Data-mining the Past – No Orchids for Miss Blandish


I often check out the Manybooks site for some interesting discovery. They have a catalog of over 27,000 free ebooks for download. I was thrilled that James Hadley Chase’s debut novel written way back in 1940 was available for free download. IMHO “No Orchids…” happens to be one of the best crime thrillers ever written.

About James Hadley Chase:

Chase, a London-born son of a British colonel serving in the colonial Indian Army who intended his son to have a scientific career, was initially raised at King’s School, Rochester, Kent and later studied in Calcutta. He left home at the age of 18 and became at different times a broker in a bookshop, a children’s encyclopedia salesman, and a book wholesaler before capping it all with a writing career that produced more than 80 mystery books. In 1933, Chase married Sylvia Ray, who gave him a son.

Chase moved to France in 1956 and then to Switzerland in 1961, living a secluded life in Corseaux-sur-Vevey, north of Lake Geneva, from 1974. He eventually died there peacefully on February 6, 1985. Source: Wikipedia

The movie version of the novel raised considerable storm in the press because of the extreme violence,immoral characters etc. Hollywood director Robert Aldrich remade an even more violent version of the movie called “The Grissom Gang” . This movie has sunk into oblivion but it is worth a viewing even now, if you can get hold of a copy that is.

About “No orchids for Miss Blandish” :

  Chase had read about the American gangster Ma Barker and her sons, and with the help of maps and a slang dictionary, he composed in six weeks No Orchids for Miss Blandish. The book achieved remarkable popularity and became one of the best-sold books of the decade. It was the subject of a well-known 1944 essay, “Raffles and Miss Blandish” (vide Raffles), by (surprise,surprise) George Orwell.

The story is about a kidnapped heiress who falls in love with her abductor

and it all ends, as expected, violently and tragically.


You can download the eBook for free here:

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