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Matt Helm

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  • Mike Blake
    ... Sure, I still have a stack of the early ones. You re right, the later books got longer bit less interesting. He s no spy or secret agent, just an
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 1, 2004
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      James Wyatt wrote:
      > Does anybody remember Matt Helm any more? (Forget
      > those awful movies starring Dean Martin.) Hamilton did
      > some great ground-breaking stuff in the spy/caper/thriller
      > genre, or whatever you want to call the current Parker/
      > Dan Brown junk. His river went dry, however, after about
      > the first four in the series.

      Sure, I still have a stack of the early ones. You're right, the later
      books got longer bit less interesting. He's no spy or secret agent, just
      an unabashed assassin. Not of all the political asides rubbed me the right
      way, but the first books in the series were chillingly realistic.

      --Mike Blake

      PS, yes, those movies were about the worst spy book adaptations I ever
      saw, poor attempts at "camp." Even the awful MODESTY BLAISE movie was
      better.
    • b_ergang
      I ve read all but one, which I haven t been able to find a copy of. I agree the earlier ones were the best, but I enjoyed all of them-- though you re right,
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 1, 2004
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        I've read all but one, which I haven't been able to find a copy of.
        I agree the earlier ones were the best, but I enjoyed all of them--
        though you're right, Mike, some of the later ones were too long.
        Because of the sameness of situations in many of the books--early,
        middle, and late--this was not a series I could read one book after
        another without a break.

        Some editions ran a reviewer's blurb (I forget which reviewer) which
        said Helm "makes British secret agent James Bond look like a
        powderpuff," and he was right. Someone else described the Bond books
        as "Mickey Spillane in gentlemen's clothing," but Bond bore little
        resemblance to Mike Hammer, despite the amount of violence in his
        adventures. Helm, on the other hand, had a lot in common with the
        literate P.I. school. For that matter, his adventures often had him
        doing some actual detecting.

        As I recall from another blurb, Anthony Boucher liked the series,
        too.

        The movies? Call me an apostate. I would *love* to see a Helm
        movie faithfully adapted from one of the novels and played straight.
        But as spoofs of the sexy, gadget-riddled super-spy genre, some of
        the Dean Martin films were genuinely funny, albeit hokey and with
        effects that were far from special.

        The eye-candy in them wasn't half-bad either. (Senta Berger, where
        are you now that I need you?)

        Best,
        Barry
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