The Way of the Word

4. May 2010

RIP Peter O’Donnell

Filed under: books,comics,general,RIP — jensaltmann @ 14:32
Tags: , , , , , ,

Peter O’Donnell died last night, less than a month after his 90th birthday.

O’Donnell is best known for his female superspy Modesty Blaise, a character he created in 1963 with artist Jim Holdaway and which, in her own way, is at least as iconic as James Bond.  He continued to write the character’s adventures in both comic strip and prose format until 2001, when he retired the strip. Since he had been disappointed with other writers’ attempts at writing Modesty Blaise, he had expressed the wish that nobody else but him should ever write any more Modesty Blaise comics.

O’Donnell started his professional writing career at the age of 16. After WWII, he began to script comic strips (including the adaptation of the James Bond novel Dr. No).

Under the pen name of Madeleine Brent, he also wrote several historical romances, alternating them with his Modesty Blaise work.

Peter O’Donnell was a terrific writer with a very dry wit. The world is richer for his having been in it.



  1. Hi there.
    It is sad that Peter is gone, but he must have had a very innteresting life, and a tremendes fantasy. I just love the way he wrote.
    I just want to say that Modesty have always been my heroine. I have had 5 novels, but I was very unfortunate,to loose these in me moving several times. I read those like 5 times, and I just hate that they do not print them anymore.
    I have been looking for these books for many years and never found them.
    But now that I found the Internett, maybe I have a tjans.
    Is there any posibillty that anyone could se it in ther heart to sell them to me. Ore point me in the right direction to find them. I would love to have all of them, so I could read them at least 8 times more:-)
    I live in Norway so it does not matter if they are in English or Norwegian.
    I would be so happy:-)
    Best regard from

    Comment by Mette P. Andresen — 23. August 2010 @ 00:07

  2. Hi, Mette.

    I’m also a big fan of Modesty, but more of the comics than the novels. The comic strips is where O’Donnell really excelled.

    About finding replacement copies of the books, I like to buy media at They’ll ship anywhere without charging for postage, and I’ve found them to be reliable. I just entered “Modesty Blaise” in their search form and got this page: I’ve seen several of the novels in the results. Maybe you’ll find some of what you need there. (Or used at Amazon.) If you were here in Germany, I could suggest some more places for you to look, but alas I don’t know about Norway. Good luck.

    Comment by jensaltmann — 23. August 2010 @ 08:01

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