Ayo Onatade is an avid reader of crime and mystery fiction. She has been writing reviews, interviews and articles on the subject for the last 12 years; with an eclectic taste from historical to hardboiled, short stories and noir films
When one thinks of kick-ass female characters it wouldn’t surprise me if such names as Buffy, Lara Croft and Charlie Fox the character created by Zoe Sharp come to mind. However, as far as I am concerned there is still one character that stands head and shoulders above them all and can still teach them a few tricks and that is the doyenne of them all Peter O’Donnell’s iconic Modesty Blaise.
It is a testament to the longevity of the series that you can still get copies of the books despite the fact that the last book in the series was written over 13 years ago in 1996. Souvenir Press are the ones we have to thank for being able to continually indulge ourselves with this series. The most recent of which to be reprinted is Pieces of Modesty a collection of 6 stories featuring Modesty and her loyal and quirky sidekick Willie Garvin.
The best thing about Pieces of Modesty and the series of books as well are the characters that dwell in the stories. I am not talking solely about Modesty and Willie, but the other assortment of characters that we the reader come across. In Pieces of Modesty they have to deal with a hostage situation and a cricket loving pacifist clergyman in South America, they find an unusual way of smuggling a difficult Japanese scientist over the Berlin Wall, there is also a story involving gem thieves and their long-standing friends the Colliers, assassination and sculpture in cold Finland and a burglary that is not what it seems.
My favourite story is “I Had a Date with Lady Jane”. Told by Willie Garvin and in first person it introduces us to Lady Jane Gillam who will become a regular fixture in the books. All the stories are well worth reading and for devotees of Modesty Blaise Pieces of Modesty is a book to be savoured.
It is such a shame that there are only 6 stories. Please sir, I would like some more!