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.