Modesty Blaise
The Black Pearl

Author: Peter O'Donnell
Artist: Jim Holdaway
Titan Books
RRP 10.99
ISBN 1 84023 842 9
Available 17 December 2004

In the wilds of Tibet, Modesty must repay the debt she owes to an ancient mystic who once saved her life by finding the mysterious Black Pearl. Before her stand marauding bandits, the might of the Himalayas and the power of Red China...

She's beautiful with a bullet (that's what the blurb on the back of this collection says - whatever that means). Modesty Blaise - the cult creation of best-selling author Peter O'Donnell - returns for another searing slice of '60s chic thrills set in the shadowy underworld of espionage and mystery. The Black Pearl also collects The Magnified Man, The Jericho Caper and The Killing Ground.

The Black Pearl sees Modesty shooting off across the globe in a bid to collect the black pearl and return it to its rightful owner. Things are not that simple and there is a surprising, and humourous twist to this tale.

The Magnified Man is a story that contains a far-fetched premise. Or so you'd think. In his introduction Peter O'Donnell explains that it was based on a real invention that he'd read about 40 years ago - one that was obviously never developed - that could magnify a man.

The Jerico Caper sees Modesty accompany a man of the cloth, Father Ramon, on a quest to track down and rescue three of his flock who have been kidnapped. It's not going to be an easy journey and the government will not protect or help them.

The Killing Ground is a short tale, which was originally only syndicated in the Scottish press. To say it was written and drawn in a rush, both O'Donnell and artist Jim Holdaway do a fantastic job of keeping the story up to the standard of other Modesty tales.

This collection also includes a feature on O'Donnell's other novels written under the pseudonym of Madeleine Brent, as well as the third part of an interview with O'Donnell.

When the chic hits the fan there's no one you'd rather have fighting your corner than Modesty. Another fantastic collection.

Pete Boomer

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