Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH by James Hadley Chase

No Orchids For Miss BlandishNO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH is a treasure trove of criminal stylings written in a timeless quality. The tale of kidnapping, jewel heist, murder, and gang rivalry is engrossing and utterly captivating.  Not once did this oh so sweet slice of noir feel dated despite the initial publication being in 1939 – a testament to the authors ability. 

Ma Grisson and her son Slim are the catalysts in turning a snatch and grab into mass murder and a show of force in taking complete control of the criminal underworld. Miss Blandish, a wealthy daughter and socialite-like young women with the world at her feet is the unfortunately collateral damage in a heist designed to bring in a million dollars to a group of thugs looking to hit the big time. Before long, Ma Grisson and her gang are privy to the snatch, take out the competitors and hold Miss Blandish captive for a king’s ransom. 

There are some truly unique and well formulated characters in NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH, perhaps none more so than the larger than life and menacing Ma Grission. Everything from her physical description to utter contempt of human life oozes noir and shouts crime boss – a formidable figure indeed.  While her son Slim, is equally degenerative in the humanity stakes, his infatuation and desire for someone to call his own – preferably an attractive wealthy woman portrays in him a scary and semi psychotic state. I could elaborate further on the distinguished cast as they all add something to the plot and are enjoyable and realistic in their respective occupation. 
NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH is written in a manner to keep the perspective fresh. Each new chapter (act) sees the POV switch from heist, to kidnap, to police investigation, to private eye, to criminal element, to Miss Blandish herself. This was the perfect way to convey the dire situation Miss Blandish and her criminal counterparts found themselves. 
Given the linear plot, engaging characters and quality of writing and you’ve got a sure fire classic by James Hadley Chase. I couldn’t get through NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDHISH fast enough – one of the best noirs ever written and a true classic of crime fiction – 5 stars.

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