Tag: James Hadley

No Orchids for Miss Blandish by James Hadley Chase

Posted February 6, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Pulp / 0 Comments

No Orchids for Miss Blandish by James Hadley ChaseTitle: No Orchids for Miss Blandish (Goodreads)
Author: James Hadley Chase
Series: Dave Fenner #1
Published: Pan Macmillan, 1969
Pages: 188
Genres: Pulp
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Dave Fenner has been hired to find Miss Blandish, kidnapped three months ago; the police have not found her despite the ransom being paid. The suspected kidnappers have disappeared, but the heiress is in the hands of Ma Grisson and her scary henchman Slim, who has wiped out their rivals and taken possession of the girl. The closer Fenner gets the more horrifying the situations appears; in No Orchids for Miss Blandish.

James Hadley Chase has a written a very raw book with No Orchids for Miss Blandish and you can see the obvious James M Cain influence though out this book. But you can’t really fault Chase for that, Cain was a master at noir and it feels like he has taken the genre to a whole new level. For a book written in 1938 I was surprised to see how violent and sexualised this novel is. But on reflection there was no real mention, Chase just hints very obviously and leaves the rest to the reader’s imagination.

From the very start this book hooks you in and takes you on a very dark journey. Written in three viewpoints you get an interesting perspective of what is going on. This was a gruesome depiction of gang life that puts a lot of the noir successors to shame; James Hadley Chase knows how to hit hard with his disturbing characters, fast pace and realistic violence.

Sure, this book may travel into the realms of predictable but this book moves so fast you don’t have time to stop and think about that. Dave Fenner has the makings of a good protagonist and I can’t wait to see where Chase takes him. There are actually two versions of No Orchids for Miss Blandish, the 1938 version which I was lucky to have read and the 1962 revision, because James Hadley Chase thought the world of 1939 too distant for a new generation of readers. When I get a chance I plan to read the revised edition; I’ve heard that it doesn’t really lose any of the raw and realism but it does have the odd mention of televisions.