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No Orchids for Miss Blandish by James Hadley…

No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1939)

by James Hadley Chase

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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. ( )
  smik | Dec 12, 2014 |
Three small-time crooks decide to steal a valuable diamond necklace from an heiress but when things get out of hand they end up taking the millionaire's daughter with them. Not 'big-time' enough to handle a kidnapping, the mighty Grisson gang storm in and take the girl and the necklace away with them.

The novel is fast paced, featuring lots of snappy dialogue, with no pointless digressions. The author does a good job in bringing his characters to life, though his characterisation of Miss Blandish could've been better explored. Had he shown the reader more insight into Miss Blandish's mindset I feel the story woould've been better.

To have portrayed Miss Blandish's point of view in greater depth would've made the reader sympathise with her more. Granted, she doesn't feature in too many scenes, but she is still the central character, who I didn't really get to know as well as I would've liked. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Dec 15, 2013 |
I heard everyone was reading bootleg copies of this in air raid shelters during the Blitz, so I sought it out. But when I finally read it, I was a bit disappointed; and not just because it's rather tame, more so because I don't think it compares with the American books it was supposed to imitate. I think I'd have needed something a little stronger and better written to have kept my mind off the sound of bombs coming over. Of cultural rather than literary interest. ( )
  Philip_Lee | Apr 1, 2013 |
This is a dark book. Full of violence this book is as grim as they come. Not as explicit as other writers I think it's actually made worse by the fact that everything is hinted at, kept just off-screen, so your mind has to fill in the horrible blanks.

I started this book late last night and as soon as I picked it up this morning I had to keep reading til it was over. Told in 3 parts the book switches between viewpoints as the story progresses. I wasn't expecting the book to suddenly go the angle it went. A quick, thrilling read. Though the ending was a bit predictable it's still worth reading. ( )
  Shirezu | Mar 31, 2013 |
Letto da ragazzina, così angosciante che non l'ho voluto rileggere più. ( )
  RobbieB | Jul 9, 2012 |
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
L'affaire débuta un après-midi du mois de juillet, par une chaleur torride, sous un ciel implacablement bleu et de brûlantes rafales de vent et de poussière.
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Reference to the author's work being published by Harlequin can be seen at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlequi...
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Miss Blandish - innocent, exquisite, vulnerable heiress - is kidnapped by a gang of ruthless hoods who've never tried big-time crime. Foiled by their own vicious ineptitude and the greed of a superior mob, the kidnappers lose their million dollar prize. Blandish, terrified and broken, is now the captive of Ma' Grisson and her sadistic, sexually deviant son Slim.

When Dave Fenner was hired to solve the Blandish kidnapping, he knew the on finding the girl were against him - the cops were still looking for her three months after the ransom had been paid. And the kidnappers, Riley and his gang, had disappeared in to thin air. But what none of them knew was that Riley himself had been wiped out by a rival gang - and the heiress was now in the hands of Ma Grisson and her son Slim, a vicious killer who couldn't stay away from women...especially his beautiful new captive. By the time Fenner began to close in on them, some terrible things had happened to Miss Blandish...
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