Cooler than James Bond
Modesty Blaise is ... well, self-actualized. How about that? She is in total control of herself. She has the normal attributes of a hero: fighting ability, money, skill with weapons, fatally attractive. But several things put the Blaise novels above the pack. Morals, an unwillingness to kill unless forced to, and a suitably strong male sidekick - with whom there is no sex and no sexual tension either. And a degree of self-composure, a sort of secular spirituality, that is well described. She can control her heart rate, her breathing like a yogi master. She's always in command of the situation without ever being arrogant.
Modesty and Willie travel the world as unofficial agents for British counter-espionage stopping various dastardly plots. O'Donnell makes you worry for her as he constructs incredibly difficult situations and then has her plausibly overcome them.
Don't confuse these well-written stories with the horrible movie from the 60's.
Novels in order
Modesty Blaise (1965)
I, Lucifer (1967)
... several more
|Last modified 4/8/18, posted 9/20/10; original content © 2018, 2010 John P. Nordin|