No Orchids for Miss Blandish (novel)

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First edition, published by Jarrolds.

No Orchids For Miss Blandish is a 1939 crime novel by the British writer James Hadley Chase.[1] The novel was influenced by the American crime writer James M. Cain and the stories in the pulp magazine Black Mask.[2] Chase reportedly wrote the book as a bet to out-do The Postman Always Rings Twice.[3] The 1948 novel The Flesh of the Orchid (novel) by the same author is a sequel to this novel.

No Orchids for Miss Blandish provoked considerable controversy because of its explicit depiction of sexuality and violence.[2] The novel was a great critical success and was included in the Le Monde's 100 Books of the Century. In 1942, the novel was adapted into a stage play which ran for over 200 performances at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London.[4] Robert Newton starred.[5] In 1948, it was adapted into a British film No Orchids for Miss Blandish and given a contemporary New York City setting. The 1971 American film The Grissom Gang was also based on the novel, moving the setting of events back several years to 1931 Kansas City.

In 1944, it was also the subject of an essay by George Orwell, Raffles and Miss Blandish, and parodied by Raymond Queneau in We Always Treat Women Too Well. In 1962 the novel was extensively rewritten and rearranged by the author because he thought the world of 1939 too distant for a new generation of readers. (Confusion can result if readers of the Orwell essay refer his quotations and references to the 1962 edition.[6])

Development[edit]

Gene D. Phillips of Loyola University of Chicago wrote that "It is a matter of record that [the novel] was heavily indebted to Sanctuary for its plot line."[7] Phillips stated that Slim Grisson was "modeled after Popeye."[8]

Synopsis[edit]

Local goon Riley and his sidekicks decide to hit a jackpot by kidnapping multimillionaire John Blandish's daughter for the sake of stealing her necklace. They do manage to get her until things begin to go murky when her compatriot gets accidentally killed during the kidnap, and an even more deadly gangster mob headed by Ma Grisson and her psychopathic son Slim Grisson decide to snatch Miss Blandish from Riley's gang and hold her ransom instead. Soon the police are on the trail of the kidnappers, and an ex journalist and now a private investigator, Dave Fenner, is roped in by John Blandish himself to rescue his daughter and deal with the gangsters.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bloom p.144
  2. ^ a b Stableford pp. 130-138
  3. ^ "Shocker". Truth (2837). Sydney. 21 May 1944. p. 15. Retrieved 11 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ Chibnall & Murphy p. 37
  5. ^ "Bob Newton prefers staying home". The Australian Women's Weekly. 13 (37). 23 February 1946. p. 31. Retrieved 11 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ fr:Pas d'orchidées pour miss Blandish
  7. ^ Phillips, Gene D. (Summer 1973). "Faulkner And The Film: The Two Versions Of "Sanctuary"". Literature/Film Quarterly. Salisbury University. 1 (2): 263–273. JSTOR 43795435. - Cited: p. 271, 273.
  8. ^ Phillips, Gene D. (Summer 1973). "Faulkner And The Film: The Two Versions Of "Sanctuary"". Literature/Film Quarterly. Salisbury University. 1 (2): 263–273. JSTOR 43795435. - Cited: p. 273.

Sources[edit]

  • Bloom, Clive. Bestsellers: popular fiction since 1900. Palgrave MacMillan, 2002.
  • Chibnall, Steve & Murphy, Robert. British crime cinema. Routledge, 1999.
  • "No Orchids for Miss Blandish" in Yesterday's Bestsellers by Brian Stableford. Wildside Press, 1998, ISBN 978-0-8095-0906-5.