12 December 2014

Review: NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH, James Hadley Chase

  • format: Amazon (Kindle)
  • I bought it
  • File Size: 346 KB
  • Print Length: 188 pages
  • Publisher: The Murder Room (September 6, 2012). Originally published 1939
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00946TPFC
Synopsis (Amazon)

When Dave Fenner is hired to solve the Blandish kidnapping, he knows the odds on finding the girl are against him - the cops are still looking for her three months after the ransom was paid. And the kidnappers, Riley and his gang, have disappeared into thin air.

But what none of them knows is that Riley himself has been wiped out by a rival gang - and the heiress is now in the hands of Ma Grisson and her son Slim, a vicious killer who can't stay away from women, especially his beautiful new captive. By the time Fenner begins to close in on them, some terrible things have happened to Miss Blandish . . .

My Take

James Hadley Chase was an English writer born René Lodge Brabazon Raymond and well known by various pseudonyms, including James Hadley Chase, James L. Docherty, Raymond Marshall, R. Raymond, and Ambrose Grant. See Wikipedia for more details.

NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH (publ. 1939) is set in the gangster era of the mid 1930s in Kansas, although Chase had never been there. It was his debut novel, and the beginning of a long and immensely successful career as a novelist. Dave Fenner appeared in a second novel in 1941. He is an ex-journalist turned private eye, and works with the "bulls" (police) to find Miss Blandish.

I thought it had a surprisingly modern feel about it although it is exceptionally noir, with an incredible amount of violence, which apparently drew considerable criticism at publication. It was indeed based on events and people who had gained notoriety in the early 1930s in America. I didn't expect the ending to have the twist that it had, and I thought that was a redeeming feature. A fast paced thriller.

My rating: 4.4

I read this as part of my participation in the Vintage Mystery Bingo Challenge for 2014.

1 comment:

vicki (skiourophile) said...

I found this such a disturbing book - the violence actually took me by surprise, and yet I would consider there's a lot more horrible things in many other contemporary crime fiction. I guess it jolted my expectations of the genre.


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