Modesty Blaise
The Puppet Master

Author: Peter O'Donnell
Artists: Enric Badia Romero
Titan Books
RRP: 10.99, US $16.95
ISBN 1 84023 867 4
Available 24 February 2006

The dark underworld of espionage and crime is lit up by the fatal charms of the gorgeous Modesty Blaise - high priestess of pulp crime and goddess of cult thrillers. A twisted psychologist puts Modesty through a gruelling ordeal, with murder in mind. Can Modesty regain her self-control... or will she kill her partner Willie Garvin?...

The Puppet Master collects together The Puppet Master, The Stone Age Caper and With Love From Rufus strips.

As with previous Modesty Blaise collections the writing is sharp and the illustrations are fantastic. While some of the writing comes across as a little outdated (attitudes to women and foreigners for example) it has aged remarkably well, when you consider when this was originally released.

In fact it was ahead of it's time in some areas. The Stone Age Caper shocked Evening Standard readers due to the fact that Modesty bared her bosom to the world. It's amazing that no one objected to the episodes before were the aboriginal women can be seen as nature intended, but an illustration of Modesty without her top caused quite a stir.

In The Puppet Master, Modesty is captured and has her mind erased in a simple act of revenge. The gang that kidnap her plan to use her skills in combat for their own means.

In With Love From Rufus, a number of burglaries in the area are baffling the local police force. When someone breaks into Modesty's property and cracks open her safe, he takes nothing but leaves a bunch of flowers and a calling card. Is this bizarre crime related to the spate of burglaries?

If you've enjoyed the previous Modesty Blaise releases, then you'll love this collection.

Nick Smithson

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