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University at Buffalo Libraries

George Kelley Paperback & Pulp Fiction Collection

No Orchids for Miss Blandish

cover image By: Chase, James Hadley (pseudonym of Rene Brabazon Raymond) (male)
Publisher: Harlequin Books (108)
Place of Publication: Toronto, Canada
Catalog #: Kelley Box 79: PR6035 .A92 N6 1951
Contributor: D. Maroon

General

Era: 1930s Author as on Cover: James Hadley Chase Geographic Locale: Kansas City Date of Publication: 1951  |  Original Date: 1939 Setting: urban Motives: money, kidnapping Alternate Title: The Villain and the Virgin

Plot Summary

When the Riley gang learns that wealthy socialite Miss Blandish will be wearing an expensive diamond necklace on her birthday, they plan to steal the necklace and ransom it. They decide, however, after killing her boyfriend, to kidnap Miss Blandish since they estimate that her father will pay more for his daughter than the necklace. Through a series of chance meetings, the Grisson gang finds out about their plan, and kidnap the unfortunate Miss Blandish themselves from the Riley gang. Mr. Blandish pays the ransom, but his daughter is never returned. Vicious Slim Grisson, a mentally unbalanced member of the mob, says he must keep her. The Grisson gang then extorts a nightclub from ruthless Toni Rocco, refurbishing and reopening it. Included in the club are locked rooms where Miss Blandish is hidden. Toni Rocco plans revenge on the Grisson gang, finds Miss Blandish and removes her from the hiding spot. But Slim locates her, kills Toni and takes her away. Meanwhile, the police and the detective working on the case have figured it all out, and they go to the club, where a major gun battle ensues. They eventually find and kill Slim and recover Miss Blandish, but unfortunately, after months of torture and drugs, Miss Blandish cannot cope with her new freedom and kills herself.


Major Characters

Bailey adult male, short, thickset, fleshy brutal face, restless uneasy black eyes, thin white scar on the side of his jaw, former thief, one of the original kidnappers of Miss Blandish

"Old Sam" adult male, elderly, tall and wiry, drove the car when the gangsters picked up Miss Blandish

Frankie Riley adult male, taller and slimmer than Bailey, had a cast in his right eye that made him shifty-looking

Alvin Heine adult male, newspaperman and part-time blackmailer

Eddie Schultz adult male, tall, heavy, big, good-looking, mob bodyguard, member of the Grisson gang

Flynn adult male, little, thin, pointed face, looks like a ferocious rat, bank robber, member of the Grisson gang

Ma Grisson adult female, smart, dangerous, powerful and hideous, everyone fears her, big, grossly fat, lumpy, dyed black hair, huge arms mottled with veins, big white teeth, huge hands, thick nose, head of the Grisson gang

Doc Williams adult male, kept Miss Blandish drugged, member of the Grisson gang

Woppy adult male, fat arms, safe-cracker

Johnny Frisk adult male, elderly, tall, skinny, drink-sodden face, dim, watery eyes, safe man

Slim Grisson adult male, sadistic, not mentally sound, tall, reedy, pasty-faced, vacant glassy eyes, thin nose, member of the Grisson gang

Anna Borg adult female, Riley's girlfriend, then Eddie Schultz's gun moll, fan dancer

Miss Blandish adult female, 24 years old, beautiful, red-gold hair, white skin, long, thin, aristocratic nose, high forehead, daughter of a millionaire

Dave Fenner adult male, 33 years old, former newspaperman, massively built, pugnacious jaw, dark attractively ugly face, private investigator

Captain Charles Brennan adult male, red-faced cop with hard blue eyes, sandy hair with graying temples

John Blandish adult male, middle height, hard, shrewd alert eyes, father of Miss Blandish, millionaire

Paula Dolan adult female, black wavy hair, large blue eyes, good figure, Fenner's secretary

Toni Rocco adult male, tiny, mild-mannered, dark Italian features, cunning, ruthless, vicious mind, former owner of the Paradise Club, numbers collector



Level of Violence

the killing begins when Miss Blandish is kidnapped and there are many violent incidents throughout the novel. Her boyfriend is the first to go, then the Riley gang is killed. Ma Grisson beats Miss Blandish with a rubber hose and she keeps her totally drugged.


Sexuality

the detective calls all women "doll" or "honey". Sexuality is implied, and although it is never stated directly, the reader is given the impression that Slim Grisson is continually raping Miss Blandish.


Gender Roles

traditional for the time period


Ethnicity

none


Alcohol/Drug Abuse

Doc Williams and Ma Grisson keep Miss Blandish drugged to the point of near unconsciousness. Almost all the characters drink to some degree.


Law Enforcement

the police are treated as bumbling fools. After three months, they do not have a single clue, but enter the detective and things move right along.


Added Features

the name "Grisson" also appears as "Grissom".


Subject Headings

Gangs/ Gangsters/ Greed/ Kansas City/ Robbery/ Kidnapping/ Murder


Psychological Elements

there is plenty of alcohol abuse involved along with the drugging of Miss Blandish. Slim Grisson is depicted as very mentally unstable.