Sorry; this page isn't completely written. You'll find fractured sentences, dead-end links, and other cruft as like as not. It often takes me days or weeks to get these things into a form I like, and I often want to link them into the rest of the site well before than, so you get to see the revisions flash by.
O'Donnell is known to me entirely for his Modesty Blaise books. I say "books"; the characters actually started out in comics (a daily newspaper strip), and then appeared in a movie. The first novel was written to help promote the movie, and was based on O'Donnell's script (which, by the time the movie was released, apparently bore little resemblance to it). And the daily strip continued for 5 years after the publication of the last book. But I know them only from the books.
He's also written a number of novels under the name "Madeline Brent", which I suppose I really ought to look at.
The Modesty Blaise novels are much better than they look—every cover I've got is in some way or other pretty bad.
I'd like to thank Martin Schafer for getting me started on these, and Uncle Edgar's Mystery Bookstore for carrying them.
I find these novels pleasant, refreshing, stimulating. Light, but not shallow or thin. While by no means non-violent, they're not carnography or anywhere close, either; Modesty and Willy often take considerable risks to avoid killing their enemies, and think nothing at all of risking their lives for their friends.
Modesty and Willy both have superhero-level powers (given that Batman is a superhero still); but they didn't get them terribly mysteriously, they got them by extensive practice and study. They really know too much for their ages and backgrounds, if you want to find faults. But I don't. In fact, any 5 individual talents are fairly reasonable. It's the collection of dozens of them into each individual that is unrealistic.
I've found a few other useful O'Donnell sites on the web. Probably more useful than mine, for a general fan; my content is very specifically in the context of my relationship with the books, and isn't primarily intended as a general reference.