Monday, May 10, 2010

Peter O'Donnell

Last year when I was reviewing Madeleine Brent's novel Moonraker's Bride I mentioned that Brent was actually Peter O' Donnell, the creator of Modesty Blaise and I mistakenly reported that O' Donnell was dead, because an article I'd read about Brent stated that O'Donnell's identity had been revealed after his death. As it turned out, O'Donnell was still alive and someone was kind enough to point this out to me. Unfortunately I learned over the weekend that Peter O'Donnell passed away on May 3rd, so this time I'm not premature in lamenting the loss of a great talent. I really enjoyed both the Modesty Blaise comic strip and the series of novels O'Donnell wrote about the character. My brother and I picked up Modesty's and her partner Willie Garvin's use of the term 'signing someone off' for killing. My brother, an expert knife thrower, was very taken with the knife wielding Garvin who preferred a throwing knife to a gun. I heartily recommend The Modesty Blaise novels to anyone who enjoys a good thriller. Modesty, often referred to as a female James Bond, isn't really a spy, but she does occasionally work for the British government. An expert marksman and a deadly hand to hand fighter, she was an kick-ass heroine long before the term was coined. O'Donnell excelled at writing strong female characters and Modesty Blaise has been a major influence on many heroines who have followed, while his Gothic Romance novels are still considered some of the best in that particular sub-genre, doubtlessly because of his heroines.

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