great, slick fun.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1986
ISBN: 0285637274
Publisher: Mysterious Press--dist. by Farrar, Straus & Giroux