The above illustration, "Blowing Bubbles," has been adapted for use here by generous permission from the artist, Cyril Rolando.

May 11, 2010

Short Takes #9

Good golly, you want a short story that'll rip our your heart, soul, and every hope of heaven you ever had? Try Ken Bruen's To Have and To Hold. And as long as you're visiting the Hardluck Stories archive of Borderland Noir, stick around and read Craig McDonald's Broken Promised Land. Over at A Twist of Noir, in case you missed it, you'll get a lesson on how to properly pack for a vacation in David Cranmer's delightfully grim story, The Missing Husband of Mildred Malloy.

David also informs us at his Education of a Pulp Writer blog, that the first season of The Rat Patrol is now available on dvd. That's good news for this fan. I'm still waiting for rumors about a dvd set of It Takes a Thief to become reality.

So sad to learn of the death of Peter O'Donnell last week. I will always be grateful to him not only for his terrific Modesty Blaise series, but also for the gothics he wrote and published under the name of Madeline Brent. His heroines were not only strong and intelligent, but were possessed of good common sense and, as with the late Georgette Heyer's heroines, their slight brushes with romance were never designed to embarrass or titillate the reader. No mother ever need fear what her teenaged daughter might be discovering between the covers of a Madeline Brent book, but at the same time O'Donnell was never shy about naming the difficulties women faced in the Victorian era. And so few writers of series ever wrap up the lives of their characters as neatly as O'Donnell did in the last Modesty Blaise adventure, a collection of short stories called Cobra Trap.


  1. To have and to hold is classic. Hell, that whole issue of Hardluck is a gem

  2. I'm glad Mildred Malloy went over so well, and I certainly hope she's enjoying her vacation.

  3. Keith, I'm wondering what I was doing when all this stuff was hitting the Internet.

    David, I quite liked Mildred. I'm imagining her on a cruise and there's that one purser who just gets on her last ragged nerve. She'll fold him into human origami to match the folded towels he leaves in her cabin.

  4. Ken Bruen always rips my heard out. Especially in THE DRAMATIST>

  5. So true, Patti. I may never re-read THE DRAMATIST, I just don't know if I could survive knowing what was coming.