enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: Peter O'Donnell, Sabre-Tooth (#2)

I read this book about 14-Aug-2004. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1966. This note was last modified Tuesday, 06-May-2014 13:41:36 PDT.

This is book 2 of the "Modesty Blaise" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


Tarrant finds a strange set of facts, whose shape matches an attack on Kuwait intended to leave it in the hands of a criminal conspiracy. Not really anything like the rather later Iraqi attack.

So, being unable to convince his minister to spend money or take risks, he manages to put Modesty Blaise and Willy Garvin on it. They end up being blackmailed (by the bad guys, not Tarrant) into going and joining the assault force -- as section commanders, in fact. Karz is an optimist; using coerced personnel in that position seems insane to me, and using people as dangerous as Modesty and Willy seems suicidal (and it was).

And, in the end, they manage to sink the whole plan (literally; they flood the valley) on their own.

And Tarrant tells his minister that "You can rest assured my report will be detailed and accurate." I believe Tarrant's position is senior civil-service, rather like the Permanent Secretary in Yes, Minister. It's interesting to view Tarrant from that viewpoint -- the Civil Service being largely the bad guys in Yes, Minister.

Modesty works some amusing capers to position herself to be approached. Losing a fortune in a casino to John Dall is easy. But the caper where they steal the painting right out from under the nose of the museum directory is really very elegant.

"The Twins" may be the craziest martial-arts master Modesty has faced. Originally siamese twins, they were separated late in life. And discovered they went crazy away from each other. This is unfortunate, since they hate each other. They wear a leather harness to hold them together. They fight superbly, with perfect coordination, and apparently even manage to lead a team of hard-bitten mercenaries. They can't, of course, take Modesty Blaise.

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David Dyer-Bennet