Tuesday, September 6, 2022

A Mighty Blaise: Guest Post by Deanna Raybourn



Some years ago, my first Veronica Speedwell mystery was being published in England by a firm that put out a lot of graphic novels. As a “welcome to the company” gesture, my editor grabbed a stack of them and shipped them over along with a kind note.


I appreciated the note, but the books, I’m sorry to say, got put aside for awhile. I’m not a snob about format; whatever shape a story takes is fine by me. My lack of enthusiasm for graphic novels is down to something far more quotidian—they make me queasy. Something about constantly shifting my eyes over the pages gives me a headache and because of that, I’m never fully drawn into the story itself. I’ve tried them, believe me. I have checked them out from the library by the armful and it never works. And it’s entirely my loss—I’ve found title about female serial killers, art thieves, Marie Antoinette. They’re, without fail, luscious-looking and it makes me rage a little that I never enjoy them the way I hope to. 


Until the day I dug into the stack my UK editor sent. Every one was a Modesty Blaise title. I’d heard the name in passing, years before, and it rang only the vaguest of bells. Wasn’t she a spy of some sort? Maybe a female assassin? 


Oh, she was so much more! From the first page, I was hooked. Modesty was the kickass character of my dreams. She worked her way up from impoverished orphanhood to being a woman of independent means, eventually retiring from her work as the head of an international crime syndicate. Over the decades she learned it all—hand-to-hand combat, weapons, languages, survival skills, even advanced meditation techniques to enable her to “drop out” when being tortured. And after leaving the criminal life behind, she began using her powers for good. Mostly. 


The darling of diplomats and power brokers the world over, Modesty lives her very best life, moving seamlessly from rescue mission to black-tie benefit ball. She wears designer clothes and drives jazzy cars and enjoys lovers around the globe, always relying most on her faithful sidekick, the gorgeous and accomplished Willie Garvin. Her life is unfailingly glamorous, whether she is being chained in a medieval dungeon or left to die in a desert encampment. She thwarts terrorists and outwits criminals, relying on her resourcefulness and strength and just occasionally her feminine wiles. 

A beloved comic strip character since the 1960s, Modesty is both a product of her times and an extremely modern woman—and one of the many inspirations for the female assassins in KILLERS OF A CERTAIN AGE. My four killers might not pilot experimental aircraft or command an underworld army, but they understand the power of having the right people at your back and they know a good story never goes out of style.  


KILLERS OF A CERTAIN AGE was born when Deanna Raybourn wondered, “What would happen if four female assassins had to band together when the organization they work for would rather see them dead than let them retire?” Deanna is the author of the Edgar-nominated and USA Today bestselling Veronica Speedwell novels. 

1 comment:

Crazee4books said...

I had no idea this was coming out ... that it even was in the works!! I adore Deanna Raybourn's writing so was thrilled to discover this book is coming out soon. It sounds like it'll be a lot of fun, so you're damn right I'll be getting it ASAP!!! I do remember Modesty Blaise from back in the day. Wasn't there a movie??