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Willie's girls

As Modesty tells Tarrant in chapter 1 of Modesty Blaise: 'Willie moves around quite a lot—he has a wonderfully varied list of girlfriends. From premier cru to honest vin du pays.' Some of the girlfriends are current, others remembered from his pre-Network days.

Black text refers to the books and short stories,
blue text to the strips.


Recent and current

No name

Willie ran a hand down his cheek. “Lovely,” he said. “Thanks, Princess.” He stretched luxuriously. “Did I ever tell you about that girl in Santiago?”
“I don’t think so. Not in Santiago.” She rinsed the razor under the basin tap and dried it.
“Very good she was,” Willie said reminiscently. “ ’Ighly passionate. But she wasn’t interested ’cept when I was bristly. Didn’t like a beard, but couldn’t stand a clean shave. It ’ad to be bristles.”
“Kinky. But harmless.” Modesty closed the razor, put it on a small shelf, and stretched out on the other bunk. “What happened, Willie?”
“Well, nothing much. I wasn’t there long. And anyway, it’s ’ard just to stay bristly. She married a barber. He used to run the ’air-clippers over his chin. That way he was all set, twenty-four hours a day. When I saw ’im again two years later he looked just about ready to go up with the blind.”
(Modesty Blaise, chapter 16)

Pernod Mimi

She has a flat in Montmartre where she is fast going to seed on booze. Willie stays with her while playing live bait. When she sees the assassins who have failed to kill Willie, he tells her they were from the Temperance Society, which makes her angry.
(La Machine, panels 56-64)

No name

Willie: ’Ere, did I ever tell you about a girl I used to know ... in Marseilles ... who was a champion weight-lifter?
... as he is carrying Sir Gerald out of von Schuyler's castle.
(Top Traitor, panel 855)

Marj Lanier

Daughter of a Canadian timber millionaire and very possessive. She gives Willie the (false) message that Gabriel has killed Modesty, which precipitates the showdown.
(The Gabriel Setup, panels 242 seq.)
In a later story we learn that Marj Lanier has drowned while staying with Walter Dee, "Uncle Happy", on Harmony Island. Modesty and Willie suspect murder, and discover that she was killed by Eddie, one of Dee's henchmen.
(Uncle Happy, panels 648-51 and 679-80)


“I ’ad a girl once who was mad serious about golf,” Willie said reminiscently, not looking up from his task. “ ’Bout six months ago. Aileen, her name was. She came from Scotland. Tallish, lovely body, marvellous complexion. Only two things interested ’er. Playing golf and going to bed. Real obsessions they were. Only trouble was, she couldn’t keep ’em separate.’
Tarrant fought a brief inward battle with himself, but curiosity won. “How do you mean, she couldn’t keep them separate, Willie?”
“Just that. You’d be on the fairway, squaring up for a drive, an’ suddenly you could really feel it. She’d be looking at you like she was just about ready to drag you off into the deep rough and eat you. So all right,” he went on. “She’s geared up to eat you, so you’ve got something good lined up. A bit later you’re in bed, clambering about a bit, and then you feel it again. She’s looking at the ceiling, and she’s about a light-year away, thinking about that drive she sliced at the fourth ’ole.”
(Sabre-Tooth, chapter 3)


‘Twenty-three years old, the daughter of a gentleman farmer and engaged to another.’ When Modesty phones The Treadmill, Willie is in bed with her. Modesty asks if he has anybody with him. “Nobody important” says Willie, and so Carol storms out.
(Modesty Blaise chapter 5)

No name

“Did I ever tell you about that Japanese girl pearl diver I used to know?” he said.
“Pearl diver? No, she’s a new one, Willie.”
“Lovely girl, she was. But she was always practising ’olding her breath. She could do it for minutes on end, and she used to practise at the funniest times.”
“Not in bed?”
“So help me, Princess. In bed. Frightened the life out of me, first time she did it. Talk about creepy.”
She laughed. “All this time and I’m still not sure whether you make these girl-stories up, Willie.”
“I don’t make ’em up,” he said simply. “I reckon there must be something about me that attracts bizarre girls.”
(Sabre-Tooth, chapter 10)


“If she’s Pacco's girl, will she talk?”
“I got her out of trouble once with the police and she was grateful. But I think she will talk to Willie anyway. Pacco is her meal-ticket, but she’s a little bit crazy about Willie.”
(Modesty Blaise chapter 7)

No name

“Some people are born lucky,” Willie Garvin said reminiscently, putting a glass into Tarrant’s hand. “I knew a girl in Bangkok once, and her father was in the fertiliser business. He drove a sewage cart. Well, one day—”
“We’ll have that later, Willie love.”
(Sabre-Tooth, chapter 21)


There was a touch of indignation in Willie’s voice. “I’ve fixed to take Melanie to Le Touquet tomorrow for a couple of days or so.”
“Which one’s that?”
“Dark girl with the big mouth—sings at The Pink Flamingo.”
Later … “I’m thinking of Melanie.” Tarrant’s voice was urbane. “Dark girl with the big mouth. You mentioned that you’re taking her to Le Touquet tomorrow for a few days.”
Willie grinned and relaxed. “Ah, that’s all right,’ he said. “She’s basically an eater. I mean food. Goes more for the food than the romance. It won’t break little Melanie’s ’eart if I call the trip off. I’ll send ’er a bunch of violets and a pork pie instead.”
(Sabre-Tooth, chapter 2)


“I’ve ’ad worse lumps. Did I ever tell you about a girl I used to know in a village near Heraklion? Aliki, her name was. She was crazy jealous.”
“He makes them up,” Modesty said to Tarrant.
“I don’t, Princess. Honest. We used to sleep out on the balcony, first floor. Just a single bed with little castors on. Well, she got the idea I was after some other Cretan girl, and you know what she did?”
“No, we don’t know what she did,” Modesty said with the brisk interest of a music hall comic’s feed. “Tell us, Mr. Garvin, what did she do?”
“Well, this balcony rail was just wood and pretty flimsy. So she waited till we’d gone to sleep one night, then she got up …” He paused and drank. “She was a really big girl, see? Hefty.”
“Go on,” Tarrant said, fascinated. “What did she do?”
“She gets round the side of the bed and she heaves. I wake up just as the bed an’ me go smashing through this balcony railings, like I was on a dirty great roller-skate. Over the edge and down on the grass. Twenty foot. Wham! Two legs broken.”
“You broke both legs?” Tarrant stared.
“No. Two of the bed-legs. I fell clear. But I got some lumps, though.” Willie drank reminiscently. “I’ve always ’ated sleeping in a bed with castors on ever since. It’s a phobia. I can’t get to sleep in one.”
Modesty was looking at him blankly. She said, ‘Is that why you took the castors off the bed in the spare room at the penthouse?”
“M’mm.” Wille nodded virtuously. “I told you I wasn’t making it up, Princess. It’s the Aliki-complex.”
(I, Lucifer, chapter 7)


The early evening, Willie reflected, was really his favourite time for it. Later they could take a cab from her flat, dine at Ehmke, where he would once again test the theory about oysters, then on to St. Pauli and a nightclub; a few drinks, a little dancing, and a stroll up Davidstrasse and along the bright, narrow parade where the girls sat in shop windows on display, waiting for the occasional customer from among the throng of sight-seers; and so home to bed again for a couple of hours before he had to unwind himself from Ilse’s arms and legs to reach the airport in time for his plane.
Ilse opened her eyes and patted his cheek. “I’m glad you came, Willie.” Her English held an American inflexion.
(Sabre-Tooth, chapter 6)

Rosita (1)

Willie Garvin returned to his breakfast. ‘Your whiskers keep growing for quite a while after you’re dead,’ he said reminiscently. ‘I found that out when I was knocking around in Rio.’
‘You knew a girl there?’ said Modesty.
‘M’mm. Her old man was an undertaker and she used to ’elp with the business. Stiffs passing through were kept in a cool cellar on army surplus beds. She used to shave ’em after twelve hours, and I used to give a hand. Trouble was, you’d stretch the skin to get a nice smooth stroke with the razor, and it stayed stretched. There was a real knack in getting their faces straightened out after you’d finished shaving ’em. The thing is, I dropped a right clanger the first time I ’elped. I was shaving this stiff, doing a nice job, because the family always like ’em to look right, and I put me knee on the bed to lean across and get busy on the other side of ’is face. The bed sagged in the middle, and ’e sagged a bit with it. That squeezed the air out of ’is lungs, and suddenly ’e was making this ’orrible wailing groan at me.’
Dall said, ‘Good God.’
‘Rosita told me afterwards that it sometimes ’appened,’ said Willie, munching. ‘But blimey, I nearly went through the ceiling.’
Modesty eyed him dubiously. ‘I’m not sure it’s wise, but somebody has to feed you the next line, she said. ‘All right. What was the clanger?’
Willie grimaced. ‘Well, I jumped! Rosita didn’t ’alf create about ’aving to sew the bloke’s ear back on.’
(I, Lucifer, chapter 19)


‘No. But don’t worry about that, Willie love. I’m sure you’re heavily involved.’
A chuckle. ‘Trouble is, this one’s a romantic.’
‘That’s good, isn’t it?’
‘A romantic. She wants me to spend the evening listening to one of these fado singers wailing about unrequited love. Too lugubrious for my liking.’
(Sabre-Tooth, chapter 10)

Maureen (1)

Willie Garvin came up with a pile of clothes, his own and Modesty’s. ‘I knew a nurse in Liverpool once,’ he said, pulling on trousers over his wet shorts. ‘She’d got a marvellous theory about the best way to sweat out a cold. All you needed was a double bed, four ’ot water bottles. And her. I always seemed to be feeling a cold coming on in those days, but she’d stop ’em dead. Then I got a real cold. A stinker. Felt like death. So Maureen starts a course of crash treatment on me …’ He shook his head and held out Modesty’s shirt for her to slip on. ‘If she ’adn’t caught the cold off me an’ flaked out ’erself she’d ’ve just about killed me.’
(I, Lucifer, chapter 25)

Rita (1)

Willie spends several days with Rita, Jack Wish's girlfriend, in an effort to find out about Wish's employers.
'She appeared in the doorway, a blonde girl with short hair and plump curves. Her eyes were large and brown, her face round and pretty like the face of a doll.'
He finds her boring and is appalled when she switches off Petula Clark's singing Downtown on TV.
(I, Lucifer, chapter 11)

No Name

I once took an American girl for a week's shark-fishing around the Marquesas, and we never saw a fin!

The Galley Slaves, panel 1582.)


‘Another old friend of yours?’ Collier asked politely.
Willie shook his head. ‘Bedfellow,’ he said simply. ‘Nice and friendly with it, though. Une petite amie, as the French say. They’ve got a way of putting things.’
Later she is described as a girl in her middle twenties, with red hair and a small round face. It is to her flat that Willie and Modesty take Ren´┐Ż Vaubois to force a stand-off with the assassins.
(I, Lucifer, chapter 2)

Claudine visits Willie in his Montmartre flat just before Willie is abducted by Dom Tregallion's men. Later she helps Modesty trace the kidnappers.
(Those about to Die, panels 3849, 3853-4 and 3883-91)

Willie is encouraged to go to Claudine in Paris to be nursed from his injuries.
(The Vanishing Dollybirds, panel 4141a)

Claudine is primed to deliver a false message that Willie has walked out on her, when Sweet Caroline try to get in touch.
(Sweet Caroline, panels 5888-90)

Willie is spending a week with Claudine in Paris while Maude Tiller visits Vaubois.
(Our Friend Maude, panels 7965 seq.)

Willie arranges for Claudine to impersonate Modesty in order to distract Linique's agents.
(The Killing Distance, panel 8559a)

Willie has been visiting Claudine when he hears about Mr Haley's visit.
(Ripper Jax, panel 8724a)

Claudine was used as a hostage by Mr Kiffis and Honeygun in a Network-era event.
(Honeygun, panel 8912)

Maureen (2)

I used to know a girl rowing champion once—Maureen, lived at Henley—six and a quarter inch chest-expansion she'd got, no kidding.
(The Galley Slaves, panel 1682.)


Modesty: I thought you had a heavy romance on.
Willie: No ... I told Lorna to get lost while I came up to fetch you, and she just walked out! Funny girl.
(The Head Girls, panel 993)


After two minutes the sharp pain had ebbed. He prised the clinging mass of the sea star away with the iron and put on his flipper again, wondering vaguely why he should have thought of the creature as ‘Dorah’. … During the leisurely ascent, watching his small air bubbles to make sure he did not rise faster than they did, it occurred to him that the memory stirred by the vacuum action of the sea urchin concerned a remarkable girl called Dorah he had once known for a while in Portsmouth.
(A Taste for Death, chapter 1)


‘Kept me out of mischief, too,’ Willie added, then grinned suddenly. ‘Except in Papeete. Met a girl called Lala who took a shine to me. After three weeks I could ’ardly stand up. Then I found she was the local witch-woman an’ was priming me with love potions. Lucky I was only after a couple of small black pearls there.’
‘Love potions?’ said Tarrant with disbelief. ‘I thought primitive aphrodisiacs of rhinoceros horn and the like had been disproven.’
‘Try a week with Lala sometime,’ Willie said. ‘She uses some kind of crushed ant, I think. Anyway, it works.’
(A Taste for Death, chapter 10)

Dinah Pilgrim

The blind girl with an advanced gift for dowsing and locating buried treasure, rescued by Willie from abduction by Gabriel. She is Willie's girl in A Taste for Death, and Modesty tells Tarrant: ‘She’s different from Willie’s list of runners. It wouldn’t astound me if he threw away his address book for Dinah.’ However Dinah finds his way of life too stressful and marries Steve Collier. Both she and Steve remain important characters in the rest of the books and in the late strips.


‘I was in a circus once, with a girl from Cadiz.’
‘A circus?’ Her surprise was genuine.
‘Didn’t I ever tell you?’
‘No. Tell me now.’
‘It was only a couple of weeks. I was trouble-shooter in this little tenting circus. She was a trapezist, and ’er catcher went on the bottle, so I took over.’ He grinned, remembering. ‘Flying Francesca, they billed ’er. I could’ve told ’em a better word.’
‘You hung upside down on a trapeze and caught her?’
‘M’mm. It’s not too bad once you’ve got the timing right. We used to practise ’alf the night at first.’ He looked up from his work. ‘I bet I’m one of the only two men in the world that ever got seduced at three in the morning on a trapeze.’
Modesty stared. Then her shoulders began to shake and her face lit with laughter. ‘It can’t be done. It can’t, Willie!’
‘Honest, Princess. Upside down, like a bat. I don’t say it’s easy. You got to concentrate. But Francesca was crazy about it.’
‘Well … it’s new. But I can’t see it becoming a trend. Who was the other bat-man?’
‘Pedro. The catcher I stood in for. I think she was a bit too keen for ’im. That’s why he went on the bottle.’
‘And what about yourself, Willie?’
He rasped a hand across his stubbly chin. ‘I think it might lave grown on me,’ he said reminiscently. ‘But the third time, we fell off. Always ’ad a safety net for practice, but a double fall’s dodgy, even with a net. So I quit before I did meself a mischief.’
(A Taste for Death, chapter 16)

Erica Nolan

Satisfied, he went to bed. Since he did not want to think about the house in Welbury Square he thought about his current campaign to achieve a close and horizontal relationship with one Erica Nolan, aged twenty-seven, a Professor of Sociology at the LSE, whose philosophical convictions he found hilarious but whose physical parts exerted a compelling attraction on him. In five minutes he was asleep.
(The Impossible Virgin, chapter 3.)

Madge Baker

Madge Baker was a woman a few years older than Modesty and of infinite energy, most of which she devoted to good works of various kinds. The rest she devoted to men, a subject in which her immense enthusiasm and cheerful inventiveness had made her highly qualified. Willie had once spent a stimulating month with her in Greece, an experience he recalled with pleasure as he folded a pound note and put it in the collecting box.
(The Soo Girl Charity)


A girl working in a bath-house who had helped Willie on a previous visit to Tokyo. She is kidnapped by the war-lords so that they can threaten Modesty and Willie if they disobey.
(The War-lords of Phoenix, panels 2073 seq.)


‘I once knew a girl who was a bit like the way this bloke [Pennyfeather] sounds. Blundered around full of goodwill like a St Bernard puppy. She was a nurse, come to think of it. I got quite paternal about ’er. Well, not exactly paternal. She was lovely to sleep with. Made you feel good, like after a sauna.’
(The Impossible Virgin, chapter 1.)

No Name

Willie phones Modesty from Paris to ask her cancel a dinner date with Inspector Brook, since he is with a girl artist who wants to paint his head. "What colour?" asks Modesty.
(With Love from Rufus, panels 2741-3)


‘I remember my first girl all right.’
‘Who was she?’
‘Annie who?’
‘I dunno, Princess. We all just called ’er Annie the Bang at the orphanage. She was the caretaker’s daughter, and ’is name was Old Creep.’
‘How old were you?’
‘Fourteen. It was just before I ran away. She was sixteen. Dumb as a post, but willing. It wasn’t all that romantic. She was the only female around, and the big kids ’ad ’er under contract. You could buy ’alf an hour in the boiler room with Annie for a packet of snout or ’alf a dollar. They gave Annie twenty per cent, but in chocolate. Pretty fat, she was.’ He looked rueful. ‘I was all steamed up to get at Annie and find out what it was all about, but there was nobody to send me parcels and things, so I was always skint.’
‘Don’t tell me you by-passed her agents?’
‘Not exactly. There was this big kid, the boss man. Dicer, we used to call ’im. A right villain, ’e was, but a sucker for a gamble. So I took ’im on at conkers, and rigged the game. Won fifteen minutes with Annie.’
(The Impossible Virgin, chapter 3. The mention of conkers inspires the plan to steal Brunel's safe.)


He made a date with Bridget for that evening in the village. Since she was rather plain and distinctly plump, Bridget had often been stood up on dates, despite her warm nature, so it was to her surprise and pleasure that the man from the Electricity Board [Willie] met her as arranged.
What happened later, in his big old car after a fish-and-chip supper, came as an even greater surprise and pleasure to her.
(The Soo Girl Charity)


She looked at him curiously. ‘Who was this she-expert who told you about African wasps?’
‘Brenda. Bright girl, about twenty-eight. Very passionate she turned out to be. Liked a romp in the open air. Smell of new-mown grass, the whisper of the breeze, and all that nymph and satyr stuff. She ’ad a little cottage in Devon I went to.’
‘About the wasps, Willie.’
‘Ah well, she was a hymenopterist.’
‘That sounds indecent.’
‘I ’ad the same thought, but it’s not about hymens. She was a wasp-lady. Studied them. Had a degree and all that. Anyway, we were in a nice warm tangle in the garden one summer afternoon when she told me. First I got stung, and then she told me. She’d got bees and wasps and ’ornets there, so she could study them live.’
‘That’s a nasty moment to get stung.’ Modesty pressed knuckles to her lips to suppress a bubble of laughter. ‘Was it very bad?’
‘Bloody wicked,’ he said feelingly. ‘Got me on the rump, and put me right off. After she’d doctored me I ’ad to go and look at all ’er colour-slides. Went on for hours it did, and I was sitting sideways all the time. That’s when I saw pictures of these wasps we’ve got down ’ere. Went rabbiting on about them quite a bit, she did. Seemed to think I’d be fascinated by wasps and their ’abits. I never went back. Told ’er I’d found out one of their ’abits and that was enough for me. Might’ve given me a complex that ruined my love-life. I think you’re laughing, Princess.’
(The Impossible Virgin, chapter 13.)

Willie: I once had a girlfriend who was a hymenopterist…used to talk about wasps in ’er sleep.
Modesty: I didn't think your girlfiends got any sleep.
(Million Dollar Game, panel 6698)


Tarrant said, ‘How is Willie forgetting his sorrows?’
‘With Mavis. He’s flown to Jersey for a long weekend with her.’
‘I haven’t met her, but according to Willie she’s a very tall showgirl with more and bigger curves than you’d think possible on any human being. Mentally as thick as two planks, but unfailingly cheerful and bursting with enthusiasm. He says it’s like going to bed with four girls and a cylinder of laughing-gas. I think she’s just the sort to take him out of himself.’
(The Giggle-wrecker)

No name

“I once knew a girl who was a dactyliomancist,” said Willie Garvin. He sat on a high stool in the big kitchen of the penthouse, eating raisins from a jar at his elbow.
“A what?”
“A dactyliomancist. This girl I knew.”
She gave a casual nod. “Oh, was she?”
“M’mm.” Willie ate some more raisins. “She used a ring about two inches across, made of iron, with a little ’ole on one edge and a spike opposite.”
(The Silver Mistress, chapter 4)

Lady Jane Gillam

[She is introduced in the story I had a date with Lady Jane, and is a main character in The Silver Mistress.]
She was silent, remembering. Here she lay, Lady Janet Gillam, daughter of an earl, with her head on the shoulder of a Cockney who had walked into her life three years ago. That was after her jet-set, hell-raising days; after her stupid, defiant marriage to Walter Gillam, the drunken playboy who had killed himself in the same car-crash which had deprived her of her left leg from just below the knee.
(The Silver Mistress, chapter 3)
She has a minor part in Dragon's Claw, The Xanadu Talisman, The Night of Morningstar, and Dead Man's Handle.

She also appears in three of the strips: Idaho George, Million Dollar Game, and The Murder Frame.

Rosita (2)

Willie Garvin said, ‘I once knew a girl called Rosita. Little Spanish girl she was, very passionate. Used to wear those big ornamental combs in ’er ’air. Did I ever tell you about ’er, Princess?’
‘Was she the trapeze artist?’
‘No, that was Francesca, from Cadiz. Rosita came from Seville. Used to wear these combs in bed. But in what you might call the throes, she’d fling ’er ’ead about a lot, and they’d come loose. Dangerous, it was. I nearly got stabbed in the throat once. Still got the scar.’
(Last Day in Limbo, chapter 3)


Circus acrobat. She wants Willie to marry her, and has three fierce Turkish "brothers" who, she threatens, will force him to agree. It turns out that they are not her brothers and do not wish to lose her as a colleague.
(The Bluebeard Affair, panels 2871 seq.)


Very carefully she felt his ribs.
‘Nothing cracked, Princess. I’ve ’ad worse than this from Siv when she was feeling romantic.’
‘Swedish girl I met in Florida. She wrestled alligators.’
‘God, Willie, I don’t know where you ever found the time.
(Last Day in Limbo, chapter 5)


Willie: It's going to break my ’eart when you fly out tonight, Sue.
Sue: You'll have other air hostesses flying in, Joyce, then Laura, then Molly.
Willie: I'm just on nodding terms with them.
Sue: Yes, and you're just about the biggest nodder in New Guinea.
(The Iron God, panel 3198)


“Almost as bad as Anita.”
“Who’s Anita?”
“American girl I met years ago.
“Go on. What happened with you and Anita?”
“She was with some archeological dig working out from a little village north of Tuz Golu, and ’er name was Anita. She was a very literary girl, and crazy about Ernest Hemingway. Seemed to take a liking to me, so I went back to the village with ’er for a few days. Thought I’d pick up a bit of culture.”
“Just culture?”
“Well, no. She was renting a couple of rooms in one of the village ’ouses, and I moved in with ’er. So as well as literary culture and archeological culture, I used to enjoy what she called sexual congress with ’er. She said Graham Greene always called it that in ’is books, sexual congress. I ’ad a job not to laugh. Then there was the Hemingway bit. You know For Whom the Bell Tolls, and the way he goes on about it being so terrific for the hero and the gypsy girl that the earth moves when they ’ave sexual congress, only Hemingway doesn’t call it that?”
“I thought nobody got the earth-moving bit more than … was it three times?”
“Something like that. Anita was always trying for it, anyway. Very industrious in bed, she was. Well, about the third night, it ’appened. The earth moved for both of us.”
“No, honest, Princess. It really ’appened. … Next thing was, the roof fell in on us. We’d ’ad an earthquake, and the earth was moving for just about everybody within five miles, whether they were ’aving sexual congress or not. … It was only a bad tremor, an’ nobody was killed, but we were pinned down on the bed by a wooden joist, and smothered with plaster. Anita ’ad ’er eyes closed, and she didn’t catch on at first, she reckoned it was all ’er fault that the earth moved and the roof fell in, because she was so terrific with the Kama Sutra stuff. She kept ’ollering —” his voice took on a strong, twanging falsetto, “ ‘Gahd, Willie, I’m sahrry!’ ”
(Dragon’s Claw, chapter 9)

Maude Tiller

Jacoby chewed his lip savagely for a moment. ‘I notice you’ve been giving Maude special attention. Hoping to make it with her?’
Maude stepped away from the wall and said a little tiredly, ‘Willie made it with me a long time ago, if it’s of any interest, Mr Jacoby.’ Two years ago now, she recalled, when Tarrant had put her in to handle communications for a request job that Modesty and Willie were doing for him. But that was none of Jacoby’s business.
(Last Day in Limbo, chapter 2)

Maude is assigned to help Modesty find Willie in Dead Man's Handle.

Maude also features in nine of the strips, The Puppet Master, The Wicked Gnomes, Idaho George, The Brethren of Blaise, Garvin's Travels, The Double Agent, Our Friend Maude, The Murder Frame and Fraser's Story. A running gag is that almost every time she expects to enjoy an amorous time with Willie, something intervenes to frustrate it.


“That’s fine, Princess. Let’s see. Did I ever tell about the first girl I ever ’ad?”
“Wasn’t that the caretaker’s daughter at the orphanage The one called Annie the Bang, that you won in a game of conkers?”
“Ah, I must ’ave told you. What about the second girl, Grace?” His words were leisurely now, and she could feel the tension slowly draining for him.
She said, “No. Grace is a new one.”
“Well … I met ’er when I was fifteen, and the orphanage put me out to learn a trade. There were two other lads in the workshop with me, and we used to call ’er Amazing Grace … she was about thirty, I suppose, married to a bloke much older who ran this radio and TV repair shop where we worked. She was plump and chirpy, with a pretty face and a two-track mind. No interest in anything except bed sports and watching television. Any television, from university stuff to kid’s stuff.”
He gave a sleepy chuckle. “No problem about the TV. She even ’ad one fixed on the wall in ’er bedroom. But the old chap, Arthur, he wasn’t interested in sex. Spent most days with his ’ead stuck inside TV sets, and I don’t think he cared what she did. Anyway, what she used to do twice a day was appear in the workshop and say that ’er television was acting up, and she wanted one of us to come and see to it. Soon as you got up there, she pounced, and then you were busy on the bed for the next ’alf hour, with ’er giggling and whispering and full of ideas. She could’ve opened a school for it, I reckon.”
Modesty smoothed a hand over his forehead. “Twice a day, Willie?”
“Regular as clockwork. Ten-thirty and five. The old chap must ’ave realised it was a farce, pretending her set was going wrong twice a day, but maybe he was grateful. And it suited us lads all right. We loved it. The five o’clock shift was best, because you got a cup of tea after, so we worked out a roster for the three of us, to make sure we took proper turns. The only thing that bothered us a bit was that she kept the TV set switched on all the time, and she kept an eye on it too, no matter which way up she was.”
Modesty felt laughter threatening to shake her, and struggled against it. There was growing drowsiness in his voice now as he went on, “… so you’d be going at it ’ammer and tongs, and suddenly there’d be some crucial bit in Crossroads, or whatever she was watching. Then she’d stop and ’old still till the crucial bit was over …”
His voice trailed to silence, but after several seconds he said sleepily, “What was I saying, Princess?”
“About Amazing Grace combining sex with watching television.”
“M’mm. Well … one day I ’ad an idea for a bit of a giggle. She was a good sport, see. Bit of a giggle. Nobby was on five o’clock shift. Next day, I mean. So we … Charlie Gravett and me … we ran a flex up to the speaker of the television set. The one on the wall of ’er bedroom. Ran a flex up … with a mike the other end … so we could …”
His voice became a mumble, then with a deep sigh he slept.
(The Xanadu Talisman, chapter 3)


Works for Willie and Georgi Gogol's circus. Determined to track down here sister who has vanished into a Middle Eastern harem, she involves Modesty and Willie.
(The Vanishing Dollybirds, panels 4037 seq.)


“Well … here it is, Princess. I once knew a girl called Genevieve who suffered from arachibutyrophobia.”
“You’ll just have to tell me, Willie.”
“It means an obsessive fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. I thought everybody knew that.”
“Tell me, Willie,” she said, “how did you cure her?”
“Well, when she’d spread the peanut butter on the bread, I got ’er to bite into it upside down. Made ’er very ’appy. Fat, but ’appy.”
(Dead Man’s Handle, chapter 10)


Modesty: I thought you'd flown out to Istanbul for a hot little holiday with your friend Zehra, the belly-dancer.
Willie: I did, but we crossed. She left a message saying she was flying off to London for a cabaret job.
Modesty: Poor old Willie!
(The Junk Men, panel 4147)

No name

Willie impresses the tribespeople by breathing fire.
Modesty: I didn't know you could do that.
Willie: It never came up before, Princess, but I once ’ad a girlfriend in a circus who was a fire-eater.
(The Iron God, panel 3236.)


Willie talks to Modesty on the telephone while in a Jacuzzi with Daphne. After the call he says: 'Sorry Daphne, I've got to go away for a few weeks. See yourself out, will you?' She is annoyed.
(Death Trap, panel 4284)

Rita (2)

Having disguised himself as an elderly gardener and overcome the abductors Tarquin and Damion, Willie says the Giles: "It gives you an edege when they think you're a push-over. Haven't had so much fun since I took Rita to Rio."
That is all we are told about this Rita, but she is obviously not the same as Rita (1).
(The Young Mistress, panel 7812)


Modesty: Hello, Willie. I thought you were with that new showbiz bird of yours, Juanita.
Willie: I was, but she rehearses in ’er sleep…kicked me black and blue, so I sneaked off about three amd popped in ’ere for a bit of sleep meself.
Modesty: Never go to bed with a Spanish dancer, Sir G. They’re murder on your shins.
(The Golden Frog, panel 4472)


Erstwhile contortionist in Gogol's circus, later with Ringwell's circus.
(Ivory Dancer, panels 7892 seq.)

Sarah Dean

Willie (watching TV): That girl, Sarah Dean. I know ’er.
Modesty: I bet you know her in the biblical sense—she's dishy.
Willie: Well, no and yes. We met in Paris last year and I took ’er around a bit. But I never tried to get ’er to bed, just tried to boost ’er confidence. She was pretty crushed.
(Brethren of Blaise, panels 4859 seq.)


Modesty: You were out with Susie that night. How is she, Willie? Still best described as an affectionate anaconda?
Willie: Supple as ever, Princess.
(The Aristo, panel 8608)


“Willie? How do you know clever things like what Oscar Wilde said?”
“Ah, that was Veronica. Remember the girl I brought along to the Newmarket races last year? She was at Cambridge, doing a thesis on Wilde, and most nights I ’ad to spend hours listening while she ’eld forth—”
(The Xanadu Talisman, chapter 5)

No name

Jason: How is it you came out ahead of Modesty and Uncle Gerald?
Willie: I thought I'd spend a bit of time in Dunedin with a girl I used to know. Met her when she was an air-hostess. Nice, lively girl. "Fly me, Willie," she used to say.
Jason: And?
Willie: I found the ’ouse but she’d got married and ’er ’usband answered the door. I ’ad to pretend I was selling insurance.
(The Maori Contract, panel 8804a)


Half an hour after midnight, the blonde Swiss air hostess sprawled on Willie Garvin’s bed said, “What in heaven’s name have you done to your ankles?”
“Oh … I was a prisoner in a chain gang.” He drew a finger down her spine, and she rolled over to look up at him.
“But those are new hurts,” she said. “I think you are telling lies again, Weelie.”
All foreign girls called him Weelie, he reflected. None of them could manage the short ‘i’. He summoned up a look of indignation and said, “What d’you mean, again?”
“That is what the other girls say, too. That you tell beeg lies.”
(The Xanadu Talisman, chapter 7)


Former cheer-leader, keeps company with Willie and Sir Gerald on a game-fishing trip in Jamaica. When Modesty calls, she bows out: "No, I'm cute but dumb. It's only your princess who's really important, I guess. But thanks anyway."
(Dossier on Pluto, panels 4935 seq.)

Rosita (3)

Bar keeper and girlfriend of the villainous Gaspar. Willie sets out to seduce her in order to plant a story that new alarms will be installed at the dolphinarium.
(Dossier on Pluto, panels 4997 seq.)


Former Network employee who poses as a nurse while Willie pretends to be a doctor and injects da Silva to kidnap him, and subsequently spends the night with him, which she would never have done in Network days.
(The Ladykillers, panels 5057 seq.)


Willie arrives on St Cyprian as Modesty is dealing with Dimples Calhoun's thugs.
Willie: I was in Barbados with a girl called Angela and she gave me the elbow.
Modesty: Oh, that wasn't very nice, Willie. Excuse me.
She delivers a knockout blow.
(The Scarlet Maiden, panel 5245)


Aniela is the girlfriend/fiancee of Guido, the crazy Italian journalist who appears in four strips. Although Willie is usually careful not to break up relationships or to sleep with married women, Aniela often throws herself at him in order to take revenge on Guido for some insult or stupid behaviour.
In The Balloonatics,
Modesty: Aniela, I thought you were going with Willie Garvin.
Aniela: So did I, but then I changed my mind, or perhaps he changed his. I’m not really sure.
(Panel 5620)
In Milord,
Aniela: I will forgive Guido but not yet, Weelie — first I must help you to forget.
Willie: Your heart is in the right place, Aniela, so is the rest of you.
(Panel 7034a)
In Guido the Jinx,
Aniela: Weelie, you are safe and unhurt and not exhausted? I have told Guido I will take you on a lustful holiday to make up for what he did.
. . .
Willie: You weren’t supposed to come back with me.
Aniela: I know but I have never been made love to on a mountain top and this is the only chance I shall ever have. Do you mind, Weelie?
Willie: To be honest, Aniela, I’m quite glad there’s only me here to oblige.
(Panels 8448 and 8484)
In The Last Aristocrat, when Guido fails to turn up for his wedding, Aniela takes Willie away to the honeymoon cottage.
(Panels 9909 – 9914)

Lois Denton

She proposes marriage, but Willie tells her he has three wives already. She turns ouit to be a colleague of CIA gent Chuck Lattimer.
(The Alternative Man, panels 5769 seq.)


Willie hides at Sandra's flat while waiting for Sweet Caroline to approach Modesty.
(Sweet Caroline, panels 5874-6)


Willie is in bed with Cynthia at The Treadmill when he receives a phone call summoning him to Helsinki.
(Return of the Mammoth, panels 5916-7)


Modesty phones Willie at a cottage in Devon, but Ingrid picks up the phone and pretends it is a wrong number. Later she is revealed to be a Salamander Four agent, part of a plot to acquire the Network files.
(Plato's Republic, panels 6023 seq.)

Amanda and Laraine

Willie is planning to take Amanda to Paris for the weekend, but cries off when told of Modesty's accident with the sailplane. Amanda promises to form an association of girls stood up by Willie.
After the 40-mile walk, Marcus the gang boss relinquishes his Rolls, his caravan and his girlfriend Laraine to Willie, but Willie falls asleep.
(The Sword of the Bruce, panels 6132-3 and 6214-5)

Molly Chen

Without losing concentration, he noted and was amused by the sight of Molly Chen walking about on her hands while she waited, slender legs waving in the air. This was a new trick she had acquired in pursuit of her ambition [to be a circus acrobat]. A little over five feet tall, Molly weighed less than a hundred and ten pounds. Her body was small-boned but nicely fleshed, and Willie Garvin had found great delight in it. Her dark hair was cropped short, and it seemed to Willie that her face had scarcely aged at all in the nine years since he had first met her in Hong Kong. It was a broad face, rather plain, with large happy eyes, and Willie was very fond of it.
(Dead Man's Handle, chapter 2)


One of the nurses held captive by the Paladins. In gratitude for her rescue she promises to visit Willie at the Treadmill.
(The Big Mole, panel 7339)


Australian lawyer and friend of Larry Houston of Australian Security. She once visited Willie's pub, The Treadmill, and now entertains him when they meet by chance in Australia. A central character in this story.
(Walkabout, panels 7645 seq.)


[In Willie's bedroom at The Treadmill, after Modesty's phone call]
Laura: Willie, what are you doing?
Willie: Going to Guatemala. I'll call you when I'm back, Laura. Try and remember where we’d got to.
(Durango, panel 9030)

Hannah Beaumont

Daughter of Sir Robert Beaumont, kidnapped by Simon Vance for revenge. She visits Willie at The Treadmill after being rescued by Willie and Modesty.
(The Hanging Judge, panel 9643 seq)

Grand total: 71

Page created by John Higgins, last updated 7 May 2024