- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd (12 May 1970)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0709115067
- ISBN-13: 978-0709115069
- Package Dimensions: 20.8 x 19 x 2.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,550,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Well, Now, My Pretty Hardcover – 12 May 1970
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'Master of the art of deception' New Statesman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Born René Brabazon Raymond in London, the son of a British colonel in the Indian Army, James Hadley Chase was educated at King's School in Rochester, Kent, and left home at the age of 18. He initially worked in book sales until, inspired by the rise of gangster culture during the Depression and by reading James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice, he wrote his first novel, No Orchids for Miss Blandish. Despite the American setting of many of his novels, Chase (like Peter Cheyney, another hugely successful British noir writer) never lived there, writing with the aid of maps and a slang dictionary. He had phenomenal success with the novel, which continued unabated throughout his entire career, spanning 45 years and nearly 90 novels. His work was published in dozens of languages and over thirty titles were adapted for film. He served in the RAF during World War II, where he also edited the RAF Journal. In 1956 he moved to France with his wife and son; they later moved to Switzerland, where Chase lived until his death in 1985. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
His strengths and weaknesses are present from the beginning. He was strong on plot, pace, and violent action; relatively weak on originality and character; and an indifferent stylist (compared, for example, to Raymond Chandler, Ian Fleming, or Graham Greene). He was a British author resident for much of his life in Switzerland, who nonetheless wrote mainly about American scenes and people. His books often read as though conceived as screenplays, and Hollywood thought well enough of him to film over fifty of his books. The book in question is not one of those.
'Well Now, My Pretty', originally published in 1967, is a straightforward crime thriller based around a casino heist, set in Florida in the mid-'60s. Chase was by this point in his career an expert at sucking the reader in; the rather derivative plot grips from the beginning, and has enough twists and turns to maintain interest, without ever being genuinely surprising. Chase is good on the ways in which weak and naive people can be drawn into criminality by amoral predators, and how evil corrupts everything around it. He's less good at creating characters who have a third dimension, or at avoiding clichés; and he has a weakness for improbable plot devices. For me, this will always limit him to the second rank of thriller writers.
A brisk, disposable read. Readers looking only to taste a single Chase would probably do better to seek out 'No Orchids For Miss Blandish' - published in 1939, when writing of this kind was still relatively new to the British public - which was the subject in 1944 of a famous essay by George Orwell, 'Raffles and Miss Blandish'.