PIECES OF MODESTY by Peter O'Donnell


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A six-pack of short stories (dating from the early 70's) detailing the adventures of O'Donnell's never-aging superheroine, Modesty Blaise--smoothly competent, in the main, but nothing special. The fictions here are essentially miniatures of the kind of caper yarn O'Donnell has spun in his 12 novels on Modesty and her buddy, Willie Garvin. In ""A Better Way to Die,"" Modesty, a peace-loving minister, and a busload of school children axe captured by fierce South American Banditos, only to be saved by Willie. In the best--and funniest--story in the collection (""The Giggle-Wrecker""), Modesty and Willie rescue an arrogant Japanese scientist from East Berlin by shooting him across the Wall with a circus cannon--and no one cries any tears when he's exposed as a KGB agent and commits suicide. In ""I Had a Date with Lady Janet"" (narrated by Willie, and rather clumsily), Garvin once again rescues Modesty, this time from the clutches of old enemies who've secreted her in a Scottish castle. Finally, there's ""The Soo Girl Charity,"" in which Willie and Modesty help a Chinese girl who has murdered her sadistic lover--only to find that it wasn't the beatings Soo minded, but her mate's other girlfriends. O'Donnell varies little from his unswerving formula--Modesty stumbles into trouble and cleverly battles her way out to be reinforced at the last minute by Willie--and the stories begin to seem repetitious and predictable, despite gun talk (""A grenade on this confined plateau would be very nasty. Using a AKM on fully automatic wasn't the answer"") and Modesty's always charming, dominatrix hauteur (""Relax on that trigger, Waldo. It's me""). Readers preferring Modesty all in one piece might do better to turn to her latest full-length adventure, Dead Man's Handle (p. 241).

Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 1986
ISBN: 0285638343
Publisher: Mysteries Press--dist. by Farrar, Straus & Giroux