Thursday, Oct 06, 2022
Outlook.com
Review

Hot Chills

Smart, chic and deadly: the incomparable Modesty Blaise. But the edition isn't perfect.

Hot Chills
Hot Chills
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Smart, chic and deadly: the incomparable Modesty Blaise. Created in 1962 by British author Peter O’Donnell, she and her partner Willie Garvin debuted as comic strip crime-fighters in the Evening Standard. They were an instant success, syndicated in 40 papers worldwide. This deluxe edition is Penguin India’s tribute to the dark-haired, long-limbed adventuress. It has an essay by the author about Modesty’s genesis and a first-in-paperback edition of The Cobra Trap, the final escapade.

So yes, bullets ricochet and knives flash, but there’s also cool wit, warm sex and a soaring optimism about fighting for good causes. Modesty and Willie are certainly faster and brighter than anyone can possibly be, but they also have an endearing appetite for ordinary pleasures—tasty food and wonderful friendships—which make the encounters with barbed-wire manacles all the more horrifyingly vivid. The edition isn’t perfect: there are scores of misplaced quotation marks. A few words such as "negro" and "pansy" sound dated. But Modesty’s platonic relationship with Willie is still the most enviable mixed-gender partnership on earth and even by today’s jaded standards the villains are satisfyingly fiendish. Buy the set! It’s cheaper than making 13 trips to the store.

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