Wednesday, January 6, 2021

#2: The Last Quarter Hour by Jean Bruce

In 1950s Argentina, a cell of escaped Nazis have wiped out two networks of American agents, sending OSS-117 into action in Jean Bruce's The Last Quarter Hour.

OSS-117, along with a partner with a garrote and a genial disregard for human life, changes up the spy formula and sets the sex aside to focus all on violence in speedily dispatching the villains.

French writer Jean Bruce's OSS-117 predates Ian Fleming's James Bond, and ran hundreds of installments from the 50s to the 90s, the pseudonym first used by Jean Brochet, then his wife Josette upon his death in a car crash, and ultimately by their children aftet Josette's death, a true writing family.

This series also spawned a film franchise in France, but neither the handful of books translated into English (by a British publishing house) nor the movie franchise ever seemed to catch on here.

However, I am a big fan of French noir, and this installment is as hard-hearted and tough-minded as any of them, and would come recommended if it wasn't so very hard to find any of these in the wild.  I actually got this one in a batch of books I purchased from the web and was genuinely surprised to get this single one in the lot at a goodbye price.

The Last Quarter Hour is a cool spy entry in an interesting series, if one goes hunting.

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