Wednesday, April 19, 2017

FFB: Cobra Trap -- Peter O'Donnell

Cobra Trap is the final (in more ways than one) book to feature Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin.  It's a collection of five short stories that carry the two from almost the beginning of their careers together to the end.

Modesty is a mere twenty years old when "The Bellman" begins.  It's a story of an attempt at long-delayed revenge.  Modesty and Willie put Bellman in prison, and when gets out of prison, he has Modesty and Willie abducted and put on a deserted island where they'll be hunted by three professional killers (shades of "The Most Dangerous Game").  Things don't go as Bellman planned.  In "The Dark Angels," Modesty and Willie are protecting a Texas oilman from a gang of psychopathic (and acrobatic) hit men.  Things don't go as the hit men planned.  The oilman appears at first to be an annoying parody, but it turns out that's a clue to a twist in the tale.  "Old Alex" is a direct sequel to a novel, "Dead Man's Handle," and it's a compilation of outrageous coincidences.  It's also another revenge story and my favorite story in the book.  "The Girl with the Black Balloon" is about a gang of kidnappers.  Modesty and Willie have only a short time to save their victim.  Things don't go as the kidnappers planned.  The final story, "Cobra Trap" is indeed the final story for Modesty and Willie, at least on this plane of existence.  I can say no more.

This collection is just as entertaining as Pieces of Modesty (see my comments here).  There are still a few books in the series I haven't read, but I'm going to get to them Real Soon Now.  And I might even reread some of them.  O'Donnell was a superb entertainer; he never lets me down.

TOC:
The Bellman
Dark Angels
Old Alex
The Girl with the Black Balloon
Cobra Trap

8 comments:

Todd Mason said...

As with Honey West, I've kept meaning to read the Modesty Blaise stories...I think you've motivated me to Actual Action at this point...

Bill Crider said...

The Modesty Blaise books are far superior the the Honey West ones. Well, I think so, anyway.

Todd Mason said...

I get that sense...from others as well...

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I think I better read PIECES OF MODESTY first. I could have sworn I'd read it, but my database says otherwise.

Mike Stamm said...

I haven't read one of the HONEY WEST books in many, many years (though I bought one recently because of the Maguire cover), but they aren't even in the same continuum with the MODESTY BLAISE books. After I finished COBRA TRAP (right after it came out in '96, thanks to a friend in England) I was in a kind of shock, but wrote a thank-you letter for the entire series to Peter O'Donnell, who responded very graciously. (I am within one volume of collecting the entire MODESTY BLAISE newspaper strip series, thanks to the Titan reprints.) The MB books are among my all-time favorites--something of a surprise, since I was led to them via the gawdawful movie with Monica Vitti and Dirk Bogarde. (The more recent movie, MY NAME IS MODESTY, is not bad at all, though it's set in the pre-Willie days of the founding of the Network.) I have rarely enjoyed a series of books so much.

Bill Crider said...

The newspaper strips are also very good, and a couple of the stories in COBRA TRAP are based on them, I think.

FreeLiveFree said...

I'm actually reading Sabre-tooth right now.

Tom Johnson said...

I read them all, and hate that the series ended. Although most of the villains sounded suspiciously similar to each other, each story was unique in its own right. My set of Modesty Blaise books are a mix of hardbacks and paperbacks. I would love to have them all in one format (sigh), either hardback or paperback. The mix is a mess. BTW, if you happen to run across the TV pilot, don't bother with it, it's worse than the Monica Vitti movie.