'Master of the art of deception' New Statesman
Kidnapping has become a national pastime in Italy - but is there another reason why billionaire Carlo Grandi has put his beautiful daughter behind an electric fence, guarded by killer dogs and two fast-shooting guards?
Mike Frost, always on the look-out for big money and beautiful women, gets the job as second gun - and soon realises he is guarding a hell cat. When kidnappers sold him the idea of being the inside man, Frost hadn't known which he wanted most - that beautiful body or the $5,000,000 it could bring him.
Born Rene Brabazon Raymond in London, the son of a British colonel in the Indian Army, James Hadley Chase (1906-1985) 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.