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BOOK REVIEW - PETER O’DONNELL, & JIM HOLDAWAY – MODESTY BLAISE – BAD SUKI 2005 Titan Books 

 

Welcome reproduction collection of the classic and surprisingly violent Modesty Blaise newspaper cartoon strips. Modesty, and her companion vigilante, Willie Garvin have a fanatical hatred of drug dealers. Modesty wants to kill them all. She carefully avoids police capture whilst chasing after the dealers. Bad Suki begins when Willie finds a girl stoned out of her mind on L S D. He takes her back to Modesty’s place and the pair helps the girl recover. Learning that she visited certain clubs and hippie love ins, they go under-cover to try to find the dealers who caused the girl so many problems. They come across a slang expression, Bad Suki, but they are unable to get an idea what it means. Scotland Yard welcome Modesty’s help, but the police warn her against taking the law into her own hands. Modesty keeps coming across a religious do-gooder, an old lady who tries to encourage junkies to find Jesus. They ask her to help them out. She seems happy to co-operate and tells Modesty a few days later that she has discovered a smuggling operation in Cornwall to bring more drugs in. Modesty and Willie go to Cornwall, and find that the old lady religious do-gooder is the drug dealer, code-named Bad Suki, and that she has set them up. Bad Suki has her henchmen lock Modesty and Willie into a box and dump it into the sea to sink. The heroes escape with wires concealed in Willie’s finger-rings.  Modesty now goes back to kill Bad Suki. A policeman arrives and Modesty knocks him out, intent on telling him that he slipped on a damp footpath. Captured by Modesty, the old lady makes out like she is going to take cyanide and end it all. As she reaches into a bag to get it, Modesty shoots her dead. The old lady wasn’t going for a suicide pill, but a gun. Modesty tells Willie that she hadn’t in fact guessed that. She was going to shoot her anyway. Modesty and Willie put the other dealers in a locked cabin on a boat, set it drifting to sea, and blow it up. They tell the recovering policeman that the gang must have had an accident while escaping. Though he suspects otherwise, he can’t prove anything. The cold-blooded ruthlessness of Modesty Blaise is jaw dropping. It’s a very noir’ish dark, thrilling read about a very ruthless crime fighter indeed. www.titanbooks.htm

 

Arthur Chappell

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