Besides posting book reviews, once in a while I will be posting articles on the subject of pulps. I hope we can generate more interest for the Blog. If you would like to share an article on the pulps, you can send me a message in the Comments of a post.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Baroness #1

The Baroness #1: “The Ecstasy Connection” by Paul Kenyon (Donald Moffitt). I normally enjoy a "good" spy novel, but this one was more sleaze than spy fiction.  There is an ecstasy drug showing up in America, and the CIA, FBI, and all the other government intelligence agencies want to know where it’s coming from. They contact the mysterious “Key”, the only known contact to the top-secret agent code-named “Coin”, requesting the end of the supply and supplier, as well as the formula. “Key” (John Farnsworth), contacts the beautiful Baroness Penelope St. John-Orisini, model, millionaire, and international playgirl. She brings her well-trained team in: Dan Wharton, ex Green Beret, Tom Sumo, the Japanese electronics whiz, Joe Skytop, the Cherokee unarmed combat expert and ex Greet Beret. Also on the team are Paul & Yvette, black models: Paul is into explosives while Yvette is a costume and disguise expert. Other team members from Penny’s modeling agency, International Models, Inc., are Eric, Fionee, and Inga. When they aren’t modeling, they are fighting terrorists and bad guys around the world.

            Although this is listed as issue #1, it was actually written after the second published story, as reference is constantly made to that case. Mr. Sim, a grossly fat man in Hong Kong runs drugs from China to the rest of the world. He is also experimenting with drugs and the brain. Discovering what drugs do to certain areas of the brain, to bring pain or pleasure. He’s found the ecstasy drug that can make a person do one thing, and never want anything else, whether it is food, drink, starvation, or sex. The first hundred pages is little more than drugs and sex, and can be left out of the book for my part, except The Baroness does have her agents do some investigative work, which many authors fail to do. The real story kicks in with the second half of the book when they travel to Hong Kong, where the real action is. Unfortunately, this series appears to be little more than soft porn, as the pace is slowed every few pages by descriptive sex scenes only of interest to boys in their puberty. The author was supposedly a science fiction writer, and you can see this in the many gadgets and science in the story. If the porn had been left out, it could have been a good spy novel. In fact, it appears to be patterned after Modesty Blaise and other female spies. I give the book a 3-Star rating for the action, but really debated a lesser rating due to the extreme use of sex and drugs that were not needed to tell a good story – at least to adults.


  1. I disagree with some parts of your review. What set the Baroness apart was the graphic detail of violence and sex. Yes, they were detailed, especially the sex scenes but they weren't pornographic or smut. They were, as Wikipedia puts it, "graphically poetic pulp".

    Anyhow. I really loved the Baroness and the seriousness of the tone of the novel makes it clear that the series was not a spoof or parody but a spy/action novel but detailed sex.

  2. Sorry, I don't see anything poetic or pulp in the graphic sex scenes. I see soft porn. Call it what you will, these books were sleaze, and written for the sex to attract boys in their puberty. Drop all the graphic sex and you might have an interesting spy novel. That's what I read.

  3. The Baroness is my favorite spy series. It wasn't tongue-in-cheek series. The reviewer didn't like the title, but other reviewers did and there's a group of avid Baroness fans out there. I think there one yahoo group.