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danny boyle directing: good news?

It’s actually great news that Bond 25 has a director. This director, however, said he’s signed on tentatively after 1) he approves the script he’s now editing and 2) finishes another project.

Perhaps the November 2019 date for the new Bond film is in jeopardy! The franchise needs to make Bond films faster to keep pace with the comic franchises and to keep young fans interested.

Who wrote “The Adventures of James Bond Junior 003.5”?

“Double-Oh-Three” was released in the UK in 1967 and the US in `68 under the pseudonym “R.D. Mascott”. A few names have been kicked around about the true identity of the mystery writer for this book. Roald Dahl (“James and the Giant Peach”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and the screenplays for “You Only Live Twice” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”) and Kingsley Amis (Colonel Sun) to name two. Probably not these fellows. But the “Jr.” could be a clue.

The plot: James Bond`s nephew foils bank robbers who hijack an armoured van containing over two million pounds in gold bullion. James Bond himself never appears, but is mentioned several times:

–“Tell me, what`s it like, James being overshadowed by 007? And why ever did that father of yours call you James, knowing the trouble it`d cause you?”

James told her that he`d never met James Bond. His parents never saw him – he was always away on some mission or other.

–“But I wrote to him once. You know, as man to man. I thought, well, we had something in common.”


“He sent me a sheath knife. But he didn`t really say much – not like he realized, I mean.”

The author`s identity was never revealed. He couldn`t have been Kingsley Amis or Roald Dahl as the writing style is nothing like them. Possibilities include William Plomer, Alan Ross, Nichol Fleming. We assume that whoever wrote it was known to either Glidrose or the Fleming family; the mystery author also wrote extremely well and the story moves along fast.

Possible theories. 1) William Plomer. Plomer (whose surname rhymes with “rumour”) was an accomplished novelist and also Ian Fleming`s friend and editor, who wrote and delivered the memorial address for Mr. Fleming`s funeral. Passages in the book do suggest Plomer; though several specifics in the book refute this argument. Plomer would have been sensitive enough to want his identity kept secret–even after death (he died in 1973).

2)Nichol Fleming. The character is Bond`s nephew, and Nichol was Ian`s nephew. Furthermore, Nichol got started with his own writing career in the mid 60`s, turning out Bond-ish spy thrillers such as “Counter Paradise”, “Czech Point”, (ha-ha!)”Hash” and “Takeover”. (See related question on Takeover elsewhere.) Nichol, also known as Nicholas, died May 9, 1995 at age 56. This is the most likely possibility.

3) Alan Ross. Ross was a poet and a close friend of Ian Fleming, who wrote four childrens` novels during the late 1950s through the mid 60s. This might explain why Ross wrote a children`s novel instead of a Bond novel as with 003. Ross`s 1965 children`s novel “The Wreck Of Moni” has many story elements in common with 003: gold, poisoning dogs, dog attacks, German villains, children having council of war sessions, planning what their next step will be, disputing property with adults. Both books have a brief denouement explaining that the villains were convicted and incarcerated, etc. Even the differences have parallels! 003 begins with a father and his spouse going on vacation, “Moni” begins with father and family arriving on their vacation.

It`s seems likely that whoever wrote the book was known to Glidrose and possibly Ann Fleming. **UPDATE: Our story reveals the authorship of 003! Read the “Search For R.D. Mascott” story in our Investigative Reports section!

Who were Ian Fleming`s favorite authors?

Fleming once told an interviewer that his favorites included Graham Greene, Georges Simenon, and his personal friend and book editor William Plomer.

His favourite novel was supposedly “The Magic Mountain” by Thomas Mann (author of “Death In Venice”). “All Night At Mr Stanyhurst`s”, by Hugh Edwards, was another fave. Fleming convinced his British publisher, Jonathan Cape, to reprint it; Fleming wrote an introduction to the novel.

Fleming may have read “Appointment in Samarra” before including it as a chapter title to “You Only Live Twice”. “Samarra” in its first edition fetches $5,000 a copy today.

Who now owns the rights to the Bond novels and what can you tell me about them?

In either late 1996 or early 1997 Ian Fleming`s nieces Kate and Lucy bought controlling interest in Glidrose from Booker McConnell.

Back in March 1964, Ian Fleming sold 51% of Glidrose to his golfing friend the late Lord Jock Campbell (a socialist, Campbell was also a patron of literature; England`s most famous literary prize is named after his company – Kingsley Amis won the Booker in 1986). Fleming did this to minimize his “supertax” losses.

Kate and Lucy Fleming`s father was Ian`s brother Peter Fleming (1907-1971); their mother was actress Celia Johnson (1908-1982), best known for her Academy Award nominated performance in David Lean`s film “Brief Encounter” (co-written by the Fleming family friend Noel Coward).

Kate Grimond (nee Fleming) was born May 24th, 1946. Her father once wrote about her: “Kate, 11, tall and rather beautiful”. She studied Russian at Oxford (St Anne`s House) and travelled with her father during his trip to the Caucasus during the summer of 1966, where her Russian came in handy. She was an assistant to Alan Ross on his “London Magazine” (Ross was friends with Ian and Ann Fleming; he appears in “The Man With The Golden Gun” as Commander Ross), and was also Martin Gilbert`s researcher on his official biography of Winston Churchill.

In 1973 she married the journalist John (“Johnnie”) Grimond, who is now foreign editor of the British magazine “Economist”; they have three children. She has written at least two books [and writes well – NK]: the first, “The Churchills” (pub 1975), is a history of the famous family. Also, “Celia Johnson” (pub 1991), a biography of her actress mother.

Lucy Williams (nee Fleming) was born May 15th, 1947. Her father remarked that by age 10, she was a “good horsewoman”, and by age 14, a “keen and talented shot”: “She began by hitting a woodock and a driven cock pheasant – never having handled a shotgun before – the first time I took her out, and went on to shoot consistently well. I suppose I enjoyed her prowess and her companionship as much as I have enjoyed anything in the way of shooting.”

However, Lucy Fleming followed in her mother`s footsteps and became an actress – she had wanted to be one ever since she saw her mother perform in the Robert Bolt play “The Flowering Cherry”. She began with the Farnham repertory company and subsequently went on to the Royal Court Theatre. She even appeared with her mother in several productions including a revival of the Noel Coward play “Hay Fever”, and the 1968 BBC production (co-starring Charles Gray; Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the Bond film “Diamonds Are Forever”).

She married Joe Laycock (son of Major-General Sir Robert Laycock, an old Peter Fleming friend) in 1971 and they had several children. After a family tragedy in the early 1980s, she married actor Simon Williams (who played the role of Nigel Pennington-Smythe in the 1983 tv movie “The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.”). Lucy Fleming`s step-children Tam and Amy Williams are also actors.These are his screen credits:,+Tam

Kate Fleming once wrote that “Lucy and I […] were on the wild side; Lucy was a tomboy and was always at the top of a tree or racing about on a pony. I was very shy and shot upstairs whenever anyone visited the house. Neither of us would put on a dress if we could possibly help it. Our manners left a lot to be desired.” Moreover their childhood home, “Merrimoles”, was intentionally overrun by many unorthodox pets: labradors, a poodle, a cat, ponies, at least one horse, owls, a dormouse, two fox cubs, a raven and a grey squirrel named “Nutto”.

Peter Fleming wrote the following in his diary: “Woken early by the patter of tiny feet. Yaks, if stampeded, would make more noise, but not much more noise, than Kate (three) and Lucy (two), who constitute a knockabout turn known to our guests as the Reveille Girls.” [He goes on to say about his dogs, “Wonder what Pavlov would have made of Toby and Trigger, who never budge from the bed in my dressing-room until I start brushing my hair. Have tried going downstairs without brushing my hair. Sticklers for protocol, they stayed where they were.” He also left his family the following arrangements for his own funeral: “If there is a memorial service, I would like it to be at the Guards Chapel; the parking facilities are unrivalled.” His final instruction was, “No mourning.”] However, after they were sent off to Cranborne Chase school in Dorset (Kate in 1959, Lucy in 1960), Peter Fleming remarked that “the patter of your tiny feet is sadly missed.”

Though not part of the Fleming family, Peter Janson-Smith is responsible for day-to-day administration at Glidrose. He originally handled Eric Ambler`s foreign sales at Curtis Brown. Ambler helped set him up as an agent, and Janson-Smith`s agency was established in September 1956. Within a month, he had sold the Dutch rights to Fleming`s first four novels. Janson-Smith began handling Fleming`s serialization rights in the early sixties and was appointed to the Glidrose board of directors in 1964. In 1966, he argued successfully in favour of reprinting “The Spy Who Loved Me”, which had been pulled from distribution.

Janson-Smith`s other clients included Gavin Maxwell, Northcote Parkinson, and briefly Anthony Burgess (“A Clockwork Orange”) and Shena Mackey. His lady friend Lily Pohlmann is the widow of Eric Pohlmann, the actor who “voiced” the part of Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the Bond film “From Russia With Love”. Patrick Janson-Smith, an executive at “Transworld” publishing might be a relative (his son?)

Sources: “Peter Fleming” by Duff Hart-Davis; “Celia Johnson” by Kate Fleming; “Coastwise Lights” by Alan Ross; “You`ve Had Your Time” by Anthony Burgess; “Ian Fleming: The Man Behind The Mask” by Andrew Lycett

Who ghost-wrote Ian Fleming`s novel “The Man With The Golden Gun”?

Fleming was credited with the novel, though some readers, when the book was originally published – and others since then – have become strongly suspicious that Fleming didn`t write it, or at least wasn`t responsible for the published version. From “Ian Fleming: The Man With The Golden Pen” (by Eleanor and Dennis Pelrine):

Lynn: “The Man With The Golden Gun” wasn`t written by him. When he died, there was an announcement that he had outlined the plot of a story. A few months later he had almost finished it, and still later “He had completed it.”

Yet Andrew Lycett`s Fleming biography (“Ian Fleming: The Man Behind The James Bond”) stresses that the book had been completed and that at least one other person had read the completed manuscript (Fleming`s editor, the distinguished author and poet William Plomer); though it also says that Fleming was dissatisfied with the manuscript and wanted to rewrite it. So who and what to believe?

Fleming was in poor health, both physically and emotionally (see Andrew Lycett`s biography for specifics). Yet, arguably, “The Man With The Golden Gun” was Fleming`s best written, tautest novel.

Fleming`s prose was usually fuzzy. He overwrote. “The Man With The Golden Gun`s” writing is sharp. Fleming was arguably poor at beginnings: compare OHMSS`s bloated and overwritten beginning with “The Man With The Golden Gun`s” taut opening. The writing here is much cleaner and more efficient than in any of Fleming`s other novels. `Gun` moves at lightning pace, prose as taut as Bond`s reflexes. There`s also much more humour – which should have been a tip-off – especially in the beginning: we`re led to believe that the steak-and-kidney pudding detail ultimately convinces the British that Bond is who he says he is.

Fleming`s own writing style did seem to have been undergone something of a transition, but I`m not sure that the differences can be easily explained this way. “You Only Live Twice” (the middle fifth of which features some of Fleming`s best writing and is wonderful) is much better written than the previous novel OHMSS. Bond, of course, in “You Only Live Twice” is more like Sean Connery. Was “The Man With The Golden Gun” a step further in that direction? Namely, a fluid, tauter writing style? However, Fleming`s incomplete short story “Zographos”, started shortly before he died, disputes this:

…”It was like this, Mr Bond.” Zographos had a precise way of speaking with the thin tips of his lips while his half-hard half-soft Greek eyes measured the reaction of his words on the listener… “The Russians are chess players. They are mathematicians. Cold machines. But they are also mad. The mad ones forsake the chess and the mathematics and become gamblers. Now, Mr Bond.” Zographos laid a hand on Bond`s sleeve and quickly withdrew it because he knew Englishmen, just as he knew the characteristics of every race, every race with money, in the world. “There are two gamblers… the man who lays the odds and the man who accepts them. The bookmaker and the punter. The casino and, if you like” – Mr Zographos`s smile was sly with the “shared secret” and proud with the right word – “The suckers.”

The writing style also changes, rather suspiciously, throughout “The Man With The Golden Gun”:

A cleaner ambled in and, with the exquisite languor of such people throughout the Caribbean, proceeded to sweep very small bits of rubbish hither and thither, occasionally dipping a boneless hand into a bucket to sprinkle water over the dusty cement floor. Through the slatted jalousies a small breeze, reeking of the mangrove swamps, briefly stirred the dead air and then was gone. There were only two other passengers in the “lounge”, Cubans perhaps, with jippa-jappa luggage. A man and a woman. They sat close together against the opposite wall and stared fixedly at James Bond, adding minutely to the oppression of the atmosphere.” [Chapter 4]

Compare this to:

The cars began rolling up. Scaramanga was in evidence. He switched a careful smile of welcome on and off. No hands were shaken. The host was greeted either as “Pistol” or “Mr S” except by Mr Hendriks, who called him nothing. [Chapter 8]

Some passages sound exactly like Fleming:

Bond rose carefully. He could hardly believe it! Leiter must have been riding on the buffers behind the brake van. He wouldn`t have been able to show himself earlier for fear of Bond`s gunfire. Yes! There he was! His fair hair tousled by the wind, a long-barrelled pistol using his upraised steel hook as a rest, standing astride the now supine body of Scaramanga beside the brake wheel. Bond`s shoulder had begun to hurt like hell. He shouted, with the anger of tremendous relief[.]” [Chapter 14]

Also from the same chapter:

“Next to him, and behind him, the three gangsters gazed up at James Bond with whipped eyes. They hadn`t expected all this. This was to have been a holiday. The calypso shirts said so. Mr Scaramanga, the undefeated, the undefeatable, had said so. Until minutes before, his golden gun had backed up his world. Now, suddenly, everything was different. As the Arabs say when a great sheik has gone, has removed his protection, “Now there is no more shade! They were covered with guns from the front and the rear. The train stretched out its iron stride towards nowhere they had ever heard of before. The whistle moaned. The sun beat down. The dreadful stink of The Great Morass assailed their nostrils. This was abroad. This was bad news, really bad. The Tour Director had left them to fend for themselves. Two of them had been killed. Even their guns were gone. The tough faces, as white moons, gazed in supplication up at Bond. Louie Paradise`s voice was cracked and dry with terror. “A million bucks, Mister, if you get us out of this. Swear on my mother. A million.”

Fleming must have written these sections: they`re overwritten (compare them to the book`s first several paragraphs).

Just as many sections don`t sound like Fleming. Many agree that the Chapter 11 scene where Scaramanga confronts Bond and Mary Goodnight sounds nothing like Fleming (and is extremely jarring):

“Unless, that is, you were screwin` her.” He raised one eyebrow. “I was. Anything wrong with that? What have you been doing with the Chinese girl? Playing mahjongg?”

The strange dialogue, even Bond`s persona which is so different, bolsters the argument that somebody else wrote parts.

So who?

Kingsley Amis reportedly did some editorial work on the manuscript (though I`m not as sure it`s as much as some claim – he was only paid 36 Pounds, 15s for it), and parts do sound like him:

“James Bond frowned. He didn`t know that he had frowned and he wouldn`t have been able to explain why he had done so.” (Chapter 1)


The first law for a secret agent is to get his geography right, his means of access and exit, and assure his communications with the outside world. James Bond was uncomfortably aware of that, for the past hour, he had been driving into limbo and that his nearest contact was a girl in a brothel thirty miles away. The situation was not reassuring.”

(Chapter 7) Fleming`s Goldeneye maid Violet claimed that Fleming`s Jamaican friend, politician and journalist Morris Cargill wrote it (Fleming gave him an off-page cameo in Doctor No; he also appears as a judge in “The Man With The Golden Gun”). Compare Cargill`s writing style:

“Here again, an answer seems necessary to avoid misunderstandings, for the white or light-coloured Jamaican is often unwittingly provoked by the visitor who asks him whether the “natives” are restless, as if he were a kind of Englishman abroad, carrying the white man`s burden with stiff upper lip while holding down the “natives” with a firm hand. […] While the peasant woman in Jamaica is not in the least hesitant about having sexual intercourse with a man who attracts her, she believes strongly that these affairs should be conducted in privacy and with due regard to modesty. To her, there is something both indecent and unnecessary about the flaunting of a rather phoney sexuality such as one sees in so many motion pictures, or in American quasi-pornographic magazines, or in the parks of London. Sex, to her, is something to be enjoyed, not to be dangled around in public. She is, in fact, convinced that foreign women are immodest and rather indecent, and her visits to the motion pictures give her a strange idea of the habits of foreign white men. She can hardly be blamed. […] Jamaicans are not shocked at the need for these alliances. They are merely shocked at the need for such elaborate, flimsy and, to them, unnecessary pretences. it is the fuss that foreigners make about their sex that defeats the Jamaican.” [“A Preliminary Canter”, “Ian Fleming Introduces Jamaica”]

Notice also that Cargill has a sense of humour which Fleming generally lacked.

Fleming`s brother Peter`s writing style is also suspiciously close to many of the earlier, more fluid passages. It`s obvious from Peter Fleming`s 1951 novel *The Sixth Column* (and I strongly recommend that you read it) that the Fleming brothers had much in common as writers. (It`s a shame that Peter Fleming didn`t write a Bond novel – he`s one of too many writers who should have.)

“Morning, Hall-Porter. Any letters?” “Good morning, General. No, no letters; but there`s a guest waiting for you.” “Thank you, Hall-Porter.” In 1907, or thereabouts, Black`s Club had engaged as hall porter a man whose name was, as it happened, Porter. By this name, as soon as they found it out, the members naturally addressed him. But there was at that time in the club a very pompous and unpopular man called Porter-Hall, and some half-forgotten wholly inconsequent chain of events led a clique of his enemies to believe that they could score off him by insisting that it was derogatory, unjust and cruel to call the hall-porter Porter; he must, they insisted, always be addressed as Hall-Porter. This abstruse and childish gambit, once adopted by an influential few, soon became obligatory for all; and, although Porter-Hall and Porter both died long ago, the convention which they involuntarily combined to establish has acquired the permanence of protocol, and it is as obligatory for a member of Black`s to call the uniformed figure in the little glass-fronted cubby-hole “Hall-Porter” as it is for a Grenadier Guardsman to say only “Sir” when everyone else in His Majesty`s Force would say “Yes, sir.” If the bar of the Shanghai Club is the longest in the world, the bar at Black`s – at any rate in relation to the volume of alcohol served across it – must be one of the shortest. Tucked away in an alcove of what is called, no longer very appositely, the Coffee Room, its dimensions suggest that it was originally designed to fit into the saloon of a moderate-sized yacht. Since few members of Black`s deem it prudent to ingest a meal without taking beforehand two, or three, or even four glasses of some beneficent cordial, the smallness of the bar means, so to speak, that a very large force has to attack on a very narrow front, which causes overcrowding, frustration and delay and often results in people deciding not, after all, to have another large pink gin but to go into luncheon before the cold salmon has been annihilated by the abstemious. Guests, and even new members, are sometimes puzzled by the club`s failure to equip itself with a bar les incommensurate with the needs – ever-present and often urgent – of its members. Looking at the thing from a purely material point of view, they deduce that Black`s must make a profit on the bar, difficult through it is of access; and they cannot understand why a larger and more convenient bar is not provided, and a bigger profit thereby made. Their callow speculations do less than justice to the wisdom of successive Committees. These enlightened bodies have long realized that the bar is too small and that to construct a bigger one would – by enabling members to drink as much as, instead of slightly less than they feel inclined to drink – increase the amenities of the club and strengthen its financial position. But it was also realized that this was but a specious, short-term point of view. A longer bar would mean a longer casualty-list, a quicker turnover of members; and though there would be no difficulty in filling the gaps in the ranks, new members – apart from being undesirable phenomena *per se* – would scarcely have the absorptive capacity of the Old Guard whom they replaced; so that capital expenditure on a new bar would have result which, while undesirable socially, would be of doubtful and perhaps diminishing value from a purely economic point of view. Projects for enlarging the bar at Black`s, though periodically and enthusiastically mooted, really come within the purview of Major Foxley-Ebbe`s section of MI5; they aim at upsetting the balance of nature in England.” [“The Sixth Column”, by Peter Fleming, 1951, Chapter 10]

(The careful reader will have noticed the similarities to Chapters 3 and 4 in Fleming`s novel “Moonraker”.)

“The Man With The Golden Gun” also has a much broader sense of humour than in any of Fleming`s other novels, which also strongly suggests Peter Fleming`s hand:

“Well let`s see, it`s Wednesday. Shall I tell you what`ll be the main dish on the menu in the canteen? It should be steak-and-kidney pudding.”

The Chief Security Officer picked up the direct telephone to Captain Walker. Captain Walker said to James Bond, “Damn! There`s the other telephone again. Shan`t be a minute.” He picked up the green telephone. “Yes, sir?” “I don`t like that bit about the steak-and-kidney pudding.” (Chapter 1, “The Man With The Golden Gun”)

“This document was afterwards picked up on the fourth green at Huntercombe by Professor TK Loopwith, who is employed by the Royal Institute of International Affairs at L1700 a year to study the effects of German propaganda on Central American folklore. Professor Loopwith, unable to fit into a thesis, which was then engaging his mind, on “Totalitarianism and the Basket-Dancers of Yucatan”, passed it on to a colleague who, shelving for the moment his work on “Silt as a Factor in International Relationships”, took it up to London and showed it to the Foreign Office. Here its importance was quickly recognized. Dr Lenkfals` notes are the most conclusive of various separate pieces of evidence which all points to 6.55pm as the time at which, 30,000 feet over the parish of Bix in Oxfordshire, a time-bomb in a thermos flask completely destroyed Herr Hitler`s aeroplane with all of its occupants save one.” [Chapter 3, Page 30, “The Flying Visit”]

So many lines and details echo previous novels that it strongly suggests someone had Fleming`s novels open while writing/rewriting the manuscript. True, it does seem to copy from past novels: the train set-piece (“Diamonds Are Forever”), the dossier (“Casino Royale”), the hood`s congress (“Goldfinger”), M`s cypher (“Live And Let Die”), the hospital (“Thunderball”), the “Z” scratch (“Goldfinger”), “funny coincidence department” in Chapter 11 (“You Only Live Twice”), the hotel situation (“The Spy Who Loved Me” discards; it also anticipates the film “Godfather 2”). The last two chapters recall “Thunderball” and “Casino Royale”. Felix`s pest control speech recalls Rene Mathis`s Red Indians observations from “Casino Royale”. The poison and the quick doctor recalls the transition from “From Russia, With Love” to “Doctor No”. The cyanide gun is from “The Property Of The Lady”. The Blades details are from “Moonraker” and “You Only Live Twice”. Not a major flaw, but they are disconcerting. Scaramanga sounds rather like Felix Leiter: read the pages in Chapter 7 where Scaramanga tells Bond who`s coming to the meeting. Now compare it to Felix Leiter`s dialogue in “Diamonds Are Forever” and “Thunderball”. See my point? Pretend Felix Leiter speaks those lines in *The Man With The Golden Gun*. It sounds dead on for Leiter. This only confounds the issue of who really wrote *The Man With The Golden Gun*. Would Fleming have imitated Felix`s speech patterns? Or did the real author hope nobody would notice? (The tone is so jarring it throws the reader off, even those like myself who like the novel.) Or compare the monologue in Chapter 12: that`s Felix Leiter talking, particularly the shell joke. In fact Scaramanga`s “talking” style changes as though somebody else wrote parts. All of this suggests somebody constantly referred back to Fleming`s other novels to ensure that this one fit in.

But! –Consider what would have happened had Fleming died in 1961. *The Spy Who Loved Me* would have been his last Bond novel. Much the same reaction would have followed. Indignant cries of, “Fleming didn`t write this, he wouldn`t write this way!”

The Man With The Golden Gun was probably an experiment, which explains why so many people doubt it`s veracity. In fact, it reads more like a product of the author of The Spy Who Loved Me.

Perhaps Ian Fleming did write all of it. There`s as much evidence supporting this theory as there is refuting it. Perhaps Fleming wrote an outline and somebody else filled in the blanks. Perhaps somebody, Peter Fleming, Cargill, Amis, whoever revised, re-wrote Fleming`s first draft. Perhaps much work was required, perhaps all Fleming left behind was an outline. Who knows? Glidrose, for one, and they`re not telling.

One last trivia note: Fleming may have intended to set this novel in Panama. He had wanted to see first hand how the canal locks worked, but family obligations, then later ill-health, intervened. “Fleming`s genius for imaginative gadgeteering would have reached its climax in a simple man`s guide to the manipulation of locks by oceans instead of by keys.” (Richard Hughes, *Foreign Devil*, Chapter 28, “Sayonara To James Bond”)

Where does the name “James Bond” come from?

The name of James Bond was lifted from the author of a book on ornithology called Birds of the West Indies (1936). Ian Fleming once said: “I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest sounding name I could think of. James Bond seemed perfect.” Fleming claimed he liked the masculinity of the name “Bond” and never envisioned his character becoming so popular that it could create problems for the real life man who bore that name. But it did.

Fleming later wrote a note to Mary Wickham Bond apologizing for the theft of her husband`s name, saying, “Perhaps one day your husband will discover a particularly horrible species of bird which he would like to christen in an insulting fashion by calling it Ian Fleming.”

Mary Wickham Bond authored several autobiographies such as How 007 Got His Name (1966) and To James Bond With Love (1980) well as a book on ornithology entitled Far Afield In The Caribbean: Migratory Flights of a Naturalist`s Wife (1971). In To James Bond With Love she recalls how her husband would get suspcious looks while going through customs at international airports during the height of the cold war. At times, he was suspected of spying for the United States of America, though in reality, all he wanted to do was bird watch. She also wrote about the affair with his next door neighbor he had while at Goldeneye, his Jamaican home. His next door neighbor planted many roses and flowers along a hedge the two properties shared. Anne Fleming, who knew of Ian`s affair, would go dig up the flowers and trample them as a means of payback towards her husband`s mistress.

When does the copyright to the James Bond novels expire and what does it mean for the movie franchise?

An author whose novel is first published in, say, the United Kingdom doesn`t need to reapply for copyright when his book is published in (for example) the United States. Copyright is transferable and extends to all Berne Convention signatory countries.

However, copyright is jurisdictional. The British writer only has the same rights in the United States that American writers have, not what he has in the UK (unless his home country provides a shorter term). Any copyright breach that occurs in the United States has to be redressed through American jurisprudence (the justice system and its laws), not the United Kingdom`s – and vice versa.

This creates potential jurisdictional conflict. Not all countries have consistent copyright laws. The duration of copyright depends on the country, and not the author`s nationality or the country where the book was first published.

Copyright can also be relative. Section 9.(2) of the Canadian Copyright Act both state that authors who are nationals of any country that grants a term of protection shorter than that mentioned in subsection (1) are not entitled to claim a longer term of protection in Canada. Article 7 of the Berne Convention concurs, therefore presumably both the UK and the United States make the same provision. For that reason, copyright on Raymond Benson`s Bond novels may only last 50 years in the UK after his death, and not the customary 70.

This provision also makes it difficult to say exactly when the Bond films enter the public domain. It`s not clear if the Bond films are British, American, or Swiss (copyright is held by Danjaq SA).

I believe that most countries, including the three below, extend copyright through to the end of the particular year when it expires. If copyright lasts for ten years after an author`s death, and the author dies August 12, 1964, copyright would expire January 1st, 1975, not August 13th, 1974.

In United States, all books published before January 1st, 1989 are protected for 75 years from publication. Until June 1992, copyright had to be renewed before 28 years had elapsed or the work would enter the public domain. Once renewed, copyright was extended another 47 years (some US editions of the Bond novels carry a copyright renewed notice), after which time it would enter the public domain. In June 1992, this provision was eliminated and copyright was renewed automatically. Books published on or after January 1st, 1989 are protected for 50 years after the author`s death. The novel Casino Royale enters the public domain on January 1st, 2030 (since the US edition was published in 1954, not 1953). Works done for hire may be protected for 75 years after publication. However, if the strict definition in the Canadian copyright act is anything to go by, this would at most only encompass the novelizations. Copyright lasts 75 years on Motion Pictures. The film Dr No enters the public domain on January 1st, 2038 (since it was released in 1963, not 1962).

In the UK, the 1956 copyright act either gave or reaffirmed copyright protection for up to 50 years after the author`s death. In 1995, this period was extended to 70 years (effective January 1996) to bring it in line with Germany`s copyright laws; both countries belong to the EU. Books that had fallen into the public domain regained their copyright status. However, the British courts held that any “public domain” editions published in the interim or about to be published could continue to exist. (The James Joyce estate had brought an action against a publisher that had prepared a “reader`s version” of Ulysses. The court dismissed the action.) Copyright on the Bond novels published during Fleming`s lifetime expires on January 1st, 2035.

According to one non-legal source (Whitaker`s 1998 Almanac), Motion Pictures are protected for 70 years after the death of the last surviving author: i.e. director, screenwriter or composer. This makes no sense. Cable programs, TV broadcasts, and sound recordings are protected for 50 years after the initial performance. In the interests of consistency, and to avoid inevitable litigation, Motion Pictures should fall into this category. If they did, the first Bond film Dr No would expire on January 1st, 2013; otherwise, no answer can be given. (Consider how this might be exploited in the McClory-EON battle if, on January 1st, 2016, the matter still hasn`t been settled.)

In Canada, copyright protection lasts for 50 years after the author`s death. Copyright is determined by author, not by corporation. Copyright on Fleming`s novels published during his lifetime expires on January 1st, 2015. For posthumous works, copyright expires 50 years after publication. The last of his titles, The Property Of A Lady, enters the public domain on January 1st, 2018 (though the short story is copyright 1963, it wasn`t published until 1967).

Oddly, the Canadian Copyright Act doesn`t say when copyright expires on Motion Pictures. As of 1995, this issue had not been contested in the Canadian courts. Some argue whether the producer or the director is the film`s true author. Such debate is pointless and unnecessary. A careful reading of the Act indicates that the period is 50 years. “In those cases where it is impossible to determine who the author [is], the work will be protected for 50 years from the date of publication” (The 1991 Annotated Copyright Act, Carswell Press, Section 6: II General Principles.) The Act also specifies the same duration if work`s author is unknown. Since there is no true author of a Motion Picture – at least not in the legal sense – common sense should prevail. Dr No, assuming that it was released in Canada in 1963, enters the public domain on January 1st, 2014. Failing that, it would make more sense, as Canada shares borders with the United States, to adopt their rules; American companies distribute most films in Canada. It would be awkward for films to still have copyright protection in Canada, yet be in the American public domain.

Obviously, EON – never mind Glidrose – has a vested interest in ensuring that the books retain copyright protection. If copyright expired on any of the novels, theoretically, people might not only be allowed to film these particular novels, but they might also be allowed to write their own James Bond novels/stories, which could also be filmed. However, these novels and films could not be released or distributed in countries where the novels are still copyright protected. Nor can they refer to any Bond novel or film that is still copyright protected in that particular country.

Copyright partially expires on the James Bond saga in:

US January 1st, 2030
UK January 1st, 2035
CAN January 1st, 2014, failing that, January 1st, 2015

If this information is correct, and the law isn`t changed, it seems unlikely that the the James Bond series (books and films) will outlive the next 15 to 32 years.

What’s fascinating about Ian Fleming`s brother Peter, and his daughters?

Lucy Williams (nee Fleming) was born May 15th, 1947. Her father
remarked that by age 10, she was a “good horsewoman”, and by age 14, a
“keen and talented shot”: “She began by hitting a woodcock and a driven cock pheasant – never having handled a shotgun before – the first time I took her out, and went on to shoot consistently well. I suppose I enjoyed her prowess and her companionship as much as I have enjoyed anything in the way of shooting.”

However, Lucy Fleming followed in her mother`s footsteps and became an
actress – she wanted to be one ever since she had seen her mother
perform in the Robert Bolt play “The Flowering Cherry”. She began with
the Farnham repertory company and subsequently went on to the Royal
Court Theatre. She even appeared with her mother in several productions including a revival of the Noel Coward play “Hay Fever”, and the 1968 BBC production (co-starring Charles Gray; Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the Bond film “Diamonds Are Forever”).

These are her screen credits:,+Lucy

(So why don`t the Bond producers give her a cameo in a film?)

She married Joe Laycock (son of Major-General Sir Robert Laycock, an
old Peter Fleming friend) in 1971 and they had several children. After
a family tragedy in the early 1980s, she married actor/writer Simon
Williams, who portrayed Nigel Pennington-Smythe in the 1983 tv movie
*The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.*, and wrote the novels *Talking
Oscars* (pub 1988) and *Kill The Lights* (pub 1991). Lucy Fleming`s
step-children, Tam and Amy Williams also act.

Kate Fleming writes that “Lucy and I […] were on the wild side; Lucy
was a tomboy and was always at the top of a tree or racing about on a
pony. I was very shy and shot upstairs whenever anyone visited the
house. Neither of us would put on a dress if we could possibly help it.Our manners left a lot to be desired.” Moreover their childhood home, “Merrimoles”, was intentionally overrun by many unorthodox pets:
labradors, a poodle, a cat, ponies, at least one horse, owls, a
dormouse, two fox cubs, a raven and a grey squirrel named “Nutto”.

Peter Fleming also once wrote in his diary: “Woken early by the patter
of tiny feet. Yaks, if stampeded, would make more noise, but not much
more noise, than Kate (three) and Lucy (two), who constitute a
knockabout turn known as the Reveille Girls.” [He goes on to say about
his dogs, “Wonder what Pavlov would have made of Toby and Trigger, who
never budge from the bed in my dressing-room until I start brushing my
hair. Have tried going downstairs without brushing my hair. Sticklers
for protocol, they stayed where they were.” He also left his family the following arrangements for his own funeral: “If there is a memorial service, I would like it to be at the Guards Chapel; the parking facilities are unrivalled.” His final instruction was, “No mourning.”] However, after they were sent off to Cranborne Chase school in Dorset (Kate in 1959, Lucy in 1960), Peter Fleming remarked that “the patter of your tiny feet is sadly missed.”

Kate and Lucy Fleming`s father – Ian`s brother – was writer/author
Peter Fleming (1907-1971); their mother was actress Celia Johnson
(1908-1982), best known for her Academy Award nominated performance in
David Lean`s film “Brief Encounter” (co-written by the Fleming family
friend Noel Coward).

Kate Grimond (nee Fleming) was born May 24th, 1946. Her father once
wrote about her: “Kate, 11, tall and rather beautiful”. She studied
Russian at Oxford (St Anne`s House) and travelled with her father
during his trip to the Caucasus during the summer of 1966, where her
Russian came in handy. She was an assistant to Alan Ross on his “London Magazine” (Ross was friends with Ian and Ann Fleming, and is mentioned in “The Man With The Golden Gun” as Commander Ross), and was also Martin Gilbert`s researcher on his official biography of Winston Churchill.

In 1973 she married the journalist John (“Johnnie”) Grimond, who is now foreign editor of the British magazine “Economist” (his father, the late Jo Grimond, led Britain`s moribound Liberal party during the
1960`s); they have three children. She wrote two books: the first, “The Churchills” (pub 1975), is a history of the famous family. Also, “Celia Johnson” (pub 1991), a biography of her actress mother.

It`s possible that the actress and journalist Rose Grimond is her daughter.

What is the James Bond book “Take Over”?

Of course, Fleming did not communicate this title from the grave, but that`s exactly what one man claimed he had done. The story ideas, which circulated around 1970, were never published.

Six years after Ian Fleming had died, a man approached Ian`s brother, Peter Fleming, claiming Ian passed messages, and even a novel called “Take Over”, from the great beyond. Apparently the man`s late wife would channel these messages through their daughter, while the latter was in a trance.

Intrigued and missing his famous sibling, Peter Fleming read the novel, and even met with the girl. Peter questioned her. She quickly and correctly answered questions anybody could have found in John Pearson`s biography of his brother, but botched more pertinent answers only Peter and Ian would have known.

Peter Fleming also thought that the writing in Take Over was nothing like Ian`s, and, worse, the book was incompetently written. Peter Fleming didn`t think that the girl or her father had perpetrated a deliberate hoax, and allowed the man to submit Take Over to Jonathan Cape (the Fleming brothers` British Publisher)! Cape read the manuscript and declined. The plot involved a poisonous gas that would enable its users to dominate the world, an idea grabbed if one thinks of oil as a poisonous gas, for The World Is Not Enough.

[Note: Peter Fleming`s son Nichol – Ian`s nephew – eventually wrote a novel entitled “Takeover”. It presumably has nothing else in common with this book.]

What is the controversy surrounding John Gardner`s Bond novel “Cold Fall”?

Even the titles are different between the UK and US versions. The British title of the original hardback is just plain “Cold”.

The American edition clearly states that Part I takes place in 1990, and Part II in 1994. The British edition doesn`t, moreover, it removes most dates (i.e. Sukie supposedly dying March 21, 1990; “Never Send Flowers” taking place in 1993; “SeaFire” in the spring of 1994; etc).

The UK edition is missing the entire “Tiny Dancer” and Elton John discussion from Chapter 14 (see the Cold Fall book review at 007Forever for these and other passages).

Here`s another example (from Chapter 14):

US edition:

“Bond found his own cab, which soon delivered him to a hotel overlooking National Airport. He checked in, then called FBI Headquarters in the J Edgar Hoover Building to see if Eddie Rhabb had arrived. The special agents had planned to make the journey from the Coeur d`Alene area on the previous evening but the call was a waste of time. Special Agent Rhabb was out of town on assignment, according to a secretary.

“Oh, he was in this morning,” the woman said.

UK edition:

“Crystal City was so called because the many buildings appeared to be made out of glass. It sounded exotic but was, in fact, bizarre and ugly. Bond took a cab over and checked into a room which literally overlooked Washington National Airport. He unpacked only the things necessary for the rest of the afternoon and evening, then called FBI Headquarters in The J Edgar Hoover building to see if Eddie Rhabb had arrived back yet. The Special Agents had planned to make the journey from the Coeur d`Alene area on the previous evening but the call was a waste of time. Special Agent Rhabb was out of town on assignment, according to the secretary he managed to speak with.

“Oh, he was in this morning,” the somewhat crabby girl said.

The US edition also cuts the following from Chapter 25:

“Getting that crazy General for one thing.” “He isn`t crazy. In fact, he`s very effective: good planner; sound strategist; has an excellent tactical mind…” “Had.” Rhabb raised an eyebrow. “I thought the launches picked him up.” “Well, they kinda did, but they threw him back in again. There would have been a lot of paperwork. You can understand that.” “Ah,” Bond nodded. “Anyway, it was Beatrice who really got him.”

The new M is dubbed “Lady Precious Stream” in only the US edition.

What are the differences between the UK and US editions of “Nobody Lives Forever”?

There are actually two versions of “Nobody Lives Forever”: the British and the American edition – they even have different titles; the British title is “Nobody Lives For Ever”. Those interested in the technical aspects of writing and book-editing should own both editions, as they virtually amount to two separate novels.

The UK edition is notably shorter than the US edition (note how many words difference there is between the two main passages below). The British edition seems to have been a later, revised book. It also appears to have been badly edited down from the more interesting American edition. Some of the changes do correct numerous literary errors in the sloppily written American edition, the finale in the British edition is much tighter and better written, and many others changes only damage the book. Whoever made these changes (perhaps Gardner corrected the galleys as an afterthought) did a number on the book. The final result is listless, underwritten, and desultory. Many changes needlessly break passages up into short disjointed paragraphs. Sentences have been cut, rearranged, or even rewritten. Dialogue has been cut, changed, or added. Minor incidents are somewhat different. Here is one example from Chapter 17:

(US edition – 327 words)

“With great care, James Bond began to climb the open zigzagging stairs to the first level, his feet noiselessly touching the fretted metal, his body to the left to leave his right hand, and the ASP, ready for instant use. At the top, standing on the first terrace, he waited, head cocked. Just ahead of him there was a large sliding picture window, the curtains only partially drawn and one section of the window open.”

“Moving so that he covered all points of the compass around him, Bond crossed to the window, peering in. he could not believe what he saw, almost speaking his thoughts out loud – “First time lucky.”

“The room was white and splendidly decorated, with glass tables, white soft armchairs, and what appeared to be excellent original paintings on its walls, a deep pile white carpet covering the floor. But the central feature was a large, comfortable, customized bed – a king-sized sickbed, with controls on a panel at the head, switches and buttons that could, obviously, adjust any part of the bed, from head to foot, to suit the patient who now lay in it, propped up with silk pillows, his eyes closed in sleep and his head turned to one side.”

“In spite of the now shrunken face, the skin a parchment pallor, Bond recognized the man immediately. On their previous meetings, Tamil Rahani had been smooth, short, dapper and attractive, in a military fashion. Now he was a shadow of his former self – the heir to the Blofeld fortune, and the organization, SPECTRE, reduced to this human doll, swamped by the seductive luxury of a high-tech bed.”

“Bond slid the window open and stepped inside, moving like a cat to the end of the bed, gazing down on the man who controlled his greatest enemies.” … “He began to squeeze the trigger, and as he did so thought he felt a small gust of air on the back of his head.”

Compare to the UK edition (251 words):

“Bond began to climb the open zig-zagging stairs to the first level, his feet touching the fretted metal noiselessly, his body held to the left so that his right hand, clutching the ASP, was instantly ready. Standing on the first terrace, he waited, his head cocked. Just ahead of him there was a large sliding picture window, the curtains only partially drawn, and one section open. He crossed to the window and peered in.”

“The room was white, furnished with glass tables, soft white armchairs, and valuable modern paintings. A deep pile white carpet covered the floor. In the centre was a large bed, with electronic controls that could adjust any section to any angle, to improve the comfort of the patient who now lay in it.”

“Tamil Rahani was propped up with silk-covered pillows, his eyes closed, and his head turned to one side. Despite the shrunken face with skin the colour of parchment, Bond recognized him immediately. On their previous meetings, Rahani had been smooth, short, and dapper, attractive in a military kind of way. Now the heir to the Blofeld fortune was reduced to a human doll, dwarfed by the seductive luxury of the high-tech bed.”

“Bond slid open the window, and stepped inside. Moving like a cat to the end of the bed, he gazed down on the man who controlled SPECTRE.” … “As he began to squeeze the trigger, he thought he felt a small gust of air on the back of his head.”

The following line also appears earlier in the US edition, Chapter 17, but not the UK edition: “They passed along the wooden walkway running alongside the hotel`s crowded eating places – the pier House Restaurant, the Beach Club Bar and Pete`s Raw bar (“Doing a raw-ring trade,” Sukie said, and they all groaned). Likewise the following line appears in the US edition, Chapter 10, but not (sensibly) in the UK edition: “A vamPIRE BAT?” Her voice rose to a screech. “James! Jee-rusalem!”

Chapter 17 in the UK edition suggests that Bond had booked reservations at the restaurant, while the US edition makes it clear that he hadn`t: “Bond kept up the fantasy, and prayed that the girls would not let him down by giggling.”

From Chapter 13:

(US edition)
“James?” Sukie sounded almost wheedling, as they left the hotel, lugging their suitcases. “James, you`re going the wrong way. You left the Bentley in the car park to the left.”

“Yes,” Bond spoke quietly. “Don`t tell the whole world, Sukie. We`re not using the Bentley.”

(UK edition)

“James. James, you`re going the wrong way. You left the Bentley in the car park to the left. Remember?”

“Don`t tell the whole world, Sukie. We`re not using the Bentley.”

Also from Chapter 17:

(US edition)

“The tablecloths were made of paper, and there were packets of crayons besides each plate, so that guests could create their own art – perhaps the restaurant`s owners were still hoping Picasso would arrive and pay the bill with a tablecloth.”

(UK edition)

“They were shown to a corner table in a pleasant white room. Bond took a seat with his back to the wall and a good view of the entrance. The tablecloths were paper, and there were packets of crayons besides each plate. Bond doodled, drawing a skull and crossbones. Nannie had sketched something vaguely obscene, in red. She leaned forward.”

Gardner`s other Bond novels also have differences between the US and UK editions. Some of these changes are stylistic (i.e. Gardner frequently confuses “which” for “that”; his American editors fix this in the US editions); some of them are more substantial; Role Of Honour`s last paragraph does not appear in the UK version:

“Bond went into the airport bar to wait for his flight to be called, passing the time with a large brandy, and musing on time past, and future. Percy had been right. It had been the best of times with her, but now his work called, and James Bond knew it would forever entice him back to new dangers – and new sweetness.”

The UK version`s second last paragraph is different from the US version`s third last paragraph:

“The next morning they rebooked tickets, and Bond saw her off, watching her aeroplane climb over the little hillock at the end of the runway, then turn to set course for Athens, where she would make her connection for Paris.”

The US edition is different after “runway”: “then turning to set course for the west.”

Changes, changes…what will they think of next?

Was John Gardner forced to entirely rewrite a James Bond novel?

We`ll let John Gardner explain for himself:

“In “Role Of Honour”, there was originally a computer game featuring a large scale version of Waterloo, with computer-generated images of the battle. It was a highly feasible game which was played in two rooms via a computer linkup. It was a lengthy sequence in which Bond played a very realistic computer programme game called “The Battle of Waterloo”. It was a strategic battle game and it could be done–I`d had it carefully checked out by programmers. “But because there was a computer game in “Never Say Never Again”, they made me take it out.”

“Well, I`d spent a lot of time on this when I suddenly got a message from America saying I couldn`t use it under any circumstances. I saw that film and was furious. Theirs [the game seen in 1983`s Never Say Never Again] was merely a zap game, while mine was to be a complex, realistic game which was to highlight the book. Having lost that, I felt that the whole story was weakened, and I had to replace it with the Bunker Hill game which is played as a sort of role-playing game.”

“It was very disappointing, because I thought with the original idea I had the modern equivalent of that famous game of golf in “Goldfinger” or else Bond`s bridge match with Drax. I`d wanted to do something like that from the day I took over the series and it was a great shame when it had to be removed.”

Apparently, this incident combined with Glidrose forcing Mr. Gardner to write the book when he was ill prompted Gardner to publicly announce that he would quit following his sixth Bond novel. Either way, he didn`t think it likely that he would be asked back to write another cycle of Bond novels. Gardner ultimately wrote 16! –Editors

Gardner also rewrote parts of “For Special Services” when his friend Tony Colwell “spotted a serious character flaw and brilliantly suggested a major plot change.”

Is it true a list of five writers were turned down before John Gardner was chosen?

Glidrose (Fleming’s book publishers) has never divulged this information. It seems likely that Elleston Trevor (aka Adam Hall, the Quiller novels), James Leasor (Dr. Jason Love novels), and Christopher Nicole (aka Andrew York, the Jonas Wilde novels) were on that list.

Like Mr. Gardner, all three have written series spy novels. All three wrote regular fiction and the first two had received some critical acclaim for them. Nicole/York`s spy novels were set mostly in the Caribbean, ala Fleming`s original Bonds.

How did Ann Fleming feel about other people writing Bond novels after her husband Ian`s death?

She once said that Bond was her late husband`s creation and shouldn`t be commercialized as such. She asked her brother-in-law Peter Fleming, “Are you sure that Glidrose should not pay a capital sum to the estate for the right to continue Bond? It seems roses all the way for Campbell and taxed income for the family.”

According to “The Letters Of Ann Fleming” edited by Mark Amory (published in 1985), she wrote this about Amis:

In an April 13th, 1967 letter to Lord Campbell, “Since Peter Fleming agrees to the counterfeit Bond, I am prepared to accept his judgment. Though my distaste for the project is in no way altered I think Amis should publish under his own name and show the world that his left-wing intellectual pretensions were easily turned to money grubbing – like everyone else.”

She also wrote this in her never published review of “Colonel Sun” for the Sunday Telegraph (they didn`t print it for fear of libel):

“Since the exploiters hope “Colonel Sun” will be the first of a new and successful series, they may find themselves exploited. Amis will slip “Lucky Jim” into Bond`s clothing, we shall have a petite bourgeois red brick Bond, he will resent the authority of M, then the discipline of the Secret Service, and end as a Philby Bond selling his country to Spectre. James to Jim to Kim.”

She wasn`t much kinder about John Pearson:

“The London Sunday Times are being most kind to me for helping an unknown called John Pearson to write Ian`s life. Alas, cautious speech is not for me, Mr Pearson thrives on nervous giggles and floods of indiscretion, he leaves me to tears and dreadful exhaustion and goes home well pleased.” {John Pearson (1930- ). Worked on the Atticus column of The Sunday Times, as did Fleming. He had written a novel[,] and a book about Donald Campbell breaking the world speed record before [writing] “The Life of Ian Fleming”, 1966.}

“J. Pearson`s book revolts me, and I am distressed that I played any part in it – but it will soon be over and forgotten, though one day I would like a very short appraisal of Ian to be written, though heaven knows who by – the truth is immediately forgotten. I am grateful for letters from Alan Ross and Frankie Donaldson saying the letters to me were not a breach of taste but added [they] proved Ian capable of real feeling, and not a bit like the rest of the book, a bit of Bond fantasy. I have had guilt in showing them to the rabbit Pearson, who became a ferret.”

John Pearson writes: `I`m sorry Ann found me such a “ferret” although I suppose it`s what a biographer has to be, and sorrier still to have been the cause of such distress of which I was genuinely ignorant. Odd I was so “unknown” to her, as I was originally hired by Ian for The Sunday Times and worked as his assistant there for several years. As for my *Life of Ian Fleming*, the reader will soon discover that far from being just `a bit of Bond fantasy` it was a solidly researched account of the whole of his extraordinary life and career. Re-reading my references to Ann I find it quite incomprehensible why she found them so objectionable. Presumably remorse, which I hadn`t thought afflicted her. And of course she found everything to do with poor old Bond vulgar and more or less contemptible.`

There is no record of her having said anything about RD Mascott, Geoffrey Jenkins, Christopher Wood or John Gardner. However, she enjoyed and laughed at her friend Cyril Connolly`s short story “Bond Strikes Camp”. Ann Fleming died of cancer in July 1981.

Did the Bond authors ever mention their favorite and least favorite Bond novels?

Ian Fleming`s favourite Bond novels were “Diamonds Are Forever” and “From Russia, With Love”. His least favourites were “Moonraker”, “Thunderball”, “You Only Live Twice”, “The Man With The Golden Gun”, and the short story “The Property Of A Lady”. He was enthusiastic about “The Spy Who Loved Me” until after it was published.

John Gardner is the only other Bond author to publicly comment on his own Bond novels. “Icebreaker” has always been one of his favourites, while he considered “Role Of Honour” weak – he was forced to write the book when he was sick. This in part explains why no Bond novel appeared the following year.

Kingsley Amis considered “The Man With The Golden Gun” to be Fleming`s worst. He didn`t like Cyril Connolly`s “Bond Strikes Camp”, thought that “Alligator” was worth a look through, and was mixed about Christopher Wood`s novelization “James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me”. He said that John Gardner`s “Licence Renewed” was a bad enough novel by any standard and that Gardner`s second, “For Special Services”, was an unqualified disaster.

Raymond Benson considers “From Russia, With Love”, “Doctor No”, “On Her Majesty`s Secret Service”, and “You Only Live Twice” to be the best Bond novels, and “The Man With the Golden Gun”, “Octopussy and the Living Daylights”, “James Bond and Moonraker”, and “Brokenclaw” the worst. His three favorite Bond films are “Doctor No”, “From Russia With Love” and “Goldfinger”, and his three least favorite are “Casino Royale 1967”, “The Man With The Golden Gun” and “Moonraker”.

What Was The Novel Titled?

Bond books you have read may have never been the same had they popped up under their working titles. Check it out!

Ian Fleming`s Novels:

1953–Casino Royale:
(original US title was “You Asked For It”, appeared in this form from Popular Library); Ian Fleming would have been thrilled with the ancient description for the nine of hearts playing card that brings Bond trouble–“A Whisper of Love, A Whisper of Hate”

1954–Live And Let Die: “The Undertaker`s Wind”

“The Infernal Machine” was Fleming`s favorite choice, followed by “Wide of the Mark” or “The Inhuman Element”; “Bond & The Moonraker”, “The Moonraker Sense”, “The Moonraker Plan” were three of the publisher’s choices; after which Fleming crossed those out and stlyishly wrote over them in bright pink pencil “Moonraker”; other ideas included “The Moonraker”, “The Moonraker Plot”, “The Moonraker Secret”, “Mondays Are Hell”, “Hell Is Here”, “Too Hot To Handle” (original US title, appeared in this form from Perma Books

1956–Diamonds Are Forever (They liked it!)

1957–From Russia With Love (It doesn`t get much better than that! Ever search under this name on the web?)

1958–Doctor No: (serialized in the US as “Nude Girl Of Nightmare Key”) [!]

1959–Goldfinger: “The Richest Man In The World”

1960–For Your Eyes Only:
“Man`s Work”, “Death Leaves An Echo”, “The Rough With The Smooth”, which may be Mr. Fleming`s reference to a line in the opening chapter, eventually deleted (For Your Eyes Only is subtitled “Five Secret Occasions in the Life of James Bond” in the UK and “Five Secret Exploits of James Bond” in the US. The short story inside, “Risico” was alternately spelled Risiko)

1961–The Spy Who Loved Me: (serialized in the US as “Motel Nymph”) [!]

1962–Thunderball (A keeper! What a classic!)

1963–On Her Majesty`s Secret Service: “The Belles Of Hell”

1964–You Only Live Twice (Done!)

1964–The Man With The Golden Gun: “The Golden Gun”

“Octopussy and The Living Daylights” (or alternately “Octopussy AND The Living Daylights”, “Octopussy & The Living Daylights”) The short story inside, “The Living Daylights” has also been published as “Trigger Finger” and “Berlin Escape” (“Berlin” was published in hardcover form during the 80`s in the US!)

The short story, “The Property Of A Lady,” was originally entitled “The Diamond Egg” and was later called “The Fabulous Pay-Off”

Other Authors` Bond Novels:

1968–Colonel Sun:
(author Kingsley Amis` pseudonym, “Robert Markham” was originally “George Glidrose”, an idea of Peter Fleming`s (Ian`s brother). Publisher Jonathan Cape said “G.G.`s” name had no selling power.

1977–James Bond, They Spy Who Loved Me:
(Christopher Wood`s movie novelization had a US edition and a front page of the British hardcover reading simply “The Spy Who Loved Me”. The header in the British hardcover more properly reads, “James Bond: The Spy Who Loved Me”

1981–License Renewed: Meltdown

1986–Nobody Lives Forever:
“You Only Die Once” or “You Only Live Once” (in Great Britain the title is the slightly different “Nobody Lives For Ever”)

1987–No Deals, Mr. Bond:
“Tomorrow Always Comes” (So similar to a recent Pierce Brosnan film!) Also, several of Mr. Gardner`s subsequent Bond novels, in their list of authors’ books, erroneously list this one as “No Deals For Mr. Bond”)

Mr. Gardner explains that he can “…Recall such wonders as Oh No, Mr. Bond! and Bond Fights Back. Those two finally became, after many protests on my part, the dreadful No Deals, Mr. Bond while my original title for Icebreaker was instantly turned down only to be picked up again a month later after turkey after turkey had to be rejected. My former agent is convinced to this day that he was responsible for Death is Forever, which was actually taken from some dialogue in a Stephen King book. I tried to explain it to him but he still claimed that he was the one. I can’t think why because it isn’t a very sophisticated title. Peter Janson-Smith came up with two of the titles, though by now I’ve forgotten which, and somewhere I have the original lengthy list of quite abominable titles suggested by publishers.”

1997–Zero Minus Ten:
“No Tears For Hong Kong” (Benson submitted this bit O`Fleming as the title but it was rejected. Another interesting thought was “China Takeaway”, a slang British expression for China food-to-go.

1998–The Facts of Death: “The World Is Not Enough”–Benson’s title of choice (!)

1999–High Time To Kill: “A Better Way To Die”–Benson’s choice

“Doppelganger”–Benson’s choice and then “Reflections In A Broken Glass”

2001–“Never Dream of Dying”; this is Mr. Benson’s original choice! Whew!

The Search For RD Mascott (James Bond Junior 003 1/2)

So who is RD Mascott? (And yes, I say who it is, but you`ll have to be patient. If you can`t, then jump to the middle of the article.)

I`m not the only one to have asked – and it was a frustrating and perplexing question. For a Bond fan, it was like asking, Who killed JFK?

This remarkable novel, now a cult-classic, was first published in 1967, back when Glidrose (a.k.a. the Ian Fleming Estate) still had standards. A beautiful novel, far better than Fleming`s work, it was – and still is – an intelligently observed, highly literate (and literary) not to mention fairly violent novel; the UK edition claims that it`s `a story for boys and girls aged 8-14`, but adults would do just as well to read it. It`s also better than most literary novels I read nowadays (and not just this novel: I had read Salman Rushdie`s Haroun and the Sea of Stories and Ian Fleming`s The Hildebrand Rarity back-to-back and had no qualms judging Fleming`s work the better of the two – Fleming`s prose was craftsman-like; Rushdie`s was slipshod and indulgent).

When compared to the entire Bond output, only Amis`s Colonel Sun, and Christopher Wood`s James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me could be considered more accomplished, though in some ways, James Bond Junior is the most literate and three-dimensional of the series. The novel`s humanity and even its ambiguities are remarkable: did Commander Conningtower know what Merck was up to or did James Bond Junior really save the day? Was Commander Conningtower cheating on his wife with Audrey Wedderburn? (James Bond Junior naively tells Commander Conningtower`s wife that he saw her husband in Breakneck Lane late at night, without fully understanding the implications. When James Bond Junior tells Mrs Raggles that Commander Conningtower was with a young woman, she grimaces knowingly and says, `Which is why `e couldn`t`ve been there. An` don`t you go tellin` anyone `e was, my lad. Lady C`s got enough to put up with the way it is, without a lot more Marsham tongue-wag!`) Claire Tomalin, a distinguished author herself, admired the book: `Ignore the reference to Bond; the story is a small perfect triumph in the hands of a master. This is probably the best bet for Christmas if you want to hand out spinal rather than moral chills.`

The book was shrouded in mystery from the start and Mascott`s identity was – and still is – a closely guarded secret. Neither Glidrose or Eon would tell. I interviewed Jonathan Cape publicity director Tony Colwell several weeks before he died and diplomatically, though rather unconvincingly, he claimed not to know: `Well [faint nervous chuckle], if I ever did know, I`ve completely forgotten, and I have a feeling that I did never know; it was safer not to tell anybody. Tom Maschler [Cape managing director and whiz-kid of the 1960`s British publishing scene] took it along. I just don`t know without looking at the files, and it`s unlikely to be in the files [laughed]. One doesn`t commit things like that to paper, does one?` I then asked fellow Cape managing director Graham Carleton Greene, who also remembered the book surprisingly well. When I put the $64,000 dollar question to him, he laughed and said, `You`re not going to get me to break my oath of loyalty to Cape`s that easily!` What`s odd is how well both remembered the book, as though it had just been published recently and not 34 years ago.

For four years I wondered who wrote it and even occasionally dabbled in `literary investigation`. With no luck. It wasn`t until 2000, when I came across a copy of Vassar Professor Don Foster`s book Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous, that I took the plunge. Foster, whose name should be familiar, was the literary scholar who exposed Newsweek`s Joe Klein as the `Anonymous` author of the Bill Clinton roman a clef Primary Colors. The FBI subsequently hired Foster to use his `literary forensics` technique to prove that Theodore Kaczynski was indeed the Unabomber. Foster also analyzed the infamous `Talking Points` documents in the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal, and crucial evidence in the Jon Benet Ramsey murder case, evidence which is still publicly unavailable. Foster explains, `Study of an anonymous text does not always produce a decisive attribution, but I can usually narrow the field of suspects by isolating the geographic, ethnic, socioeconomic, corporate, or professional milieu to which the unknown writer belongs. […] Sentence construction in the anonymous document may be conditioned by such factors as the age, gender, education, or community of the writer, but the writer`s syntax will usually remain fairly constant from one type of writing to another.`

I read and re-read Foster`s book, absorbed his useful advice and took the plunge.

Before I go any further, I should mention that one rival website owner claimed to know someone with access to the Glidrose archives. The lucky researcher supposedly saw the original typescript and jotted the name down. Their response, if I remember correctly, was Who? Famous writer, I think not! (Apparently they expected the publishers to predict the author`s name recognition value thirty years down the road. `Well known British writer` means well known in 1967.)

The website owner originally suspected Roald Dahl, which is an interesting choice. Dahl`s 1975 novel Danny – The Champion of the World seemingly retreads ideas from the James Bond Junior novel. Rural hunting scenes are surprisingly quite common in Dahl`s work: The Magic Finger, The Princess and the Poacher, and especially Danny – The Champion of the World. Dahl also wrote an unpublished children`s novel in the late 1960`s called The Fox, which his usual publishers felt glamorized shoplifting – something the James Bond Junior book does via Sheelagh. (One of Dahl`s own daughters also had a problem with shoplifting.)

Both Mascott and Dahl describe unsympathetic people as having eyes like currants, and both use the `Misses Sippy` gag (Dahl in The BFG), though spelt differently. Unfortunately even a quick examination showed just how different Dahl`s and Mascott`s writing styles were. Dahl had a very `talking-down` quality in his writing, even his adult writing, as though he had an audience of children sitting around him and therefore over-enunciated everything so they would understand. Dahl`s prose was also noticeably more stylish.

Others were inexplicably convinced that it had to be Kingsley Amis, which it obviously isn`t. The writing styles couldn`t be more different (I find it amusing to speculate whether certain Amis advocates have read any of his non-Bond work, let alone much else.) If it was Amis, why the secrecy? He published a children`s novel under his own name. Mascott had a very `pastoral` writing style, which certainly wasn`t true of Kingsley Amis. It`s also wrong to claim that Kingsley Amis duplicated Ian Fleming`s exact writing style in Colonel Sun. Anybody reasonably well-read knows better and can tell that even though Amis managed to capture Fleming`s milieu, the writing styles remained distinct. Amis was a stylish, droll and occasionally torpid stylist… unlike Mascott (or Fleming). Whenever I threw this fact at the Amis-is-Mascott advocates, they would contradict themselves and argue that even though it reads like Amis, Amis could have disguised his writing style so that you wouldn`t know it was him. `Writers can do that, you know,` they`d add lamely. In law we call this issue estoppel.

In Author Unknown, Don Foster writes that, `Anonymous, like any anonymous writer, revealed a good deal about his way of viewing the world, and about himself, and about his purpose for writing. […] For six nail-biting months, I searched for an alternative candidate or plausible collaborator, and came up empty-handed. I could never find another writer whose language habits matched those of Anonymous and Joe Klein.` For four years I couldn`t find another writer that resembled Mascott. Mascott was an unusual writer, judging by my initial notes: he (she?) was/is literary, pastoral, not a stylist, impish sense of humour, excellent ear for dialogue and characterizations. Other details: disliked journalists; draws; lives/raised in/near Kent/Sussex environs… and kept hitting that imaginary wall. Few writers could fit this profile.

I scratched most authors off my list just by glancing at several pages of their writing. It was like listening to two pieces of music and recognizing that not only were they in different keys, but that they were tonal opposites. (For those of you who are musically inclined, play a C Major scale followed by an F# Major scale. See what I mean?)

I had read the James Bond Junior novel many times – probably several hundred times – and had a fairly good idea of what, or more correctly, whom I was looking for:

-an intelligent, highly literate writer, but not a stylist

-an older writer because of his archaic, almost scattershot, punctuation but also because of the numerous, adult philosophical observations:

As he washed himself under the shower, James thought about those three words, which had sprung out of his mouth. `I`m mine.` As the shower freshened him, he realized that this was what happened when you grew up: you became yours, nobody else`s. So did your problems. [The Adventures of James Bond Junior, Chapter 10]
James found it strange to walk again in Hazeley; how Adam and Eve might have felt, going back to the Garden of Eden, after tasting the tree of knowledge. Hazeley had been always where he played, free from the nuisance of grown-ups; a Paradise. [ The Adventures of James Bond Junior, Chapter 12]
James got up. He had won a fight, but lost a friend. He looked down at Squirrel. He wanted to say, `I`m sorry, too.` But he couldn`t. / He turned and began to run up the path towards Monkshill. He was alone. He would always be alone. [The Adventures of James Bond Junior, Chapter 19]
Mrs Raggles looked at James as he had seen his parents, schoolmasters and others look at him on dozens of accusing occasions, when they were trying to find ways of not telling the truth without telling downright lies. [The Adventures of James Bond Junior, Chapter 24]
-someone gifted at characterization, especially rustics and provincials, and therefore a rural person, not an urban dweller; Mascott is familiar with farms and animals – these details can`t be faked:

Auntie Mo might have been good-looking when she was a girl. Now she had a thin, beaky face and flabby neck, like the chickens they were plucking. Not bad-tempered by nature, James guessed, but `put upon`. Life had tautened her like violin catgut till she twanged. She twanged at any and everything; a wasp (which she astonishingly swatted with the swinging head of the chicken and flattened with her rubber-soled shoe), the sound of a shotgun (coming, James thought, from Undercote – somebody shooting pigeons) and the telephone, which she leapt to answer. [The Adventures of James Bond Junior Chapter 15]
-somebody familiar with the Kentish Weald, or thereabouts (e.g. the Home Counties, the South Downs); the novel is partially set in the fictional town of Marsham. So far as I know that town appeared in only one other story: Arthur Conan-Doyle`s Sherlock Holmes story Abbey Grange. I wouldn`t put this down to coincidence since both stories take place in the British county of Kent, which is south-east of London. Of course it could also have been an in-joke: Ann Fleming`s second married named was Rothermere.

-somebody comfortable writing about the young

-someone who could draw, or was closely related to somebody who could (wife or child, or perhaps a parent or sibling), or knew many artists

Kingsley Amis fit few of these points. His writing is considerably more stylish than Mascott`s. So far as I know, in none of Amis`s works does he show any affinity for farm life. The novel lacks the type of satirical touches that Amis was famous for – even Colonel Sun features them. James Bond Junior`s satirical touches are less acerbic and more human than Amis would have made them:

The police case was very simple, because the robbers had been caught in the act of shifting the bullion; and as gold bars are more valuable than human lives, the robbers were given longer sentences than if they had been murderers. [The Adventures of James Bond Junior, Chapter 26]
My eventual suspect, however, fit most of these check-points. His daughter, Anna, also draws and paints; his other daughter, Clare, runs an art gallery. He knew many painters, especially the Fitzrovians, and even briefly lived with the painters Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines. My suspect`s paternal grandfather, William, was a famous sculptor.

I myself focused on authors known to, and, in some cases, quite close to the Flemings for very good reasons. James Bond Junior seems to have been born the same year as Caspar Fleming (though elsewhere the book suggests that James Bond Junior was born in 1953 or 1954). Sheelagh owns a dog named Satan. So did Ian Fleming. (Peter Fleming also owned a three-legged fox named Satan; it lost its leg to a trap, rather like one of the dogs in the James Bond Junior novel.) James Bond Junior`s grandfather died three years before the story occurs, which I assume is set in the year it was published: 1967. Caspar Fleming`s grandmother died in 1964 (and also his father, but you already knew that). A three year difference. (My eventual suspect shared several acquaintances with Ann Fleming: Stephen Spender, Evelyn Waugh, Isaiah Berlin.)

I originally suspected the South African born author William Plomer. Neither Mascott or Plomer could be called stylish writers, yet both were highly literate – Plomer remains one of this last century`s most notable writers. Plomer drew and his novels feature detailed descriptions of people`s sketches, quite similar to Mascott`s descriptions in the James Bond Junior novel. Both could write in the third person, casually jump into the first person, and then back into the third – all within the same book. More interesting, though, were the sentences that seemed copied from one another:

`You like drawing?` (she pronounced it `draw-rin`.`) [James Bond Junior, Chapter 6]
`We will not hold a seance to-day,` (He pronounced the word sea-ants). [Plomer`s 1932 novel, The Case Is Altered, Chapter 10]
`I see you`re a sceptic,` said Mrs Trubshore clairvoyantly, but with a slight Australian accent. (She pronounced the word `septic`.)` [The Case Is Altered, Chapter 18]
The lady of Hazeley Hall was a Mrs Frame, a large *tottery*, grand woman, who kept herself up with a silver-handled ebony stick. [James Bond Junior, Chapter 1]
When she went out, Miss Haymer used a stick with a rubber end, and *tottered* along on heels that were rather too high, supporting, like some caryatid, a large, old-fashioned hat, decorated with a bird or two and some fruit, as in her heyday. [The Case Is Altered, Chapter 2]
She had long light lashes, like a cow`s. But her greeny-yellow eyes were like a cat`s. [James Bond Junior, Chapter 2]
The eyes, between dark lids and pouches, seemed as cold as a parrot`s and as malicious as a crocodile`s; [The Case Is Altered, Chapter 2]
Plomer and Mascott also shared the same impish humour. In Plomer`s 1952 novel Museum Pieces, a character describes chattering Indians as `much Urdu about nothing.` Plomer also described `a near miss` in a Naval blockade during WWII as `une demi-vierge` (`a half virgin`). Compare these to:

This made them giggle even more, as they explained it all to James, each trying to outdo the other in reproducing parodies of the Head`s exact words about `the riggers of Justice` and `Law an` Dorder.` (Someone suggested that it was really a girl friend of Old Hignett`s, Loren d`Auder.) [James Bond Junior, Chapter 7]
In James Bond Junior, Les Bottome (try pronouncing it in French) writes for the Daily Clarion. At one point James Bond Junior has to wipe himself with back issues of the Daily Clarion because there`s no toilet paper.

Both Mascott and Plomer would insert parenthetical comments. Also, but probably irrelevant, the French word `ardu`, pronounced `ar-dee` – RD – means hard work, an uphill battle. Plomer once used the pseudonym William D`Arfey. Fleming, in a way, considered Plomer his mascot. Plomer`s first novel was Turbott Wolfe. Both `Turbott` and `Mascott` are normally spelt with one `t`. All reasonable guesses, but numerous differences still separated the two authors. Back to the drawing board.

Alan Ross was another possibility; a published poet and literary editor, he also wrote children`s novels. His 1965 children`s novel The Wreck Of Moni covered similar ground as James Bond Junior: gold, German villains, poisoned dogs, children having council of war sessions, disputing property with adults, violent dogs; both books have quick conclusions explaining that the villains were convicted, etc. In fact, the two stories have much in common. Even when there are differences, there are parallels. James Bond Junior begins with a father and his wife going on vacation; Moni begins with father and family arriving on their vacation. Like Plomer, Ross even lived in the South Downs which is a stone`s throw from where the James Bond Junior novel is set. Ross`s writing however was much drier than Mascott`s. Noticeably so.

Somebody on a newsgroup said that `James Bond Junior` himself was supposedly a clue, which automatically suggested Ian Fleming`s nephew Nichol Fleming (Peter`s son and also a writer), though his prose was slicker and somewhat glib. There was also sufficient reason to believe that Mascott was considerably older than the twenty-eight year old Nichol Fleming. Ian Fleming`s brother Peter would have seemed a likely choice except that his writing style is so clearly unlike Mascott`s. What about Hugo Charteris? (Ann Fleming`s brother and Ian Fleming`s brother-in-law.) The writing styles weren`t particularly close – Charteris could never be called a light-hearted writer – but it wasn`t as bad a match as some other possibilities. Alas, I spoke to his widow Virginia and she knew nothing about the book. There`s no reason to believe that he would have written such a book and not told her. (Incidentally, this exercise has given me the chance to read many of the writers in the Fleming family and circle of acquaintance. I`d strongly recommend those wishing to expand their reading do the same.)

I had what seemed to be a major breakthrough one night. When drowsily glancing at the book, I noticed this paragraph:

She had given James the run of the bothy for his own place. She was the one person who hadn`t made fun of his being James Bond`s nephew. (James`s housemaster insisted on the joke of calling him 003 1/2, ha! ha!)
-and wondered, Who was Caspar Fleming`s housemaster?

Caspar Fleming`s housemaster at Eton was the Rev Robert David Fergusson Wild, also known as RD Wild who, by the way, was a published author. Going from `Wild` to `Mascott` isn`t too great a leap. One of my colleagues, Matt Sherman, found this a particularly striking coincidence and said that the word mascott automatically suggested a school. I tracked down the Rev Wild`s widow, but alas, it was a red herring (or, if you like bad puns, a wild goose chase). Mary Wild was quite forthcoming; her husband considered Caspar Fleming a very unusual boy, but no, she had never heard of the book. Those who`ve read his one published book – I haven`t – Prisoner of Hope say the writing styles are too dissimilar. Strikingly so.

And there it remained until I happened upon an old copy of the British book trade magazine The Bookseller (July 22nd, 1967, to be precise) while researching something else. In a typical publisher`s advertisement (hundreds litter each issue) Jonathan Cape announced the October 24th release of The Adventures of James Bond Junior – 003 1/2, by R.D. Mascott. What made the ad particularly interesting was the blurb that mentioned that `Harry Saltzman plans to make a series of television films based on the book.` Did Saltzman buy the rights before the book was published, or had he been given them? Was Albert R Broccoli involved?

John Parkinson, EON Vice-President, told me that `Glidrose made the initial agreement for the writing of the book as a work-for-hire and there was [an] undertaking at that time [that] the name of the author would be kept secret. That continues to the present day. The film rights and all other rights to The Adventures of James Bond Junior – 003 1/2 are held by Eon Productions Ltd. The animated series of James Bond Junior produced in 1991 was based on that book.`

Broccoli and Saltzman had just finished making You Only Live Twice and Broccoli was then filming Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Roald Dahl wrote both films. Is it possible that Saltzman, worried that Broccoli was onto another money-making scheme without him thought he`d get his own Dahl-Fleming project off the ground that would outdo Broccoli?

Sharp readers will remember that I said at the outset that Dahl didn`t seem a likely author. That was until I read his short story The Swan, which appeared in his `Henry Sugar` collection. The writing is much closer than in Dahl`s other works. So is the sadism. Dahl and Mascott share certain habits, ways of describing things, and both even imitate `lower-class` accents. Peter Watson`s way of thinking things through in the Dahl story is not unlike James Bond Junior`s. Both authors clearly love animals, yet describe violent acts against animals in loving detail. I`ve not read that many children`s books, but both works seem unusually and almost sadistically violent. What other writer could get away with this? Other details blend in with Dahl`s life: Dahl was a pilot, so is David Bond. The Bond parents fly to Dar-es-Salaam, which is where Dahl lived and worked shortly before WWII.

Yet once again I came against the `secrecy veil`. He wrote a James Bond film. Why wouldn`t he want it known that he wrote a James Bond children`s book? Why would his estate still conceal his identity 11 years after his death if it were him? (Mind you, his estate doesn`t have the copyright or presumably the profits. Glidrose would.) However, neither his estate or his family had ever heard of the book.

Running out of names (and patience), I needed a list of literary writers who couldn`t be considered stylists; those who also wrote children`s books; and those from the Kent/Sussex area (or neighbouring Home Counties). (It was either that or putting an ad in The Bookseller asking, `Did you or anybody you know write books during the 1960`s? If so you could be RD Mascott!`. The mind boggles at how many writers there are.) Luckily I hooked up with Chris Willis, a pre-graduate instructor and excellent professional researcher, who herself remembered and enjoyed the book.

I considered other possibilities. A rumour had circulated at the time that Mascott might have been Graham Greene, whose nephew, Graham Carleton Greene, published the James Bond Junior novel. Robert Liddell was born and raised in Tunbridge near where the story occurs; he subsequently lived in Africa (Mascott emphasizes people living in or travelling to Africa), and lived in Greece when Amis visited for Colonel Sun… yet the writing didn`t match. (My first thought – a politically incorrect one, though I didn`t know it at the time – while reading his 1987 novel The Aunts was, `What fruity sludge!` Just thinking about the book makes my mouth pucker like I`ve got an exorbitantly ripe sweet in there and can`t figure how to get it out discreetly. His novel Unreal City shows more restraint and is considered his best for good reason.)

Mascott wrote intelligent, yet unpolished prose. Was it William Golding? A subsequent Nobel Prize winner wouldn`t have gotten so far if the judges knew he`d written a children`s novel about James Bond`s nephew. But no. Golding`s reputation remains intact, which is more than I can say about his extraordinarily unpolished and prolix prose.

A news-cutting in Chapter 20 of Michael Underwood`s novel A Compelling Case resembles one in the James Bond Junior novel, but nothing else triggered my interest in what he wrote (either as a suspect or an author).

I considered Glidrose chairman Peter Janson-Smith`s other clients: Anthony Burgess, Cyril Northcote Parkinson (rather apprehensively; those truly awful Patrick O`Brien books have inoculated me against all historical sea adventures), Gavin Maxwell, Georgette Heyer, Bruce Marshall, Shena MacKay, though I drew the line at Jerzy Kosinski, best known for Being There, and some Latin American writer Janson-Smith represented (whose name and exact nationality escape me). I even considered Janson-Smith himself: he and his second wife Celina Wieniewska translated the Dutch novel Ciske the Rat (1958). I`m guessing that Janson-Smith would have known only a smattering of any foreign language and therefore presumably concentrated on the translation`s style, which is slick.

I considered, then rejected, other possibilities: Peter Quennell, Gerald Durrell, Melvyn Bragg, George MacBeth, C Day Lewis, Lionel Davidson, Simon Raven (who polished the OHMSS script), Len Deighton, Robert Gittings, Donald McCormick (a.k.a. Richard Deacon), Michael Howard, Ivar Bryce. I considered, then rejected, Joan Aiken and other established children`s writers from the 1950`s and 60`s.

Possibility-after-possibility fell off my list until I found myself staring at a copy of the now little-known author Arthur Calder-Marshall`s 1961 novel The Scarlet Boy. I opened the book at random to an early page and saw this:

As he stood there as patient as a Great Dane listening to the yapping of a Pomeranian, he gently lowered one eyelid in a slow motion wink at me. [The Scarlet Boy, Chapter 1]
An alarm went off in my head. Compare it to:

In the doorway stood a huge man. He towered over Nobby like a Great Dane over a Dachshund. [James Bond Junior, Chapter 5]
Coincidence? I considered RD Mascott`s pseudonym and groaned at what seems to be a truly awful pun:

RD = Artie = Arthur

I continued reading and found other similarities. By themselves, some mean little, but when viewed together…

Example 2:

Suddenly she looked round. She had long light lashes, like a cow`s. But her greeny-yellow eyes were like a cat`s. [James Bond Junior, Chapter 2]
I was conscious only of two greeny-yellow eyes which appeared to be focused at the back of my brain. [The Magic of My Youth, Chapter 3]
Her beauty, too, was like a gypsy`s, her unpainted face achieving beauty by the clear curve of the jaw, the arching nostrils, the high broad cheekbones and the sharp, catlike eyes. [The Magic of My Youth, Chapter 4]
Blonde, gypsy-eyed Katharine Smith[.] [James Bond Junior, Chapter 26]
Example 3:

Three years before, Captain Bond had inherited Monkshill from his father. […] It was the first `home` that James had ever had. Before then they had lived in a succession of furnished flats, houses and hotels. […] But as Captain Bond said, `Beacon Hill is our bit of God`s earth.` He wanted the family to strike its roots there. [James Bond Junior, Chapter 1]
After years of wanderlustiness, the Evernesses (Nieves especially but me a furtive bit too), want to Strike Roots. [The Scarlet Boy, Chapter 1]
My father was possessed of a restless spirit which took him abroad for years at a time and sent his family posting from one furnished house to another. He was, he was fond of saying, a modern Ishmael; and in the fifteen years of my life before he bought my grandfather`s house at Steyning, we had lived in eleven different houses. It was an interesting experience, because the home life of our landlords, revealed by diaries, letters and even account-books, provided us with vicarious enjoyments denied to children in more settled homes. / My father`s decision to buy his own house marked a new phase in his development. The time had come to settle down. [The Magic of My Youth, Chapter 4]
Example 4:

James knew what his father meant. He had wandered exploring for miles around. He discovered the world of nature, a pulsing, secret world ignored by people who sit in cars and planes. [James Bond Junior, Chapter 1]
I was very sorry to have left that particular part of the South Downs as it was the only part of the earth which I had ever come to know with intimacy. It had taught me what the love of countryside could mean to those who have always had one place which they can consider their own. [The Magic of My Youth, Chapter 10]
Example 5:

Beacon Hill, on the Kent-Sussex border, was not very convenient for Gatwick Airport from which Captain Bond flew his VC10s: and Monkshill itself was tiny, a cottage with a little garden. [James Bond Junior, Chapter 1]
But his choice of Steyning was unfortunate, because his business and my school were in London; and the seclusion which made it a heaven for week-ends and holidays made it hell for week-days. [The Magic of My Youth, Chapter 4]
Example 6:

`For crying out loud, is there another boy in the whole of England, given the chance to spend a week in Dar-es-Salaam, who`d say `Don`t want to!` At James`s age I`d`ve leapt at it.` Captain Bond drew angrily on his pipe, which had gone out. Then looking for sympathy he turned his gaze from the ungrateful James to his wife. […] Mrs Bond said, `I think James means that it would be as boring playing with his young cousins in Dar-es-Salaam, as you found it with yours in Southampton.` [James Bond Junior, Chapter 1]
There were no Grantley relatives to succeed me, but on my mother`s side there was Harry Waybridge, the young cousin with whom I had played so unsuccessfully at Deal. […] He was married for a second time and was farming in Tanganyika [in East Africa where Dar-es-Salaam is located]. [The Scarlet Boy, Chapter 4]
`Well, next week I`m going out to East Africa to defend N`gozi. It`ll be in all the newspapers and the proper cretins will think that I`ve been given a whacking great fee.` [The Scarlet Boy, Chapter 5]
Example 7:

Sir Cuthbert`s voice made James start. Grinning through the driver`s window was the foxy face with little tufts of hair high on the cheekbones, like a pair of spare eyebrows. [James Bond Junior, Chapter 14]
Behind the bar was a peroxide blonde who pulled beer dreamily as she conversed with a red foxy-faced man sitting on a stool. [The Magic of My Youth, Chapter 4]
Example 8:

Donal ran over, pouring out torrents of foul abuse such as James had never heard in his life before. [James Bond Junior, Chapter 16]
Within the ring of spectators the women fought with self-absorption. There might have been no one within miles for all the notice they took. But when at last a large man, as burly as a policeman and as fumblingly officious, tried to separate them with an “Ere, `ere, you can`t do that, yer know!` they instantly stopped fighting one another and rounded on him for not minding his own business with a torrent of abuse that amounted almost to physical violence. [The Magic of My Youth, Chapter 4]
Example 9:

`Don`t be an ass!` He ran down the stairs with Sheelagh some way behind him. [James Bond Junior, Chapter 18]
`Don`t be an ass.` [The Magic of My Youth, Chapter 6]
Example 10:

He tripped and fell forward, throwing out his hands. […] As he turned to run, he saw the dog swerve in mid-air, then suddenly it was as if a hundred red-hot needles had been driven up his leg from his ankle. His foot was caught in a rabbit hole. [James Bond Junior, Chapter 21]
Then I tripped and fell face forward in the grass; and as I lay winded, testing my twisted ankle, a thought came to me which converted joy to terror. [The Magic of My Youth, Chapter 3]
Example 11:

There would be no chance that Squirrel Joram or any of the others whom Mrs Frame had allowed to play in Hazeley would discover it. [James Bond Junior, Chapter 2]
Tom Blaze the drove and Squirrel his son, hollering and belting their flanks with ash-sticks to bolt them up the cut[.] [The Scarlet Boy, Chapter 1]
Example 12:

James`s housemaster insisted on the joke of calling him 003 1/2, ha! ha! [James Bond Junior, Chapter 1]
`I must make a notch on my recording stick, ha! ha!` [The Scarlet Boy, Chapter 1]
As tea had already been laid outside, it was agreed that the loggia was a perfect idea and John Scarlet proposed that we should `make a tour of the estate, ha! ha!` while his sister made the tea. [The Scarlet Boy, Chapter 11]
Example 13:

There was furious barking. [James Bond Junior, Chapter 5]
Suddenly I heard a furious barking and saw hopping through the tangled grass and weeds a rat, so slow and clumsy that I thought it must be pregnant, as Frisk herself was. [The Scarlet Boy, Chapter 3]
Example 14:

It was Miss Hubbard`s Ford Anglia. [James Bond Junior, Chapter 9]
Punctually at five forty-five a new Ford Anglia stopped in front of the door and a couple of minutes later Mrs Ambrose showed in the Schroeders, Miriam advancing quickly first, her husband lagging sensitively behind. [The Scarlet Boy, Chapter 4]
(Characters in both novels also drive Jaguars.)

Example 15:

He pretended to strip off his mitt and thrust out his hand. `How de, pard. Good trappin`?` It was an old routine of theirs. James stamped on the ground, as if to get the circulation going in his frostbitten feet. `Mush!` he growled. `Mush too mush[.] Mush!` [James Bond Junior, Chapter 7]
[A]nd my mother declared that if it had been Alaska, he could have sported snowshoes, a parka and fur-mitts and cried `Mush! Mush!` to the porter. [The Scarlet Boy, Chapter 10]
(Calder-Marshall had just written a biography of Robert Flaherty, the filmmaker who shot Nanook of the North on location in Alaska and the Yukon.)

Example 16:

`An` I s`pose you`ve been wanderin` all over, with them Alsatians lickin` yer hands,` Squirrel said. `I s`pose the place isn`t surrounded with a whacking great fence and barbed wire on top.` [James Bond Junior, Chapter 19]
`People are very lonely. I s`pose, lonelier than they`ve ever been – with all this globe-trottin`. Ships that pass in the night, yer know.` [The Scarlet Boy, Chapter 11]
There are also plot similarities: in James Bond Junior, Mrs Frame, an elderly woman, whose grandson was killed, gives gifts to James Bond Junior and stores them in her bothy, where he has the key to visit any time he chooses. In The Scarlet Boy, Helen Scarlet`s son is killed; she gives gifts to young George Grantley which she stores in her house, which he`s allowed to visit whenever he likes, and shows him where the key is kept. Scenes involving elderly housemaids – Mrs Ambrose in The Scarlet Boy, and Mrs Raggles in James Bond Junior – are fairly similar. Both books hinge on purchasing a nearby house and the strange goings-on there. Both books feature a troubled female child who draws, and moreover, what she draws is a crucial plot point that resolves each story`s central mystery. Both books feature scenes between children high up in trees; and in both books, the troubled girls` puppies are killed.

Mascott and Calder-Marshall were both natural talents at characterization, especially small-town life, which is one of the James Bond Junior novel`s strengths. Both shared the same impish sense of humour:

And yet the street in which we lived was, for the most part, as quiet as a country lane, being frequented at this hour by lap- and house-dogs taking their masters or their servants for an airing before putting them to bed. These silent men, like prisoners so long incarcerated that even the brief period of exercise no longer gave them pleasure, stood chained to their animals under street-lamps or at the base of plane trees, glancing listlessly once or twice at the carnival roistering past the far end of the street, but as if it was a world from which they were forever separated; at the least tug of the leash they would move eagerly on in the direction of their cells. [The Magic of My Youth, Chapter 4]
Both men were philosophical:

Many children brought up in the atmosphere of immoderation long for restraint at an price. [The Magic of My Youth, Chapter 4]
And I have learnt by now that these things never turn out as one anticipates. There is always some twist which makes even the expected strange, the dreaded welcome, the ambition fruitless and the weakness strength. [The Scarlet Boy, Chapter 18]
Passages even resemble James Bond Junior`s terse style:

Someone went in. Inside looked smoky and crowded. Someone came out. No one was singing or fighting. It was better to be snubbed by a stranger than laughed at by a brother. I pushed open the door. [The Magic of My Youth, Chapter 4]
When rating Mascott similarities on a scale from 0 to 100, Kingsley Amis, Mickey Spillane, Jack Kerouac, Virginia Woolf, and the author of `Penthouse Forum` rate a `0` while Mascott (obviously) scores `100`. Calder-Marshall`s novel The Scarlet Boy scores around 66% – which is approximately 20% higher than anybody else.

So who is Arthur-Calder Marshall?

He was born August 19th, 1908 in Surrey, and was raised in Sussex, near where the James Bond Junior novel is set.

He attended St Paul`s grammar school, and went on to Hertford College, where he eventually edited the undergraduate magazine Oxford Outlook. He was almost expelled after being falsely accused of celebrating a Black Mass. He graduated with a BA from Hertford College in 1930.

Reviewers praised Calder-Marshall`s first novel, Two of a Kind, citing his `talent for graphic description and understanding of the emotion underlying apparently irrational conduct,` though others have chosen to remember the novel for its supposedly hidden obscenity: `They came, together.` This novel, a love story, was about a honeymoon couple`s ordeal after they had been swept out to sea in a small boat. The early to mid 1930`s were a flurry of activity for Calder-Marshall as he published novels, stories and even criticism; in fact, it was Calder-Marshall who coined the term `Greeneland` to describe certain elements in Graham Greene`s novels. Calder-Marshall`s fifth novel, Pie in the Sky, established his reputation. The novel, set in a midlands mill town, involved a large cast of characters in a story about emotional and industrial conflict.

He married Violet Nancy Sale in 1934. They had two daughters, one of whom is the actress Anna Calder-Marshall, who co-starred with Timothy Dalton in the 1970 remake of Wuthering Heights; his other daughter, Clare, runs an Art Gallery.

Calder-Marshall moved to Hollywood and wrote scripts for MGM in the late 1930`s; he was to develop a love-hate relationship with the industry and often complained that the studios paid him more not to write. During the war he joined British Petroleum, and then served in the British Ministry of Information (film division).

Orson Welles had intended to direct and co-star (with Dolores Del Rio) in a film adaptation of Calder-Marshall`s political thriller The Way to Santiago. Welles had finished the script by February 1941, but RKO balked after Citizen Kane`s poor reception. In Welles`s version, an amnesiac resembling a charismatic fascist radio commentator/host becomes a pawn in a political power play. The amnesiac subsequently defeats the fascist radio host, taking over his radio station in the jungle and delivers a warning broadcast.

Calder-Marshall also wrote the story for Alfred Hitchcock`s short twenty-five minute WWII film Bon Voyage, which was `about the shifting moralities of the French Resistance.` According to Donald Spotto, `Hitchcock very rightly worried whether, with a murder committed by one of the characters who was supposed to be a hero, it would ever be shown in France. It never was.` The film, which had been shot quickly, was `shipped out to a disappointed French distributor, who shelved [it] at once.`

Calder-Marshall had more luck with his script for the Academy Award nominated documentary The World is Rich (1946).

Calder-Marshall concentrated on non-fiction after war, especially biographies and editing collected editions of other writers` work. During 1960`s he edited the collected works of Jack London for Bodley Head, whose chairman, Graham Carleton Greene, was managing director of Jonathan Cape around the time of the James Bond Junior novel. No Earthly Command, the story of Vice Admiral Alexander Riall Wadham Wood, is probably Calder-Marshall`s best remembered non-fiction work; Wood entered theological college in 1931 when he was 51, and died aged seventy-four, `a poor parson in London`s East End`. John Betjeman in the Daily Telegraph wrote, `Arthur Calder-Marshall has always written lucidly and readably. However dated and unreadable some prose-writers may become who seem to us elegant or contemporary-tough today, he will remain fresh and clear… I think this is the best book even he has written and the best book I have read for a long time.`

Other non-fiction work included The Innocent Eye, his biography of film director Robert Flaherty; and Sage of Sex, about Havelock Ellis. Calder-Marshall also edited and introduced Prepare to Shed Them Now: The Ballads of George R Sims.

Calder-Marshall`s two best remembered novels remain The Fair to Middling, about `a travelling show that brings magic to a small town`, in particular `the patron, staff and pupils of the Alderman Winterbottome`s School for Incapacitated Orphans, such as the facially-disfigured music teacher and her talented but partially-sighted pupil` who learn that they would have accomplished far less in their lives had they been `normal`; and The Scarlet Boy, an initially light-hearted haunted house story, with a twist that anticipated the motion picture The Sixth Sense. Cyril Connolly praised the novel, writing: `A variation on the theme of the Turn of the Screw in the manner of Graham Greene with an olive from the Cocktail Party and a dash of Dashiel Hammett.`

Calder-Marshall remained a well-known and well-regarded literary figure who unfortunately never quite broke into the front ranks. Critics noticed the similarities between his work and the far more famous Graham Greene, though Calder-Marshall is in some respects perhaps the better of the two. Calder-Marshall acquaintances included Greene, George Orwell, Malcolm Lowery, and even the legendary Alastair Crowley.

He died April 17th, 1992, several months after the much-maligned `James Bond Junior` cartoon series debuted.

NOVELS: 1933 Two of a Kind 1933 About Levy 1934 At Sea 1935 Dead Centre 1937 Pie in the Sky 1940 The Way to Santiago 1949 A Man Reprieved 1955 Occasion of Glory 1961 The Scarlet Boy

STORIES: 1934 Crime Against Cania 1935 A Pink Doll 1937 A Date with a Duchess

FOR CHILDREN: 1958 The Man from Devil`s Island 1959 The Fair to Middling 1963 Lone Wolf: The Story of Jack London

Oh yes, and…

1967 The Adventures of James Bond Junior – 003 1/2 (as `R.D. Mascott`)

NOVELIZATIONS (as `William Drummond`): 1960 Midnight Lace 1961 Victim 1962 Life For Ruth 1964 Night Must Fall 1966 Gaslight

PLAY: 1965 Season of Goodwill (based on `Every Third Thought` by Dorothea Malm)

MEMOIRS: 1951 The Magic of My Youth

Though I`ve (presumably) solved this mystery, one question still remains… how could anybody have thought it was Kingsley Amis?

Anybody want to throw in their two cents? Let me know at

James bond: the Killing Zone

Do you think you know all of the James Bond books? Think again! In 1985 an author named Jim Hatfield wrote and published a complete James Bond novel entitled “The Killing Zone” that has gone unnoticed until now. For the first time on the `Net 007Forever has brought the most obscure 007 novel to light and has attempted to answer some of the questions surrounding the origins of this strange Bondian adventure.

What is intriguing about The Killing Zone is that it is neither spoof nor parody. It is a real, 100% James Bond novel. In fact it is even better than quite a few of the John Gardner novels. So where did it come from?

A noteworthy James Bond collector unearthed the only known copy then thought to be in existence at a Texas book show. The Killing Zone was a paperback edition that looked professional but had suspicious markings. The cover has “The Killing Zone” in large generic letters with blood spots here and there. There is a small logo on top with the Roger Moore-James Bond silhouette used in the For Your Eyes Only posters. (See photo accompanying this story.) Aside from that, there are no Bond specific markings. The font and layout of the cover suggests a meticulous publishing job, however.

“For Your Eyes Only”
How did this book escape the attention of the Bond fan community until recently? The answer is simple. The Killing Zone is totally illegal and was never released as a real book. The Killing Zone is a bootleg Bond novel not approved by Glidrose Publications, the literary copyright holder to the James Bond character. In the 1980`s, John Gardner was the official Glidrose author, who went on to write 16 different James Bond adventures. The acknowledgement section of “Zone” mentions Glidrose as if it was an official James Bond novel but this is merely cheek on the author`s part. Glidrose had nothing to do with this book. They did not commission it nor do they sanction its existence.

“Secret Mission”
The Killing Zone`s Bond narrative is deadly serious and fits surprisingly into the Bond legacy, very reminiscent of Bond XVI, “License To Kill”. A German-South American drug lord, “Klaus Doberman” has executed Bond`s pal Bill Tanner in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Tanner was there coordinating British Secret Service efforts to slow the illicit drug trade to Europe and the Americas. Tanner`s sudden, violent death prompts M himself to travel to the Virgin Islands to coax James Bond out of retirement (ala “Never Say Never Again”). M wants Bond to pursue Doberman and avenge Tanner`s demise. Over a Fleming-styled dinner, M presents Bond with Doberman`s dossier. Doberman is a German homosexual, a brutal sadist who wears a patch over one dead eye below a coif of long blonde hair. Bond immediately dislikes what he learns and accepts the mission to take vengeance for his friend. Afterwards M comments, “the bastard`s back.”

Arriving in Puerto Vallarta, Bond and his tricked out Porsche Gamballa soon hooks up with his longtime partner Felix Leiter plus an adventurous local named “Lotta Head.” (Good grief!) Lotta is the daughter of the proprietor of Bond`s hotel, a blonde and voluptuous American willing to help Bond in any manner needed! (Her piquant name draws disbelief from even Bond. Lotta explains that her father wanted to remember the wild night she was conceived and so chose the name.) With his “dream team” in tow, Bond sets out to track down and utterly destroy Klaus Doberman and his organization. Further complicating matters are the arrival of Soviet KGB General Gogol and KGB Agent Anya Amasova! Both are in Mexico for a meeting with Doberman. It turns out that Doberman is financed by the Soviets to help destabilize fragile democracies in the Caribbean and Central America through the distribution of cocaine and general mayhem. Bond also discovers that Doberman owns a palatial seaside estate outside Puerto Vallarta. Doberman also has a luxury boat named “The Buenaventura.” His head of security is a sinister ninja named Fuji Chen, a veteran of prior encounters with 007.

The hunt is on and Bond and company set out after their prey. After numerous chases, ambushes and a fiery attack on Doberman`s fortress, the enemy and his empire are destroyed, again reminiscent of License To Kill, filmed a few short years later. Bond and Lotta plan to “recoup” together in Acapulco.

“Warning: Incredible Spoilers Ahead!” You may not be likely to read this unbelievably rare tome, but if you don`t want to know the shocking ending, skip down several paragraphs to the section entitled, “License Revoked”.

After Doberman and his evil machine are demolished, Fuji Chen is still around. Ambushing Bond in Lotta`s hotel room, he succeeds in garroting 007. Bond`s final act on earth is to fatally stab Chen in the chest…cut to the submarine “HMS Reliant” where M presides over James Bond`s funeral! Bond`s body is placed in a torpedo shell and launched deep under the Atlantic to the mournful strains of Scottish bagpipe music. And you thought On Her Majesty`s Secret Service had a moody ending! Even though it is totally wrong for a Bond story, Bond`s funeral scene is quite interesting. M quotes Charles Dickens` last analysis from “A Tale of Two Cities” over Bond`s casket. “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” This scene seems to almost a graft from a film; there are many parallels to Captain Spock`s funeral scene in “Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan”. In any event, the funeral scene here is a strange ending for the strangest James Bond book that you will probably never read.

The ending of The Killing Zone underscores the renegade nature of the entire book. There is no way conceivable that an official Bond book, or film for that matter, would ever kill off James Bond. So why does Jim Hatfield do it?

“License Revoked?”
When this book was unearthed, some speculated that Glidrose commissioned The Killing Zone but chose not to publish it. To spite them, Hatfield may have published the novel himself. Keep in mind that between 1981 and 1996, one official John Gardner Glidrose book appeared each year, except in 1985, around the time of The Killing Zone`s release. (Mr. Gardner did not make his expected release date for 1985 due to some difficult times the Gardner family experienced.) It may be circumstantial or apocryphal, but in the end, Glidrose did not commission `Zone`.

“A License to Film?”
Perhaps “Zone” was a film treatment commissioned by Eon, which Jim Hatfield turned to a book when the producers passed. Remember in 1984 (the time that the setting of the book takes place) that Mexico was rumored to be the location for the film which became “A View To A Kill”. Many Zone action sequences feel like setpieces for a film. In particular, the dramatic climax has Bond dangling by a rope from the villain`s one-man helicopter as Doberman attempts escape. This is very similar to the climax of both “Octopussy” and A View To A Kill, films released around the time of the book`s composition. But this again is speculation. Maybe this was just a book written on spec?

“A Tip of the Hatfield”
So who is Jim Hatfield anyway? There is actually a very interesting story behind this man. It turns out Jim Hatfield is an ex-con, who has done time in three different states, including a stint in prison for trying to kill his boss with a car bomb! But the intrigue doesn`t end there. Mr. Hatfield went on to write the provocative book, “Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President”. In his book, Hatfield alleges that Republican Presidential frontrunner George W. Bush was arrested in 1972 for possession of cocaine, which was subsequently covered up by his famous father. St. Martin`s Press halted further publication of the book and then ordered a recall when word of Hatfield`s felonious past caught up to him!

Besides the car bombing conviction, Hatfield was separately convicted of embezzlement. Federal court records reveal that Jim Hatfield pleaded guilty in 1992 to swindling thousands of dollars in federal housing money…a case in which his intended bombing victim was a witness. Court records reveal that in 1988 Hatfield was sentenced to 15 years in prison after he admitted he paid a hit man $5,000 to explode his former boss`s car in February 1987. While in prison, he pleaded guilty to one count of “making a false statement in federal paperwork” and had five additional years tacked onto his state sentence. With early-release provisions, Hatfield was paroled to Arkansas in 1994, where he has since written at least five books, including several science-fiction television trivia books and a biography of “Star Trek” actor Patrick Stewart.

Hatfield told fellow employees at the federal housing authority where he worked before his arrest that he had won “a contest to write the next James Bond book” and continue the series started by deceased author Ian Fleming! “Years went by and we never saw the book. We wondered if it was really true,” an acquaintance told Washington Post reporter Kathy Sawyer in her March 19, 2000 expose on Hatfield. Eventually Hatfield delivered his book, printed and bound(The jacket blurb announces: “Bond has his hands full as he battles a lucious [sic] lady assassin. . . . Aided by his sex-galore confederate Lotta Head . . . 007 is pitted against Klaus Doberman in his heavily armed fortress.”) Suspicious co-workers called the publisher. They learned Hatfield had paid to have the work published himself; a vanity piece.

Hatfield now admits to The Washington Post that this was another deception. “I was so overly confident that my work would be selected, I boasted to everybody. When it wasn`t selected, I self-published and sold it to everybody I knew. I really had egg on my face, but nothing compared to now.” Yet he continues to tell people there was a contest when no such contest really existed.

“You Only Live Twice?”
Whoever he “really” is, however, Jim Hatfield does know his James Bond and what constitutes a solid 007-adventure novel. Bond`s physical description is lifted straight from Mr. Fleming`s work in a delightful way. Bond still wears a Rolex (in gold this time) and is an ultimate connoisseur of fine wines and food. Hatfield`s James Bond is also plagued by recurring memories of his murdered wife Tracy, a nice Fleming holdover. Hatfield does have the knack for Flemingesque detail down. Bond`s cars and weapons are all described down to minute detail. So too is hardware such as Doberman`s yacht The Buenaventura. Its description conjures up Fleming`s memorable description of the “Disco Volante” of “Thunderball”. Hatfield also sneaks in some vintage Fleming detail for the villains. Doberman`s one eye is doll-like (like Benito Mussolini`s) with the whites surrounding the iris. Fuji Chen`s eyes are cold and evil, “like gunbarrels” or just the way Mr. Fleming described Dr. No`s evil eyes.

Hatfield allows annoying American slang to creep into Bond`s character, however, totally wrong for our favorite British agent. Bond would never use American slang like “plug you” for “shoot you” and fifty “bucks”. He also would definitely not give someone “the finger” which he does to Felix Leiter in a moment of jest!

Another game that Jim Hatfield cannot resist is to pepper The Killing Zone with references to Bond films and books. Indicating the time that this book was written, Never Say Never Again is referred to the most. For instance, Bond says that he has been retired from the Secret Service for one year, which would follow on with the events in Never Say Never Again. Our beloved “Q” now works for the CIA, also alluded to in that film.

Further, the bizarre appearance of Anya Amasova and General Gogol is interesting. Anya hints at a past relation with 007 in dialogue but her character is much more sinister that it was in The Spy Who Loved Me. General Gogol mentions that James Bond`s execution is long overdue…but he gets to do little about it before he is sabotaged by Fuji Chen and dies in a fiery helicopter crash.

The Killing Zone is also in sync with John Gardner`s books. Bond wields a Ruger Super .44 Magnum kept under the seat of his Porsche (as in the Saab of Gardner`s novels). There is also a recounting of Bond`s past tortures such as the carpet beater from Casino Royale, the brain probes in Colonel Sun and the ice water torture from Mr. Gardner`s “Icebreaker”. M`s dinner with Bond on St. Thomas echoes dialogue from Gardner`s first Bond opus, “Licence Renewed”. M tells Bond that he is a blunt instrument for Her Majesty`s government. Hatfield tips his hat to even John Pearson by having Bond retired on St. Thomas. This was mentioned in Pearson`s biography of 007.

Even more puzzling is the direct lifting of dialogue from the 007 films. When Doberman meets with his associates, he uses the exact same speech that Blofeld did in Never Say Never Again when he briefed S.P.E.C.T.R.E.`s board of directors. When Bond confronts a Mafia chieftain on Doberman`s whereabouts, the mobster don mocks Bond with the exact same lines that Scaramanga used in The Man With the Golden Gun. He says that Bond is a killer who “works for peanuts and a hearty well done from Her Majesty”. General Gogol even gets to recycle some of his own dialogue from Octopussy and A View To A Kill!

Why does Hatfield do this? He is obviously capable of writing a first class Bond adventure that does not need to rely on any gimmicks. Are all the references a homage to the books and films? Or is it an elaborate game to please hardcore Bond fans? Like the book itself, it is another part of the riddle.

In hindsight its interesting to see how many themes and ideas from The Killing Zone made it into subsequent Bond films. There is a character named Huggins in The Killing Zone whom Bond encounters. Huggins is a former MI6 agent gone bad who was scarred by Bond in a previous run-in…Alec Trevelyan`s “006,” anyone? Perhaps there is little direct connection between The Killing Zone, Licence To Kill and Goldeneye but it is interesting to note the coincidences.

“Death Leaves an Echo”
In the end though, The Killing Zone is a major romp for any 007 fan. The action sequences are stunning. Standouts include a cat and mouse game between Bond and KGB agents in the Mexican desert and a bravura sequence involving a remote controlled boat used by Bond and Leiter to decoy the guards at Doberman`s seaside fortress. Klaus Doberman and Lotta Head are serviceable characters but not compelling. Not much is made of Doberman`s homosexuality which could have been put to more interesting use. Doberman does have a great scene where he is eating rare steak and blood oozes down his chin. Lotta uses her body to help her and Bond get out of some tight spots. Felix Leiter is put to very good use. Much better in fact than most of the recent Bond films and novels where Leiter`s appearance is more of a cameo…and Mr. Hatfield has not forgotten that the Felix of the books is missing certain key appendages.

“On Her Majesty`s Secret Collection”
In sum, lucky Bond novel hunters may someday see, on the farthest corner of dusty bookstore shelving, a strange little paperback composed of 251 of the wildest pages you may ever read in the James Bond “saga”.

Written by: Greg Bechtloff The Las Vegas Review-Journal, Dallas Morning News, The Independent, Matt Sherman and Nicholas Kincaid all contributed to this article.

**Hatfield commits suicide:

Police said Hatfield, 43, died of an apparent drug overdose. His body was found by a maid Wednesday, July 18, 2001, the day after he checked into the motel in Springdale, near his native Bentonville and about 200 miles northwest of Little Rock.

Detective Sgt. Mike Shriver of the Springdale Police Department said there was no question it was a suicide.

“He left a note and everything,” Shriver said of Hatfield. ”It’s really cut and dried.”

While it’s no surprise that someone from Arkansas would want to kill themself, Hatfield’s story is an intriguing, though completely ridiculous tale. Let us take you back to the summer of 2000, when Hatfield’s book “Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President”, was receiving national attention, and 007Forever was the FIRST and ONLY website to expose Mr. Hatfield for what he really was.

Per Fine Ounce

a Geoffrey JenkinsÕ Per Fine Ounce created in the style of Richard Chopping
When asked who the first post-Fleming Bond novelist was, the average Bondophile would say “Kingsley Amis”. And they`re wrong. 007Forever is proud to present the most information found anywhere in the world about Bond`s “unknown” South African adventure… Per Fine Ounce.

Geoffrey Jenkins, a South African adventure novelist, was a friend of Fleming`s from their newspaper days. Jenkins pressed Fleming to visit South Africa. Apparently Fleming had promised to one day write a Bond novel set in South Africa. Circa 1957, Jenkins wrote an outline for a Bond novel that Fleming thought had great possibilities.

Unfortunately, tragically, details are sketchy – apparently those in the know prefer not to discuss the novel. However this much is known: set in South Africa, it was about the diamond industry in the Rand and involved diamond smuggling, a secret spy escape route through a magic lake named Funduzzi in the Northern Transvaal, towards Mozambique. Gold bicycle chains and baobab wood coffins might have been used as smuggling gimmicks.

Fleming and Jenkins discussed it at length and Fleming had made changes; Fleming was very particular with what he intended to do with the outline, the approach he contemplated. Fleming wrote, “I must know how everything smells, tastes and looks for myself in South Africa.” Twice he was scheduled to visit to do background research, but in both cases, something arose and he postponed it. (Fleming often invited Jenkins to Jamaica, but the latter was unable to go.)

In August 1964, several days before Fleming died, he and Jenkins discussed the project again. Jenkins would be in London shortly and hoped to persuade Fleming to visit South Africa. Fleming had promised to one day write a Bond novel set in South Africa; he had even gone so far as to sketch out the plot [sic], which they had discussed.

On May 4th, 1965, John Pearson, then researching his forthcoming book The Life Of Ian Fleming wrote to Geoffrey Jenkins, asking for the latter`s memories of Fleming. Jenkins wrote back on June 1st, 1965, and mentioned that circa 1957 he had written a Bond outline for Fleming, set in South Africa. Fleming had apparently been very keen and had intended to travel there. Jenkins tried hard to get Fleming out there, and twice Fleming almost did go. On September 24th, 1965, Jenkins wrote back asking after the 25 page Bond plot he had written for Fleming, who had been pretty keen on it. Jenkins had lost his own copy and hoped Pearson could find a copy in Fleming`s papers. On October 1st, 1965, Pearson wrote back saying he would forward a copy. Intriguingly, Pearson suggested that perhaps Jenkins should write the book now. On October 6th, 1965, Jenkins wrote back that he and Fleming had discussed it at length and had made changes. Fleming was very particular with what he intended to do with the outline, the approach he contemplated. Twice he was due to visit South Africa to get his background. Jenkins thought it would be quite a nice tribute to Ian if he, Jenkins, were to write a posthumous Bond novel. On November 3rd, 1965, Pearson wrote back, “I hope that you write that book. Just reading your synopsis through I can understand why Ian got so excited about it, and you can`t possibly allow such magnificent material to go to waste. Gold bicycle chains and baobab wood coffins. What else can the Bond-lover ask for?”

In a letter to Jenkins` publisher William Collins, dated December 11th, 1965, Ann Fleming would apparently meet with Glidrose on December 14th about the outline. Aiken and Charles Tyrrell of Glidrose now wanted the synopsis that Jenkins had originally offered. However, Jenkins became reluctant. He felt a synopsis would be unsatisfactory because the story would change and grow as it progressed. Also, he felt that Ann Fleming`s “inexperienced” eye would be at a disadvantage reading a synopsis. In a letter to William Collins, dated January 2nd, 1966, Jenkins said he hoped to get the go-ahead any time.

From here on in information becomes sketchy.

Jenkins at some point secured Bond film producer Harry Saltzman`s support and threatened to write the novel unless permission was forthcoming. Glidrose reluctantly commissioned the book (probably sometime in the spring/summer of 1966), but deemed the final manuscript unpublishable and suppressed it. If his novel Hunter Killer is anything to go by, Jenkins probably finished the novel in at most several months, ahead of Amis completing Colonel Sun.

Jenkins` 1983 novel, The Unripe Gold, might refer to Per Fine Ounce:

“Maybe one of his famous hunches – and no one could deny that on a famous occasion Major Rive`s hunch had paid off when there had been a James Bond attempt to land a plane upcoast and fly out a parcel of stolen diamonds.” (Chapter 30, page 212, Collins edition)


Geoffrey Jenkins was born June 16th, 1920 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He followed his father into journalism and became the Johannesburg Star`s representative in Pretoria, the seat of government, in 1949.

In 1947 he won Lord Kemsley`s Commonwealth Scholarship [a.k.a. Imperial Journalistic Scholarship] and went to London as guest sub-editor and worked in turn on the Sunday Times and other Kemsley newspapers, where he met Ian Fleming. The two men became friends and kept in touch. Before returning to South Africa, Jenkins broadcast for the BBC a series of talks based on his adventures in Fleet Street. His first novel, A Twist Of Sand, was published in 1959 and Ian Fleming wrote in the Sunday Times: “Geoffrey Jenkins has the supreme gift of originality… A literate, imaginative first novel in the tradition of high and original adventure.”

In one press article published in The Star (25 May 1971) Jenkins explains his failure to produce a published work during the 5 years following the publication of Hunter Killer (1966) as follows: “I took time off to re-find myself. … I was suffering under what I call the Fleming Syndrome. Ian was a great friend of mine and gave me plenty of encouragement when Twist was launched. I used to look him up whenever I was in London. So I suppose it was natural my writing should drift towards the Bond style and my plots should begin to take on that form. That and an eye on the film rights. I couldn`t shake it off even though I began to loathe the film industry. So I dropped everything and set about reassessing myself.”

In a Sunday Times (1981) interview he describes Ian Fleming as the personification of James Bond and in another Sunday Times interview (1972) he refers to his friendship with Fleming in the late forties as follows: “He was my immediate boss… He had the famous old 4 and a half litre Bentley then. I can remember how he used to look at the clock at about 12.30 and say `Geoffrey, old boy, time for a spot of lunch`. We would never get back until 3 o`clock.” However, Jenkins went to great pains during the 1960`s to make clear that Fleming was NOT Bond.

At one of their last meetings, it seems that Fleming was “collating” memories and experiences in Hong Kong. For a new Bond work? According to Jenkins, a Bondian idea was born during drinks: Fleming had seen a poster for a publisher of religious books in a converted Hong Kong brothel. Interestingly Fleming claimed that the “Bond style” spy-thriller was dead. In London over drinks, they considered making Bond a necrophiliac and conjured up a scenario, which grew more hilarious and censorious as it unravelled. (John Pearson remarked that, “making Bond a necrophile is a typical Ianism.” In fact both regretted that Fleming made such poor use of his rich sense of humour in the novels.)

Jenkins considered Casino Royale Fleming`s best, and The Spy Who Loved Me one of the least successful.

Jenkins` novels:
A Twist Of Sand [1959]
The Watering Place Of Good Peace [1960, rev 1974]
A Grue Of Ice [1962; US title: The Disappearing Island]
The River Of Diamonds [1964]
Hunter-Killer [1966]
Scend Of The Sea [1971; US title: The Hollow Sea]
A Cleft Of Stars [1973]
A Bridge Of Magpies [1974]
Southtrap [1979]
A Ravel Of Waters [1981]
The Unripe Gold [1983]
Fireprint [1984]
In Harm`s Way [1986]
Hold Back A Shadow [1989]
A Hive Of Dead Men [1991]
A Daystar Of Fear [1994]

Unfilmed screenplay:
The Fifth Paw Of The Lion [1966, Columbia]

A Century Of History: The Story Of Potchefstroom [1939, Potchefstroom
Herald; rev 1971, A.A. Balkema]

Non-fiction with his wife Eve Palmer:
The Companion Guide To South Africa [1978]

[Nick Kincaid`s note: try reading Jenkins` novels, especially Scend of the Sea and A Cleft of Stars. Jenkins` novels have a very evocative feel for South Africa, and he is an adventure novelist in the purest sense – which Fleming wasn`t. Jenkins` novels are perpetually fresh. He lacks some of Fleming`s complexities and literary touches, and does tend towards “thick-ear” dialogue, but I think he would have made an interesting Bond novelist. Some people – myself included – consider Per Fine Ounce the “holy grail” among Bond items.]

007Forever is your number one internet source for information about these and other neglected Bond items. Special thanks to Mr. Geoffrey Jenkins, Ann Torlesse of the National English Literary Museum, and Boston University for help with this article.

Morris Cargill (1914-2000)

MORRIS CARGILL, who has died in Jamaica aged 85, was for almost half a century the best-known journalist in the Caribbean; his column in Jamaica`s national newspaper, The Daily Gleaner, was regarded by many as the only accurate account of the state of affairs of the country, and was required reading for politicians and plumbers alike.

Although Cargill delighted above all in pricking pomposity, he did not hold back from giving his own authoritative view. “I know it`s very trendy to admire reggae,” he wrote. “Well, I don`t. I am stubbornly of the opinion that it is fit only for semi-literate tone- deaf morons . . . I wouldn`t dream of using an amplifier to bash people in the street with Beethoven.”

Taken with his other much-aired dislikes – tough steaks, computers, bad English – such attitudes might be thought to be those of a world-weary reactionary. Instead, Cargill was in favour of decriminalising marijuana, loathed racists, had converted to Buddhism and distrusted authority.

“Jamaica and its politicians,” he believed, “are West Indian ramshackle, Mrs Malaprop, Black Mischief and the Mafia all tied up in one parcel.”

Provocative commentary like this divided even the many who admired his writing and brought charges that he was unpatriotic, which he was not. Instead, together with respect for the family, nothing was dearer to him than Jamaica`s future, which he despaired would be destroyed by nationalism. He made it his task to confront any such threat with humour, and fearlessness.

Morris Cargill was born in the parish of St Andrew, Jamaica, on June 10 1914. His ancestors were Scottish Covenanters who had settled in Jamaica in 1666 and over the centuries acquired large plantations. His father was a a partner in the law firm of Cargill, Cargill and Dunn.

Young Morris grew up in Kingston, where his Jamaican nanny kept colds at bay by liberally dosing him with marijuana. He was sent to school locally at Munro College, although in practice he spent much of his time on his uncles` plantations, and then at 13 was dispatched to Stowe, in Buckinghamshire. From there he would return home only for the summer holidays, making the journey by banana boat.

Cargill decided to follow his father into the law, and in 1937 was admitted a solicitor in Jamaica. But he soon decided this was not for him, and became instead the manager of the Carib Theatre, a cinema in Kingston.

In 1941, he and his wife Barbara sailed for England to make their contribution to the war effort. Cargill worked first for the Ministry of Information and then as business manager of the Crown Film Unit. He also broadcast occasionally on the BBC.

After the war, he went into business for himself, importing Jamaican rum and a coffee-based liqueur he had had made up to his Aunt Mary`s recipe. This latter venture was not at first a success, and so Cargill sold his rights to Tia Maria. He fared better with his interests in steel and plastics.

Cargill returned home in 1949 and once more changed career, buying a 720-acre banana plantation, Charlottenburgh, in St Mary. He gradually modernised the cabins of his plantation workers, and valiantly tried to introduce birth control.

He gave hundreds of sponges to young women for use as simple barrier contraception, but then discovered that they were using them instead to wipe clean their slates in school. The local population continued to grow apace.

Farming in Jamaica, said Cargill, was a mixture of running an institution for delinquents and being both medical orderly and magistrate. His labourers trusted him to settle all their disputes rather than go to court.

He kept up his interest in journalism and broadcasting and in 1952 began to write a daily column in the Gleaner under the name “Sam White”. Soon his opinions were being read all over the West Indies. Then in 1958 he was, somewhat against his better judgment, elected to the short-lived Parliament of the West Indies Federation as the member for St Mary.

This meant moving to Trinidad, where, while serving as Deputy Leader of the Opposition, he also edited the Port of Spain Gazette. He felt under-employed, however, and in 1963 resigned to return to Jamaica, where he resumed both farming and writing his column.

His friends and neighbours in St Mary included Noel Coward and Ian Fleming, who had James Bond seek information about Jamaica from Cargill in two of his books, Dr No and Octopussy. But by the 1970s, danger had began to enter Cargill`s life off the page. He was badly wounded by a man attempting to rob his house and then, with the advent of Michael Manley`s socialist government, was three times threatened with prosecution for criticising the Prime Minister in his column.

A campaign to drive Cargill out of Jamaica now began. The last straw came when the water to his plantation was cut off and he was forced to sell Charlottenburgh. He took a publishing job in Connecticut and, allowed to take only $50 with him, moved to America. There he wrote a memoir, Jamaica Farewell (1977).

A change of government, however, brought him back, and with his half-brother John Pringle, now Jamaica`s Ambassador-at-large, he bought a large estate near Hope Bay, Portland, called “Paradise Plum”. But the plantation was devastated by a hurricane and floods, and in 1982 he gave up farming and moved to Kingston to concentrate on journalism.

Although ill health and near-blindness had latterly confined him to a wheelchair, he still wrote his column three times a week until just before his death.

Cargill was, despite the strength of his opinions, a kind and considerate man. His books included A Gallery of Nazis (1977) and three thrillers written with John Hearne under the pseudonym John Morris. A Selection of Writings in the Gleaner, 1952-85 appeared in 1987, and was followed in 1998 by another collection, Public Disturbances.

Morris Cargill was appointed a Commander of the Order of Distinction (Jamaica) for services to journalism in 1998. He described it as a “sort of equivalent to the CBE, and only given to extinct volcanoes”.

He married first, in 1937, Barbara Margot Samuel. They were divorced in 1972, but remained on friendly terms and took their holidays together. They adopted a daughter, who survives them both. A second marriage was also dissolved.

James Bond vs. Dr. Evil

The Austin Powers movie series is well known for lovingly spoofing the Bond series. It`s whole premise is virtually based on every well known cliche about 007. But it may come as a surprise to some that James Bond actually did do battle with Dr. Evil in a very short story published in a Chicago-based magazine circa 1975. Nick Kincaid rummages through 25 years of archived material to unearth this gem:

“Exclusive – Four unpublished early masterpieces

Now that it`s becoming the fashion to dig out the juvenile works of famous writers, MILES KINGTON jumps on the bandwagon with a quartet of previously unknown works of genius.

Other titles:
The Case of the Missing Navy, by Conan Doyle aged 13
Death at Tea Time, by Ernest Hemingway aged 14
Lord Arthur Wentworth`s Blackboard, by Oscar Wilde aged 15

Dr Evil
By Ian Fleming, aged 14 1/2

James Bond strode into the hallway of Dr Evil`s house, wearing an immaculate school blazer which had been made for him by Jacob Schneider of Lucerne, which I think is in Switzerland, and asked the receptionist to tell Dr Evil that James Bond had come to see him.

“Dr Evil?” she said into the phone. “There is a boy called Bond to see you.”

“Who is almost 17,” said James.

“Who is only 17,” she said. “Yes, sir. Will you take the lift to the third floor?”

When Bond left the lift at the third floor he found himself face to face with Dr Evil, a squat, ugly, horrible little man who was uncannily like a certain schoolmaster.

“What can I do for you, Master Bond?” he said leering.

Bond felt in his pocket casually to check that his 2 1/2 lb catapult, made of choice elm wood by a master craftsman in Bond Street, which is a very important street near Piccadilly, was loaded. He only used the very best conkers, imported from his aunt in Ireland, which was better than most aunts who only sent you book tokens.

“I think you know what I have come for, ” he said coolly, no, icily.

“You have my replica authentic Japanese destroyer which fires real hara-kiri aeroplanes, which you confiscated for your own devilish ends. Sir.”

The face of Dr Evil went pale and he reached for his poison gun, but before he could pull it out Bond had pounced. At lightning speed he fastened the evil man in a half-Nelson, gave him a Chinese burn, did a quick knuckle-crusher and punched him in the nose. Dr Evil sank lifeless to the ground, only he wasn`t really dead. Like a flash, Bond entered the nearest room. There, on the bed, was the most fantastic blonde, really smashing, with no clothes on at all, if you know what I mean, like in books. There, on the table was his authentic Japanese destroyer.

“Who are you?” she gasped huskily gazing at the handsome stranger.

“I am James Bond and I am 16 3/4,” he said in as low a voice as possible. “I have just killed your friend Dr Evil, but he will live.”

He strode to the table and picked up the destroyer. Before he left the room he turned to the girl, well, woman, and said:

“You will get cold lying around with no clothes on, anyway it looks silly, whatever they say in books. I would get a dressing gown on if I were you.

Moments later there came the distinctive sound of Bond`s super three-speed-gear Raleigh as he pedalled away down the drive.”

[This first appeared in The Critic, Fall 1975, copyright (c) 1975 by The Thomas More Association]

Frederick Forsyth Not Bonding

Bestselling author Frederick Forsyth has often been compared to Ian Fleming so it’s not surprising that Forsyth’s publisher Patrick Janson-Smith recently got together with Forsyth for lunch on September 4th (2001) and, among other things, discussed the idea of Forsyth writing a James Bond novel. Patrick Janson-Smith’s surname should be familiar to 007Forever readers: his father, Peter, is chairman of Glidrose, which controls the James Bond book copyright.

Forsyth is often mentioned as the popular choice to write Bond novels. According to one insider, “He [Forsyth] could certainly write a classy, racy British thriller that sells copies, which is what the Bond book franchise needs these days.” Unfortunately as Patrick Janson-Smith reports, “Alas, he told me that he has, and has had, absolutely no desire to follow in the footsteps of Ian Fleming.”

According to Nick Kincaid, 007Forever literary expert: “It’s a shame he’s not interested. His novels The Devil’s Alternative and Icon could have easily been Bond novels. Both men share similar backgrounds in journalism, they’ve both been foreign correspondents and Forsyth is the only other writer I’ve come across who, like Fleming, wrote in such a dry, clinical and yet droll and occasionally lugibrious manner.”

At 19, Forsyth was the youngest pilot in the RAF. As a foreign correspondent for Reuters and then the BBC, he worked throughout Europe and Africa. Forsyth burst onto the publishing scene with the thriller The Day of the Jackal. His latest book, The Veteran, a collection of five stories, has just been published.

Forsyth, who is one of former British PM Margaret Thatchers favourite authors, is also well-known to British radio listeners for his regular attacks against Tony Blair’s Labour government on Radio Four’s Saturday essay. “If you disagree with this government,” says Forsyth referring to current British PM Tony Blair, “you’re not just wrong, you’re a bad person. Because you chase foxes, because you want to save the pound, you are not treated as a mistaken person, you are bad.”

For more, see:

Fleming Steel Dagger To Be Awarded

The CWA is delighted to announce an exciting new annual prize for the year’s best thriller, adventure novel or spy fiction novel. The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger has been suggested and sponsored by Ian Fleming (Glidrose) Publications Ltd., to celebrate the best of contemporary thriller writing.

CASINO ROYALE, Ian Fleming’s first novel, was completed in 1952, and so this year marks fifty years of James Bond. Penguin Books will be reissuing the complete Ian Fleming backlist in April this year and the twentieth Bond movie will be released in November 2002.

Eligible books can come from authors of any nationality but must have been first published in the UK in English between 1st September and 31st August in each judging year. The first prize of £2,000 and a Steel Dagger will be awarded this year. Judging will be administered by the Crime Writers’ Association (who already run the Gold & Silver Dagger, the Short Story Dagger, the Non-fiction Dagger, the Creasey Dagger and the Ellis Peters Prize for Historical Crime Fiction).

The first panel of judges are Ian Fleming’s former literary agent, Peter Janson-Smith, crime critic and author Peter Guttridge, Cambridge bookseller Richard Reynolds, and the current chairman of the CWA, Russell James. The judging panel will be chaired by Kate Jones, formerly an editorial director of Penguin Books, and now literary consultant to Ian Fleming (Glidrose) Publications Ltd. A short list will be announced at the end of September and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in London this November.

Russell James commented, “We’ve deliberately framed the rules to attract writers from all over the English speaking world. It’s a very inclusive competition and we’ll welcome entries of all kinds of adventure fiction, whether aimed at adult or younger age groups. I think the prestige of being the first winner of this major new prize, closely associated with the Ian Fleming name, will draw a host of entries.” Kate Jones said, “Ian Fleming (Glidrose) Publications Ltd are delighted to inaugurate this award. Fifty years ago, Ian Fleming redefined thriller writing and his character James Bond is a twentieth century icon without peer. We wanted to mark Ian Fleming’s achievements by celebrating the best of contemporary thriller writing.”

—Article ©2002 The Crime Writers Association

Death Leaves An Echo (Plomer’s Memorial Service)

007Forever is honored to present these two items written by one of Ian Fleming`s closest friends, the author William Plomer. Though it`s likely there would have been a James Bond without Plomer, it`s unlikely that either Fleming or Bond would have been as successful.

Special thanks to Duff Hart-Davis, the William Plomer estate, Ms Elizabeth Rainey, Durham University, and Peter F. Alexander for his book William Plomer: A Biography.


We have come together today to commemorate a man whose absence we can`t yet begin to get used to. Ian Fleming was decidedly a man of our time, but in any age such an uncommon personality, such varied gifts and high spirits, would make a strong impression. He made one feel one had to try and live up to his standard of alertness, to keep tuned up, and to move at his own quick tempo. He seemed always to take the shortest distance between two points in the shortest possible time, and although he didn`t suffer bores gladly, his appetite for life, his curiosity and quick understanding, and his admiration of what was well done used generally to bring out the best in other people. We miss him, and we shall go on missing him.

Because he was most widely known as a writer, let us think of that aspect of him first. Although his books made him world-famous, he was modest about them to the end. He took a proper pride in his inventiveness and skill, yet never pretended that his books were more than popular entertainments. After his faithful secretary, I happened to be the person who always had the privilege of being the first to read them. He was pleased when one praised him and always good-humoured when one proposed corrections or teased him: he had a way of thanking one, even for small services, which added to the pleasure of being able to help him.

His head was never turned by his enormous popular success. But popular success often rankles with the unsuccessful, and in the natural course of things he was exposed to envy: this was sometimes to be seen in print, but I never heard him take any notice of it. Of course not everybody could be expected to like his books. “They`re not my cup of tea,” one has heard people say, to which the obvious answer is that they are not cups of tea at all – they are something much more stimulating. It was a little distasteful when some persons who had read Ian`s books with enjoyment proceeded to speak too patronizingly of them or to run them down. Perhaps it is a residual puritanism that makes some people feel guilty when they have enjoyed anything: then, instead of blaming themselves for ingratitude, they find fault with the source of their pleasures. Let those who take too high a moral tone about the dream world of James Bond take note of the cheerful reactions of film audiences to his adventures, and I think they will find the atmosphere anything but corrupt.

Isn`t it possible that Bond and his adventures became world-famous, not only because of their excitingly realistic detail, but because they constitute a thoroughly romantic myth, a series of vivid fairy-tales, which seems to fulfil a persistent need? Isn`t it perhaps the simple, age-old need to escape from dullness by identifying oneself with a dragon-slaying and maiden-rescuing hero, who wins battle after battle against devilish forces of destruction, and yet continues indestructible himself?

What a feat to have re-created, in a new idiom, a myth of such universal appeal! And unprecedented in its way. Something near 20 million copies of Ian`s books have up to now been sold, and they have been translated so far into 18 languages, including Catalan and Turkish. They are read in Iceland and Thailand, in Japan and Brazil, and widely in America and Western Europe. They were appreciated by the late President Kennedy; they don`t go quite unnoticed in the curtained-off countries; in some places admirers have formed James Bond clubs; and vast new publics respond to James Bond films.

Although Ian`s health had been troubling him, he managed to complete an exciting new book that shows no least sign of a falling off. And we shan`t have to wait long for the publication of an entertaining and sympathetic appreciation of his work by a famous younger writer, Kingsley Amis. Also, Ian had completed three engaging books for the young. These show a happy, playful side of his character quite unfamiliar to the public. In the public eye, he was quite simply a pre-eminent writer of thrillers, Bond-like, with a supposedly sensational naval background; but the public eye is myopic, and can only take in one thing at a time. I have heard it said that there were several different Ians, and that he kept different parts of his life quite separate. If this is true, it is one more proof that the popular image of him is far too crude and flat.

Only since his death has it begun to be more generally understood that he had done well in several different careers, and that he was a character of some complexity. But those who were at school with him, or who used to work with him in the City, or in Reuters, or in the Admiralty, or in the newspaper world, or who had watched him creating his original and important library, or who saw him enjoying life in Jamaica, or who at any time travelled or played cards or golf with him, can confirm that he was a man who touched life at many points. And of how many men can one say, as one can of him, not only that he had much to give but gave all he had got? One is reminded of James Bond`s saying: “I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

Ian`s energy must have been already apparent at Eton. I think it is not generally known what an athlete he was as a boy. At Eton he was twice Victor Ludorum, but even before he was sixteen he had won, I believe, every single athletic event except the high jump, and this caused him to be featured in the newsreels of those distant days. His bodily feats didn`t prevent him using his head. For instance, he pounced appreciatively at that time upon the first book of a then unknown writer – a book which in its season was probably an outstanding worst-seller, but which has turned out to have a lasting influence. This was nothing like a half-baked schoolboy of the flannelled-fool variety but already a young man with a mind searching for facts, pressing forward to discover what the world was like, and already using his valuable gift, so evident in his later career, of recognizing, and therefore encouraging, other men`s abilities.

His later education and experience were pretty varied – Sandhurst, Munich, Moscow, the City – and then, from 1939, seven years of his life were absorbed by his work in the Naval Intelligence Division. Just before the War, Admiral Godfrey, the Director of Naval Intelligence, who had long shown a more elastic understanding of the world and of his own profession than was likely to be discernible in more conventional sailors, recruited Ian from the City. This was on the recommendation of no lesser persons than Sir Edward Peacock and Sir Montague Norman, the Governor of the Bank of England.

It wasn`t only his quick and resourceful brain that Ian brought to the service of his country, but administrative ability. He was an unfailing source of brilliant and constructive ideas, and he had the faculty of knowing how to apply them in a practical way. Also, in a service traditionally silent, and sometimes tongue-tied, he was notably articulate both in conversation and on paper; and, like most capable officers, he felt that there were times when the risk of giving offence was nothing compared with the importance of being, if necessary, blunt. He was never ready to defer to pomposity, incompetence and red tape. As right-hand man to the Director of Naval Intelligence, Ian was inevitably tied down to the Admiralty, but he did make a number of necessary sorties, with or without his chief. No doubt it was his anxiety to take his own share in active service (though his own kind of service could hardly be called inactive) that caused Admiral Godfrey to send him to sea as an observer during the assault on Dieppe, with strict instructions to take care that he didn`t get lost in France.

I wish to emphasize, because it may not be fully understood even among many who knew him, or thought they knew him, that long before he began to write his first book, Ian was one of those whose services to his country, during those menacing years, made it possible for us to survive and to be here together indulging in reminiscence today. That may seem to you too obvious a remark, a kind of memorial cliche, but it isn`t. When I was lately talking over with Admiral Godfrey the nature of Ian`s wartime services, he summed it all up in a most memorable phrase, better I think than any laurel wreath or shining medal. “Ian”, he said, “was a war-winner.”

It was Admiral Godfrey who introduced him to the delights of under-water swimming, when it was much less familiar than it is now. It seemed an activity exactly made for him. It was athletic, it was not without its hazards, and it offered the discovery of a hidden world of fascinating mysteries. Discovery, I think, is a key-word: Ian was a great finder-out. And this predominant trait in his character helped to fit him for his valued association, after the War, with the Sunday Times, as its foreign manager. His ability and enterprise as a journalist can be seen in what may almost be called his instant travel-book, Thrilling Cities. That inquiring mind of his and that retentive memory would often surprise one. He was just as liable to reveal a knowledge of tropical birds or rare seashells, as of first editions or motor engines or the night life of Hamburg. What never surprised one, because one knew them to be constant, were his truthfulness and directness, his loyalties, and that restless, high-spirited independence which must sometimes have made him feel like a surf-rider alone with the speed of a tremendous wave.

Don`t let us indulge in vain regrets that he didn`t live longer, but let us be glad that he lived so intensely. Even that strong constitution began to feel the strain, and the last months of his life were anything but easy for him, as the prospect of a return to his usual courses, and then even the prospect of recovery, dwindled away. He was obviously quite unused and unadaptable to physical handicaps and restrictions, and he seemed quite incapable of learning to slow down or of giving in: he fought for life like a wounded tiger. In that fight the odds against him were too great, but he was sustained by his wife`s devotion and by her patience with his perfectly understandable impatience about his condition. In health and in sickness she gave his life a special significance, and nothing in it was more important than his feelings for her and for his son Caspar, to whose future we hopefully look forward.

I can`t step down from this place, and you wouldn`t wish me to, without reminding his widow and their son, and his other near and dear relations and friends, not all of whom are able to be here today, that our sympathy with them is unanimous. Remembering Ian, we share their bereavement; and when we think of him, with what his wartime associate Robert Harling has well described as his “sad, bony, fateful face”, let us remember him as he was on top of the world, with his foot on the accelerator, laughing at absurdities, enjoying discoveries, absorbed in his many interests and plans, fascinated and amused by places and people and facts and fantasies, an entertainer of millions, and for us a friend never to be forgotten.





Ian Fleming Remembered

IAN FLEMING made my acquaintance before I made his. It happened nearly forty years ago, when he was a boy at school. “I have a natural love of action,” he wrote many years later, and at Eton this was already plain: he as an athlete of exceptional power, and was twice Victor Ludorum. In fact before he was sixteen he had won every single athletic event except the high jump. This made news of more than Etonian interest and caused him to be featured in the newsreels of those pre-television days. But he was no small-brained muscle-boy; all through his life his physical energy ran, or jumped, neck and neck with intellectual curiosity. He evidently wanted to know all about life and a good deal about literature, and especially about its impact on life. It so happened that while Fleming was still at school my first novel made its appearance; he got hold of it, read it, and was excited by it. He had almost certainly never heard of me before, and I can`t remember what put him on to the book. He might have been guided by his sharp flair, like that of a mine-detector, for a new threat to dullness and complacency. Or possibly the use by reviewers of words like “volcanic” had aroused his interest. (There is evidence that the tremors set up by this book have continued in Africa until now, and it is at present being reprinted.) The thought occurs to me for the first time that Fleming may just conceivably have been a little influenced by Turbott Wolfe. It cannot be called a thriller, but many people found it disturbing. They were meant to. It recognised and asserted that life includes the head-on collision and struggle of violent forces.

I first met Fleming some years later, when I had returned to live in London. He asked me to a party in Chelsea given by his handsome mother. He was youthfully handsome himself, wearing a well-cut dark blue suit and with very good manners, easy, cheerful and welcoming. After Eton he had been at Sandhurst and in Munich, and was now in Reuters, which sent him at various times to Berlin and Moscow. He seemed to me to have good luck on his side – youth, health, strength, money, general eligibility, a social status taken for granted, work that interested him, and a consciousness of his powers. At that first encounter he struck me as no mere conventional young English man-of-the-world of his generation; he showed more character, a much quicker brain, and a promise of something dashing or daring. Like a mettlesome young horse, he seemed to show the whites of his eyes and to smell some battle from afar.

If I had been anything like an ambitious young man-of-the-world myself, or if I had been enjoying life less, I can imagine that I might have thought how pleasant it would be to be him. In fact such a thought could hardly have occurred to me, because our ways of life were quite different. Some of his keen interests – fast cars, golf, gambling – were as immeasurably far from mine as some of mine from his. But his liveliness and curiosity were congenial to me, and we were responsive to each other`s jokes, anecdotes, and opinions.

DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR our paths began to converge. We were in the same service and for some of the time under the same roof. Myself embattled as that marginal anomaly, a civilian officer on the Naval Staff, I was an inconspicuous but diligent auxiliary o the Naval Intelligence Division, in which Fleming`s role was important. His responsibilities at the Admiralty gave him scope for some of his best abilities and he enjoyed exercising them. They were most efficiently applied to defeating the enemy; and Admiral Godfrey, at that time Director of Naval Intelligence, looks back upon him as a “war winner.”

Fleming`s private self – or selves, because he was not a man of a single interest or a single aspect – seemed to some to be hidden, or withdrawn. There were persons near him during the War who felt that they never really knew him except as an active functionary, polite and often cheerful with those who seemed to him properly tuned up, and capable of being abrupt with others. I suppose his inmost self to have been strongly fortified, and I should guess that some who were much attracted by him, and believe themselves attractive to him, may have found to their disappointment or even sorrow that any right of way through the fortifications, or tenancy within, was denied to them. He was perhaps too self-possessed a man to tolerate possessiveness aimed at him by others. In those strenuous wartime days he did not give, or give so clearly, the sense he occasionally conveyed of being alone when not alone. His wartime associate Robert Harling has written of Fleming`s “sad, bony, fateful face.” There were moments, as he grew older, when with its heavy eyelids and mixed look of determination and abstraction, it looked like a sculptured mask of melancholy.

I have heard it said of him that he kept his life in separate compartments. So he did, but surely that is quite usual for persons with many different activities and interests, who touch life at various levels that do not overlap and may have nothing in common with one another.

Once during the War, when some of its worst phases were past, we were feeding alone together and found time to speak of what we intended to do when it was over. With a diffidence that came surprisingly from so buoyant a man, he said he had a wish to write a thriller. He may not have used exactly that word, but made it quite plain that he had in mind some exciting story of espionage and sudden death. I at once made it equally plain how strongly I believed in his ability to write such a book, and in its probable originality. “But,” I said, “it`s no good writing just one. With that sort of book, you must become regular in your habits. You must hit the nail again and again with the same hammer until it`s driven into the thick head of your potential public.” He gave me a long and thoughtful look.

It as not until he was at his Jamaican house at the beginning of 1951 that he sat down to write Casino Royale. I knew nothing about it.

“When I got back to London,” he wrote some years later, “I did nothing with the manuscript. I was too ashamed of it. No publisher would want it, and, if one did, I would not have the face to see it in print.” He went on to explain how one day he had been lunching with me, and had asked me “how you got cigarette smoke out of a woman once you`ve got it in.”

Always, I hope, alert to the caprices of the human race, and generally expectant that they are likely to be grotesque, I must have speculated rapidly about this intimate-sounding injection. He went on to explain that one couldn`t use a world like “exhales,” and “puffs it out,” he thought, sounded silly. And then – “William looked at me sharply: “You`ve written a book.””

Of course I asked to see it. He felt that I would “tell the horrible truth about the book without condemning me or being scornful.”

I read, I applauded, he conquered.

THE BEST AND MOST entertaining analysis of his thrillers ever likely to be written is to be found in Kingsley Amis` forthcoming book. My own summary view of them is that they are brilliant, romantic fairy-tales in which a dragon-slaying maiden-rescuing hero wins battle after battle against devilish forces of destruction, and yet is indestructible himself: an ancient kind of myth skilfully re-created in a modern idiom. They are, like life, sexy and violent, but I have never thought them corrupting. Compared with some of the nasty stuff that gets into print, they have a sort of boyish innocence.

In the popular imagination Fleming is confused with or thought to have been identical with James Bond. There may be something Flemingish about Bond, but I didn`t see much of Bond in Fleming, who was more perturbable. Let us admit, as Fleming himself did, that Bond and his adventures are something of an adolescent fantasy. Is there anything wrong in that? Not at the box office. At the time of his death some 20 millions copies of his books had been sold and they had been translated by then into eighteen languages. The films have already captured vast audiences.

Fleming`s attitude to his own books was perfectly straightforward. He was pleased that they did so well (who, in his place, wouldn`t have been?), took a proper pride in his skill in composing them, and was delighted that they pleased readers worth pleasing – President Kennedy, for instance. But there was never any sign that he pretended to himself or to anybody else that the literary value of what he wrote was underestimated. It did please him to pretend that I was a sort of only begetter of his books, which was nonsense. Or was it just an indication of his characteristic capacity for gratitude? As somebody who knew him well reminded me lately, “Ian always said thank you.” Some of the inscriptions in the copies of his books he gave me repeated the unearned but recurrent compliment – for example, in my copy of Goldfinger, “To William, who started these balls rolling.”

In fact I used to be the first person to whom his books were shown, partly for professional reasons. When I found things to praise, he seemed pleased; when I suggested emendations, he was attentive – sometimes too attentive. I once said to him, just after reading a new James Bond typescript, that although the persons in it often made exclamatory remarks, these were never followed by a point of exclamation. I said this half-teasingly, but he took it so seriously that when the book came out, the New York Times took him to task for peppering his pages, like a schoolgirl, with exclamation marks.

I thought it admirable and dignified in him that he appeared to take no notice whatever of the envy he naturally provoked. This envy showed itself sometimes in spiteful or patronising reviews or gossip. Ungenerous natures, without a tenth of his vitality, brains, or experience, would sometimes try and mask their envy by disapproval or by affecting a high moral tone about his books, calling them sadistic (understandably) or “snobbish” – by which I suppose they meant status-conscious or something. To some people, naturally, the books could not and cannot appeal. “Not my cup of tea,” I have heard some say: the answer to that is that the Bond book are not cups of tea at all, but something more stimulating. In any case, what on earth would be the character of a book that was everybody`s cup of anything? Though to some the books are distasteful, I have never heard them called boring.

ONE COULD HARDLY CALL Fleming a bookish man, which suggests somehow an untidy, bespectacled, bible-backed, pedantic half-recluse. But he had an active interest in book-collecting and had built up a remarkable library, concerned with the impact of literature, of new ideas in literature upon life. An assiduous reader of The Times Literary Supplement, he had a sharp eye and good memory for critical or bibliographical details.

If a biography of him is ever written, competently written, he will be seen as a man who was successful in several different spheres of action, and who made full use of his lease of life. When his health was no longer good, it was impossible to imagine him settling down to the existence of a prudent invalid obsessed with trying to make it last as long as possible. I think he knew he had, as they say, “had it.”

In his will he generously left me and two or three other friends some money to be spent within a year on some “extravagance.” I would rather he had survived me. No extravagance by us can disguise though it may commemorate his absence. Whatever the money is spent on I shall think of him looking over my shoulder, curious to see how it is being used, a little ironic and (I hope) pleased.

Wililam Plomer

[The article first appeared in the January 1965 Encounter]


William (Charles Franklyn) Plomer (whose surname rhymes with “rumour”), a respected poet and novelist, was born December 10th, 1903 in Pietersberg, South Africa, to English parents. Spending most of his life in England, he didn`t consider himself South African. “I once had a cat [that] had kittens in the oven, but no one mistook them for biscuits.”

Educated mostly in England, Plomer and his family moved back to South Africa in 1914, where he spent three miserable years at a British boarding school. Plomer`s father – a ne`er-do-well who domineered his family and drifted from one job to the next, eventually becoming a minor civil servant – had wanted to avoid service in WWI. Plomer began writing poetry in 1920, and that same year, he left school and his father forced him into sheep farming. Plomer subsequently admitted that he wasn`t much good at it, however, life on the farm and the South African racial strife he witnessed first-hand provided much background material and characters for his first novel, Turbott Wolfe, which he began when 19. Plomer also drew – this is a neglected aspect of his life – and for many years wasn`t sure whether he would paint or write.

After Plomer`s father suffered a nervous breakdown and was retired from the civil service, the two took over a run-down native trading station in a desolate Zulu reserve. Unlike some of their white neighbours, father and son developed a rapport with the Zulus but were disliked by the other whites, also for having a higher standard of living.

Plomer began contributing poems to the Zulu paper Ilanga lase Natal in 1924 under the pseudonym “PQR”, and took details of his life in the trading station and those around him, as he did with life on the sheep farm, for his novel Turbott Wolfe, about a white painter who runs a store and encourages miscegenation (“race mixing”, which at this stage wasn`t outlawed).

Only 21, he submitted the manuscript to Leonard and Virginia Woolf`s Hogarth Press. One front-page headline review read “A NASTY BOOK ON A NASTY SUBJECT”. Cyril Connolly (noted author, Ian Fleming friend and author of the Bond story Bond Strikes Camp) considered it one of the “key books” of modern literature. Literary critic Martin Seymour-Smith subsequently wrote that Plomer “was the first modern South African writer of English fiction to try to see Africans as they actually are. His first novel […] bears obvious signs of its author`s youth; but it remains a passionate demonstration that a human way for South Africa would be through miscegenation.” By the 1960`s, the South African library system supposedly had to keep its copy under lock and key.

In June 1925 he met the young poet Roy Campbell, editor of the new magazine Voorslag (“Whiplash”) who hired Plomer on as sub-editor. Plomer in turn arranged for South African writer Laurens van der Post to join the magazine. All three opposed anti-black sentiments and the magazine was controversial from the start. Campbell bumped heads with the magazine`s backers before the first issue appeared in June 1926, and resigned by the third issue (effectively taking Plomer with him).

Much of what Plomer now wrote attacked whites and praised blacks: “such a direct onslaught on this vast mass of crawling filthiness called South Africa… It is a lovely country […] and I know it and love it, and I know the nobility of the natives and their unsurpassable human qualities, but the whites are unspeakable… a man doesn`t go against his countrymen without reason.”

At about this same time a Japanese ship captain (Mori) arranged for Van der Post and Plomer to visit Japan. Though Van der Post returned to South Africa, Plomer stayed on for three years, which gave him much material for his wonderful second novel Sado. Plomer taught at a “not especially exalted teachers` training college” since “Native speakers of English were in short supply in Tokyo.” He suffered financial and housing difficulties, cold weather, ill health, and was unable to properly learn the language except for understanding the most rudimentary spoken phrases. His prospects however soon improved and he got a better paying job teaching at a Japanese high-school, and took a small village house with a male Imperial University student, the first of two students he was to live with in Japan. Plomer was open to his students, even inviting them to visit him at home. Friends remarked on the austerity of his surroundings – he owned few material possessions, a trait he kept for the rest of his life. One night while visiting Hiroshima, he saw a “curious domed cloud of smoke floating over the city” at a fireworks display, which he subsequently used for his brilliant story Thy Neighbour`s Creed (published in his 1949 collection Four Countries) about an elderly Japanese man who has premonitions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (Plomer, unlike many others, was quite sympathetic to the Japanese both during and after WWII.)

However, Plomer was too much the outsider (which was true no matter where he went most of his life), and didn`t feel at home in Japan. He left before his ties with the country and current mate got any stronger, and also because he feared his life might be in danger; his short story collection Paper Houses, in which he mercilessly attacked Japanese life and nationalism (in the story Mother Kamchatka) was about to be published. (Plomer was later offered the chair of English literature at Imperial University in Tokyo, which would have paid very well, but declined, determined not to return to Japan.) Back in England, he lived with his parents – his father still just as difficult – and worked on his Japanese novel Sado. Through Virginia Woolf, Plomer met and was embraced by the Bloomsbury set and Bohemian literary London, including Lytton Strachey, TS Eliot, and many others, some of whom got him book reviewing assignments with prestigious journals. He also met Somerset Maugham, Herbert Read, and, in 1931, John Lehmann who then had begun working at the Hogarth Press. During the mid 1930`s, Plomer became a regular contributor to publications where his friends worked.

Much is made elsewhere about the fan letter Ian Fleming sent Plomer (then still in Japan) about Turbott Wolfe – arguably a crucial moment in Fleming`s life and James Bond`s future. At approximately the same time, Anthony Butts, a dilettante painter and playwright also wrote praising Turbott Wolfe; the two men were to grow close. In 1929, after Plomer had returned to England, EM Forster (A Passage To India) wrote praising Plomer`s short story Ula Masondo. The two remained friends until Forster`s death in 1970. Forster even asked Plomer to be his official biographer, though nothing came of it. In 1955, when reviewing A Shot In The Park, Forster wrote that Plomer is “my favourite living contemporary poet… [his work is] full of colour, feeling, distinction, character-drawing, epigram, and mischievousness.” Elizabeth Bowen, whom he also subsequently met, also wrote at the end of 1933 complimenting him on his novel The Invaders.

Unhappy living with his parents (which he never regarded as a “home”), he moved to London in September 1929. His books made him little money, so occasional reviews, and a regular article he wrote for the Cape Times (thanks to Van der Post`s intervention) gave him enough money to move into a large, cheerful mid-Victorian house in Bayswater, run by a pretty young woman, whom Plomer liked. Her husband, though, was violent and terrified her. Early one Sunday morning, the man, wrongly figuring that she and Plomer were romantically involved, slashed his wife to death with a razor in front of their 6 year old daughter. He then went looking for Plomer, who was away that weekend. When Plomer got back he had to clean the place up, including picking scraps of flesh from the carpet. At his birthdary party, which he held in the murder-house several days later, he told Virginia Woolf that while murders were not his line as a novelist, he had been fascinated by crimes of violence from childhood. Plomer brooded on the matter for two years and based his subsequent novel The Case Is Altered very closely on the incident.

Plomer`s friendship with the hot-headed Roy Campbell drifted apart and finally ended for good in 1933 when Campbell`s wife kissed Plomer in the back seat of taxi. Campbell was more offended than Plomer. He however made new friends, including the young, still unknown poet Stephen Spender early in 1930, and through him, the poet WH Auden and the author Christopher Isherwood (whose novel Goodbye To Berlin became the film Cabaret). Plomer found these friendships useful in that he got reviewing work and outlets for articles and poems out of them. He now also published his poetry in important journals and magazines almost immediately after writing it.

By Plomer`s own admission, he led a rather lazy life during the 1930`s which he never made up for after. He wrote less, content to drift, living mostly on his earnings as a regular fiction reviewer for the Spectator, and any paying publication. By 1935, his income had dropped to 386 pounds, and that was mostly spent on young men. Troubled by not belonging anywhere, Plomer once wrote to Virginia Woolf saying, “I don`t suppose you know how separate I feel myself from all my contemporaries.”

Plomer and Anthony Butts, who had become close friends, also became travelling companions by the end of 1929 and travelled through Europe in 1930. They settled in Greece, where Plomer wrote stories and an unfinished novel Memoirs of an Emigrant. The trip was cut short when Butts, who was footing the trip, heard from his mother that she could send no more money because the family finances were shaky. Worse, Plomer heard that his mother had been operated on for cancer (both of Plomer`s parents were to die from cancer: his mother in October 1939, and his father in January 1955). Moreover Nicky, the blond sailor Plomer had been involved with grew bored, left him for another moneyed foreigner, taking Plomer`s savings, giving him a venereal disease. Some have said that Plomer never outgrew this traumatic experience. “If one is conscious of intense happiness, one is a fool to trust it.” He returned to England in November 1930, his mother sick, though recuperating and his father even more difficult and domineering. Unable to live with them, Plomer moved to Herefordshire, on the Welsh border, and wrote 170,000 words of his autobiographical novel, which dealt with his move from Africa to Japan and then on to Europe. Its hero, Plomer was later to say, “made the awful discovery that love, to come into being, may even need something more than the wonderful coincidence of the time and the place and loved one.” Unlike Turbott Wolfe, Plomer struggled long and hard with this novel, having already destroyed 50,000 words of it in August 1929. (Later, after he became Cape reader, Plomer wrote to fellow novelist Elizabeth Bowen, “of course it takes up nearly all my time, and as I still do a certain amount of reviewing I seldom have a moment. It`s annoying, as I feel a novel ripening.” Plomer wrote 25,000 words before destroying it – an extremely annoying habit of his that he did several times throughout his life.)

The Woolfs and their reader thought the novel episodic and Plomer reluctantly agreed to rewrite it and cut it in half. He believed that his difficulties resulted from his frustrated attempts to get to grips with what he called his “real nature”, and wrote to Van der Post, “I am trying to learn to conduct my life & work in accordance with my real nature, & although I am nearer to it than I was, I have still difficulties to surmount.”

His health deteriorating, and on a 10 pound advance, he moved into a sleazy bed-sitting-room in London. Van der Post found him one of many down-and-nearly-outs in England at that time; during a late long-night walk, Plomer talked of suicide. “It was the only time I really saw William completely vulnerable and exposed and finished and he didn`t care who knew it – there was no pose about it.” He believed the affair with Nicky was a turning-point in Plomer`s life – Plomer had put everything for the first time in his life into his love for Nicky. It`s been said that Plomer was always attracted what he considered his social inferiors, whether they be Zulus or his Japanese students, because it gave him control over the relationship. (It`s also been claimed that to many, the lower-classes “reeked” of sex.)

By May 1931, Plomer had salvaged the Japanese section from his long autobiographical novel and published it that autumn as Sado (They Never Come Back in the US); the remaining South African, Greek and English sections were either scrapped or used as short stories in his 1933 collection The Child Of Queen Victoria. Set in Japan, the novel is about an Englishman, loved by an exiled Englishwoman, who becomes involved with the title character – this particular aspect of the book was clearly modelled on Plomer`s own relationship with a Japanese student. The novel was generally well-received, though Virginia Woolf herself didn`t like it, finding it too episodic, and Spender thought the characters effete. Forster enjoyed it and it`s my personal favourite Plomer novel. Very subtle, and a lightning-paced read, the brilliant first half gives way to a confused, slightly inert, second half.

At Anthony Butts` invitation and urging, Plomer moved into Butts` spacious house in December 1931. Unlike Plomer, Anthony Butts was happy to live in chaos. Some had said of Butts, “his behaviour was eccentric, extravagant, and self-destructive.” He travelled, gambled, drank, and lavished money on friends. He and his mother – who had taken a lobster to a chemist to be chloroformed – once wealthy, were by now almost broke. Plomer would say (ironically, given Butts` death), “My God, Tony, you`ll end in the gutter if you aren`t careful,” but Butts would laugh. His disorder pulled Plomer`s life into disorder; gradually, under his influence, Plomer`s own life slipped once more into disorder.

Plomer spent the beginning of 1932 working quickly to write The Case Is Altered, the factual novel about his murdered landlady, which “brought together Britons of different classes and backgrounds, assembled them under a single roof”. Plomer`s publishers rightly saw the book as a potential bestseller, and were proven correct, though I consider it Plomer`s weakest novel, and somewhat padded. However, he earned 1051 pounds that year, nearly 900 pounds more than in 1931. His next poetry work, though, Fivefold Screen, published in April 1932, lost money. Plomer explained that poetry was “a handful of semi-precious stones, which came in for the admiration of others, but were not much in demand,” and almost completely stopped writing verse until after the war.

Plomer moved out of Butts` house in September 1932, and took up with Bernard Bayes, a Royal Guard, though this relationship subsequently proved unsatisfactory. Plomer considered getting married, but the woman in question turned him down – partly because she was involved with Van der Post. Though Plomer`s friendship with her remained intact, his friendship with Van der Post faltered; he even downplayed Van der Post in his own autobiography. It`s been said that “Another side-effect of this rejection was a harshness in some of his comments about women, and a growing dislike of them.” He was occasionally hostile and rude to them and his poetry in the late 30s and early 40s became more satirical, more grotesque, emphasizing the sleazier aspects of sexual transactions in London, and occasionally quite graphic about violence against women. Women disgusted him sexually, and during his voyage to Japan in 1926 was at his wits` end when the unwitting Captain Mori nearly took him to a brothel.

Frustrated with how the Hogarth Press promoted his books, Plomer jumped at the chance to join his friend Rupert Hart-Davis at Jonathan Cape. Hart-Davis liked Plomer`s writing and would become Plomer`s literary executor. Discussing The Child Of Queen Victoria, Cape`s reader, Edward Garnett wrote “Plomer is certainly about the most original and keenest mind of the younger generation.” Somerset Maugham wrote to Cape praising the book, “Plomer has brought it off wonderfully.” However only 87 copies had sold by October 1933.

Cape pushed Plomer for a novel, and the result, The Invaders, published in October 1934, about young adults and their experiences in London, is probably his easiest to read and, expectedly, his most superficial. Plomer found the book a struggle because he knew little about young women, though he based one of the male characters on Bernard Bayes, the Royal Guard with whom he`d lived. It seems to have been Plomer`s least well-received novel. Virginia Woolf felt that Plomer had lost his punch, which may be why she let him go to Cape; Christopher Isherwood initially disliked it and Peter Quennell criticized the work for its ambiguity, though EM Forster gave Plomer qualified support.

Even Plomer`s biographer Peter Alexander argues, “It may be that Plomer had succeeded a little too well in turning himself into an Englishman; in the pursuit of balance and moderation, he had lost his South African fire[.] The aspects of English life about which he felt strongly, such as the official attitude to homosexuality, his by now impenetrable mask prevented him from addressing openly. The result was increasing paralysis of his creative powers. Nor were the laws or even the conventions of the period to blame for his reticence; [other] writers had dealt explicitly with homosexuality, and Plomer`s publishers actually encouraged him to be more open about the matter in The Invaders[.]

From August 1933 to February 1935, Plomer struggled with a new novel, writing 25,000 words before ultimately scrapping it. In a rut, and on Hart-Davis`s suggestion, he jumped at the chance of writing a biography about Albanian warlord Ali Pasha. A painting of one of Pasha`s massacres of the Suliot women and children had drawn Plomer`s attention during Corfu visit, and the image had haunted him. Plomer enjoyed writing the book, which was well-received when it was published in March 1936. Plomer`s biographer Peter F Alexander writes that “the result was one of his most careful and readable books, a scholarly production that drew compliments from professional historians[.]” Historian AJP Taylor wrote “Mr Plomer`s name is sufficient guarantee for the force and brilliance of Ali`s biography. No one could have told better the barbaric story”.

In early 1937, Plomer and EM Forster did a BBC radio broadcast, which went over well; Plomer would be invited back to broadcast regularly on literary topics thereafter. These apperances and his book reviews were often his main source of income.

Also that year, Plomer became Jonathan Cape`s part-time (on Rupert Hart-Davis` suggestion) when their reader Edward Garnett died. Plomer never really got along with Cape – few people did – but he respected him. Plomer and Hart-Davis nicknamed Cape “the Giant Bore”, seemingly because of Cape`s monologue rolling. To Cape, a conversation, meant he talked, you listened. Plomer was also later to write that “Jonathan Cape`s name was not exactly a byword for spendthrift exuberance”.

Plomer waded through mostly ill-typed manuscripts, many of them unsolicited and devoid of merit, hoping to find that rare gem, which is how he discovered parish curate Francis Kilvert`s diaries (1870-1879). Plomer edited the original 22 volumes down to a three volume selection published from 1938 to 1944. Much to everybody`s surprise, the first volume was a smash success, perhaps as some have suggested because it was a contrast to Europe`s pre-war tensions.

As Cape reader, Plomer discovered John Fowles (The Collector, The Magus, The French Lieutenant`s Woman), Alan Paton (Cry The Beloved Country), Arthur Koestler (Darkness At Noon), Stevie Smith, Derek Walcott, poet laureate John Betjeman and Lolita author Vladimir Nabokov – both of whom Cape rejected – and Ian Fleming.

Those who read Plomer`s reports often marvelled at the care he took, though Malcolm Lowry wasn`t taken with Plomer`s reasons for rejecting Under The Volcano. Plomer objected when Lowry`s literary executors attempted to publish it, and the report was subsequently removed.

It was through Ian Fleming, Admiral Godfrey`s personal assistant, that Plomer joined Naval Intelligence in July 1940 during the war. Plomer prepared written reports of incoming intelligence, occasionally appending his own witty comments which weren`t always appreciated. (Fleming used his massive powers as Admiral Godfrey`s personal assistant to recruit many of his own friends into the NID, including Alan Ross, whom Fleming named the unfortunate station head in The Man With The Golden Gun after. Years later Plomer and Ross were brought together not only by London Magazine, which Ross edited, but also when Ross joined Plomer on the Cholmondeley award committee.)

During the war, a passing enemy airplane shot at and almost killed Plomer, which helped prompt him write his autobiography, Double Lives. The book sold well and EM Forster and Christopher Isherwood praised it. Plomer also worked on other projects; his friend Anthony Butts who had killed himself in May 1941 after struggling against terminal cancer, had left behind a manuscript consisting of anecdotes and stories about Butts` own family, which Plomer edited and revised (crediting himself as “William D`Arfey”). The subsequent book, Curious Relations, sold well when published in 1945.

In early 1943, Plomer was arrested for propositioning a sailor whom he thought obliging. (Homosexuality was then still illegal in Britain.) He was spared prosecution when Fleming intervened, claiming that Plomer was of national importance. After this close call, Plomer, who had always been private, often compartmentalizing his personal life (he often kept his various friends apart), became obsessively secret and destroyed many of his letters to friends such as the poets Steven Spender, John Lehmann, writer Christopher Isherwood and even some of his letters to EM Forster. After a bad depression and on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Plomer, eager to settle down and find a permanent partner, met Charles Erdmann, a London-born German immigrant, living off restaurant tips in a cellar. Plomer invited Erdmann to move into his home, figuring the relationship would only be temporary. It lasted until Plomer`s death – their last 21 years spent living quietly in Sussex.

After the war, he returned to Cape, disappointed that he would now only be junior reader. Thanks to Ian Fleming, Plomer had gotten an inside look at the war effort and by war`s end, had the foresight to realize that “far from relaxing into peace, Britain should be preparing for another extended war, with Russia this time.”

In December 1947, Fleming introduced himself to Plomer`s friend Edith Sitwell at a luncheon in London where her brother Osbert was awarded the Sunday Times prize for his writing. She treated Fleming coldly, later telling Plomer, “I thought at first, from his manner with her, that he was Lady Cunard`s social secretary, but realized afterwards that she would scarcely have employed him in that capacity.” To break the ice, Fleming had told Sitwell he knew Plomer and was very amused that Plomer had listed Sitwell`s Shadow Of Cain among his favourite books in an article in Horizon. Sitwell was enraged by his use of the word amused. Plomer promised to speak to Fleming about it, who in turn apologized. Sitwell subsequently invited Fleming to a June 1948 luncheon that Plomer, TS Elliot, Lehmann, and Maurice Bowra also attended. Fleming, horrified by the “array of talent” present, said, “Please let me sit in the shadow of William.”

Fleming considered Plomer his closest friend in the publishing world and on Plomer`s advice, Cape sent Fleming books that the latter might mention favourably. Plomer also believed that Fleming could write a first-rate thriller if he chose, and as is explained elsewhere, on May 12th 1952, during lunch, Fleming mentioned how difficult it was to describe a woman exhaling smoke. Plomer looked at him sharply: “You`ve written a novel.” A rather sheepish Fleming admitted that he had, and after a postcard reminding Fleming of his own promise, he reluctantly let Plomer read Casino Royale. Plomer found the manuscript exciting, predicting that it would have enormous sales, and used his tremendous influence at Cape as senior part-time reader to assure publication (against Jonathan Cape`s and several Cape directors` own objections). Years later, Plomer wrote:

“Fleming`s books appealed directly and almost universally to a prevalent mood of their time. There had generally been hardly more than one such author in a generation, and such an author is what a publisher needs – and needs, incidentally, if he is to allow himself to publish, for pleasure, prestige, or prospects, books on which he won`t make or may lose money.”

Plomer`s biographer Peter F Alexander writes, “Only Plomer made nothing from the venture in which he had played such a part, although he continued to read each of Fleming`s [manuscripts before publication] and suggest detailed improvements. Plomer`s only financial reward was the sum of 500 pounds which Fleming left him when he died in 1964, stipulating that Plomer was “to commit some extravagance” with it.”

Of Fleming`s next novel Live And Let Die, Plomer wrote, “The new book held this reader like a limpet mine & the denouement was shattering… If I`m any judge, this is just the stuff – sexy, violent, ingenious, & full of well-collected detail of all kinds.” Plomer however disliked the title to Fleming`s next Bond novel, suggesting that Hell Is Here would be better than Moonraker. He also said of that same book that Fleming had “a tendency as the climax approaches to increase the strain on the reader`s credulity.” Fleming dedicated his 1959 Bond novel Goldfinger “To my gentle Reader, William Plomer”. Plomer (unsuccessfully) cautioned Fleming against allowing a James Bond newspaper comic strip fearing a “falling off” of standards. Fleming complained to Plomer about Thunderball, a “giant Bond”, he had “got thoroughly bored with after a bit”, been unable to reread and which required “drastic rewriting.” He told Plomer that he had almost killed Bond off in The Spy Who Loved Me and when that particular novel was savaged in the press, Plomer took it upon himself to comfort Fleming`s wife Ann. Fleming wrote thanking him, adding that he`d had “an uncomfortable two or three weeks having to digest a second breakfast every morning of these hommany grits – well deserved though they may be.” Though usually supportive, Plomer criticized Fleming`s introduction to All Night At Mr Stanyhurst`s. “Ian seems to be saying, `You see, although I write thrillers, I read serious literary criticism.` Of course he does; but to say so in this way and place might irritate readers – and reviewers.” As mentioned elsewhere, Plomer once told Fleming that he ought to use more exclamation marks. Fleming blindly followed his friend`s advice. The result was the hysterically over-exclamated On Her Majesty`s Secret Service. “I put in exclamation marks like pepper. And my publishers stupidly left them in. Then I get a fierce review from The New York Times saying not only is Ian Fleming a very inferior writer but he has the girlish trick of putting in exclamation marks all over the place.” Fleming later wrote to Plomer, “I am feeling tremendously stuck in an over mink-lined rut and I need to be booted off across the world in old style.” When Fleming left for Tokyo to research You Only Live Twice, Plomer gave him several books about Japan. Plomer attended the From Russia With Love film premiere, and Fleming, “looking sadly lost on the fringes”, amused himself with Plomer`s quiet humour, admitting, “I can`t bear these Fests. I get claustrophobia and a face that aches with insincere smiles.” In fact, it`s been said that Plomer seemed to have been the only person in whose company Fleming could relax. Fleming complained to Plomer that he was “terribly stuck with James Bond. What was easy at 40 is very difficult at 50. I used to belive – sufficiently – in Bonds & Blonds & Bombs. Now the keys creak as I type & I fear the zest may have gone. Part of the trouble is having a wife and child. They knock the ruthlessness out of one. I shall definitely kill off Bond with my next book – better a poor bang than a rich whimper!” Plomer assured him that what proved to be Fleming`s last novel, The Man With The Golden Gun, was up to snuff. Fleming added, “This is, alas, the last Bond and, again alas, I mean it, for I really have run out of both puff and zest.” When Kingsley Amis later suggested that Fleming had made short-shrift of the homosexual sub-plot, Plomer replied, “I can`t think that Ian had any qualms about `prudence` or that he ever had any intention of developing a homosexual pursuit of Bond by Scaramanga.”

Plomer had said that it was unimaginable Fleming dying first and would have much preferred that it had been the other way. Writing to Michael Howard in July 1964, Plomer remarked, “I see no reason to be hopeful about his physical condition, but he is up and to some extent about and doesn`t expect to be at the Dudley [hotel] for more than a few days.”

Fleming would later say that Plomer was one of his three favourite living novelists. One day a serious study will have to be done showing Fleming`s literary debt to Plomer:

Perhaps Fernandez` indifference could be accounted for by the fact that when a man is suspicious he sometimes tends to think so much of remoter possibilities that he overlooks what is right under his nose – like a golfer who searches anxiously for a lost ball in the rough when it is all the time lying quietly on the fairway – or it may have been simply that Carol, harum-scarum as he was, had a very frank and disarming manner with Fernandez; a respectful, confidential manner which he had from the first maintained towards one who was nominally his master. [The Case Is Altered, Chapter 7.]

Or, in a letter to his parents in January 1931, Plomer wrote:

“People of a complex nervous organization absolutely need variety. One must not allow money troubles or indifferent health to force one into a rut. One has to make an effort, however hard, and have even a small change of diet, society & scene. Nothing is so tonic as being forced to grapple – if only for a few hours – with new surroundings.”

Plomer`s last novel, Museum Pieces – generally accepted as his mature masterwork – was published in 1952; he wrote comparatively little afterwards. Loosely based on the life of his friend, the painter Anthony Butts, whose stories, Curious Relations, Plomer had polished (crediting himself as “William D`Arfey”), it`s about a widow and her middle-aged son who outlive the Edwardian period and fail to find their niche in life – the son even resorts to fashion designing, but to little good. Their riches dwindle away; they die. British literary scholar Martin Seymour-Smith wrote, “After three relatively minor books, Plomer produced his best novel […], a study of a man who cannot find a place for himself in the modern world. [It] is a sad novel, about a failure; but it affirms and even comes near to defining certain elusive personal values of the past that might be forgotten.”

During the fifties and sixties, Plomer began a “new career” as composer Benjamin Britten`s lyricist. After two aborted attempts to write a children`s opera, the pair collaborated on the Coronation Opera Gloriana (for Queen Elizabeth II`s coronation). The opera, though a financial success, was dismissed at the time, which brought about Plomer`s angry denunciation, Let`s Crab An Opera published in the October 1963 London Magazine, later republished in his posthumous collection Electric Delights. The pair collaborated on three other operas (“Parables For Church Performances”), and tried composing a children`s opera several times; one would have been about spacemen and spaceships.

In 1958, Plomer was lauded as Poet of the Year at the Stratford Festival of Poetry. He received many invitations and sat on committees awarding literary prizes including the Arts Council, and was even Cholmondeley Award chairman. He won awards including the Queen`s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1963 and during the early 60`s was elected President of the Kilvert Society. He was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1968.

When asked why he`d not written more, Plomer wrote, “Literature has its battery hens, I was a wilder fowl.” Some believe that Plomer`s inability to confront his own homosexuality (which he was defensive and insecure about) in print was one of the reasons he wrote comparatively little. His biographer Peter F Alexander writes, “His uncertainty about his identity showed in such outward signs as his insistence on the importance of wearing a social mask, his careful handwriting, which he intended as a mask of his character, and even his alteration of the pronunciations of his surname: all these divisions he was now trying to work out in [Sado].” Plomer also found surrogates; his cousin Richard Rumbold, a schizophrenic homosexual, had killed himself in 1961 and Plomer edited Rumbold`s diary.

Plomer`s posthumous 1978 collection Electric Delights – edited by his executor, the late Rupert Hart-Davis – features a wickedly delicious article entitled On Not Answering The Telephone, first published in, of all places, The Listener, explaining why he didn`t own a telephone. This subsequently proved fatal. Plomer had written, “Besides, you will say, isn`t it important to have a telephone in case of sudden emergency – illness, accident, or fire? Of course you are right, but here in a thickly populated country like England one is seldom far from a telephone in case of dreadful necessity.” Having previously been warned to take it easy, he suffered several coronary thromboses in September 1973. On September 20th, (and not the 21st as is sometimes claimed), Plomer suffered yet another heart attack and, having no phone, his companion had to travel to the nearest phonebox which, having been vandalized, was out of service. A further thirty minute delay ensued, in part because their own doctor was on vacation, and the substitute doctor, who wasn`t pleased at being woken at 4am, refused to come, claiming he wasn`t on-duty. He did however agree to call an on-duty doctor who lived 5 km away. When that doctor arrived, Plomer had already lapsed into unconsciousness and died several minutes later in Erdmann`s arms.

Plomer`s talent was a light and delicate one, his writing sometimes had a childlike innocence to it, often remarkable for his mischievous wit. During WWII, he described “a near miss” as “une demi-vierge”, which is French for “half-marriage”. In his 1952 novel Museum Pieces, a character describes chattering Indians as “much Urdu about nothing.”

From his poem Mews Flat Mona (Collected Poems, 1960):

On a sofa upholstered in panther skin

Mona did researches in original sin.

Martin Seymour-Smith wrote, “There is no one like him in the world in [comic extravaganza]; as a light poet he is infinitely preferable to John Betjeman[.] [H]is choice of words is subtler, funnier, and altogether sharper. In his other vein Plomer is fastidious, reticent, elegant and the author of some memorable and moving lines.”

Plomer thought more of himself as a poet – which is a loss for those of us who wished he`d written more novels. I have little use for poetry and consider it linguistic self-abuse – but there are some gems:


Green evening light shines in his face

As he paces his balcony to and fro.

All cognisance of time and space

Are lost in the modulationary flow

Of his perpetual meanderings to and fro.

A green trout swimming in a tank

Glassy-green, inclining his fins ribbed and slow,

A green weed waving on a bank

In a desultory wind, to and fro,

Have the same subtle dignity

As this man who walks a balcony, to and fro,

Lost to fear and affection and malignity

In a promenade mechanically slow.

His being is absorbed in a green electric glow

As he paces back and forward, to and fro.

The Boer War from Collected Poems (1960)

They took the hill (Whose hill? What for?)

But what a climb they left to do!

Out of that bungled, unwise war

An alp of unforgiveness grew.

Wish You Weren`t Here from Electric Delights:

Having repulsive time,

glad you aren`t here.

Rushing from place to place,

now in a sterile room

In another airport hotel

(Or is it the one before last?),

unable to read tonight,

unwilling to listen to news

of cruelty and lies,

glad you aren`t here.

Plomer was also a famous and voluminous letter writer and a much sought after dinner-guest. He was famous for his amusing stories and his sharp wit; when a female apologized for her retarded brother`s behaviour, Plomer said, “Oh please don`t apologize. It was so nice to meet a professional idiot after knowing so many amateurs.” He collected Victorian and Edwardian postcards and loved sending them to friends, especially ones that the Victorians would have deemed “improper”. Keenly interested in graphology, Plomer`s own handwriting was immaculate. Virginia Woolf noted that he had “wild eyes” which she took to be a true index of what went on inside.

A writer acquaintance, James Stern, wrote, “With his clipped moustache, dark hair brushed straight back, the thick-lensed horn-rimmed spectacles, the considerate, enquiring, courteous manner, he struck me as a cross between a doctor and an army chaplain with a sense, a surprising sense, of humour… I don`t think I have known any writer inspire affection so quickly. It was not simply charm. When William was with you he gave you, like a good doctor, all of himself. And so, unlike most good talkers, he could listen. Indeed he was such a good listener (how rare a gift!) that he seemed to know what one was thinking, before one spoke. Which can be disconcerting.” [London Magazine, October/November 1973, p 9-10]

The Works of William Plomer:


Turbott Wolfe (1925/1926)

Sado (1931, published in US as “They Never Come Back”, 1932)

The Case Is Altered (1932)

The Invaders (1934)

Museum Pieces (1952)

Short stories:

I Speak Of Africa (1927)

Paper Houses (1929, republished in 1943 with an introduction by Plomer)

The Child Of Queen Victoria And Other Stories (1933)

Curious Relations (1945; as “William D`Arfey”; co-written by Anthony Butts)

Four Countries (1949)


Electric Delights (collection of essays, poems, stories and travel sketches; edited and introduced by Rupert Hart-Davis) (1978)


Notes For Poems (1927)

The Family Tree (1929)

The Fivefold Screen (1932)

Visiting The Caves (1936)

Selected Poems (1940)

In A Bombed House, 1941: Elegy In Memory Of Anthony Butts (1942)

The Dorking Thigh And Other Satires (1945)

A Shot In The Park (1955; published in the US as “Borderline Ballads”)

A Choice Of Ballads (1960)

Collected Poems (1960)

Conversations With My Younger Self (1963)

Taste And Remember (1966)

The Planes Of Bedford Square (1971)

Celebrations (1972)

Collected Poems (1973)

Poetry For, , Children:

The Butterfly Ball And The Grasshopper Feast (1973; illustrated by Alan Aldridge)


Cecil Rhodes (1933)

Ali The Li, o, n: Ali Of Tebeleni, Pasha Of Jannina (1936) (as “The Diamond Of Jannina”, 1970)

Double Lives: An Autobiography (1943)

At Home: Memoirs (1958)

The Autobiography Of William Plomer (1975)


Gloriana: Opera In Three Acts (1953)

Curlew River: A Parable For Church Performance (1964) (Based on Sumidagawa By Juro Motomasa)

The Bruning Fiery Furnace: Second Parable For Church Performance (1966)

The Prodigal Son: Third Parable For Church Performance (1968)

Memorial Addresses:

Jonathan Cape (1960)

Ian Fleming (1964)


Haruko Ichikawa, “A Japanese Lady In Europe” (1937) (and introduction)

Francis Kilvert, “Kilvert`s Diary, 1870-1879”, three volumes, (1938-1940, abridged edition 1944, revised edition 1961, selections 1986)

Herman Melville, “Selected Poems” (1943)

“New Poems”, Transatlantic (1961) (with H. Corke and A. Thwaite)

Richard Rumbold, “A Message In Code: The Diary Of Richard Rumbold, 1932-1961” (1964) (and introduction)

Burn These Letters (unpublished)


Selected Poems, Ingrid Jonker, (1968) (with Jack Cope; also introduction)

Introductions (and year of edition):

LM Nesbitt, Gold Fever (1936)

Bradford Smith, To The Mountain (1936)

Herman Melville, Redburn (1937)

Herman Melville, Billy Budd (1946)

George Gissing, In The Year Of Jubilee (1947)

George Gissing, A Life`s Morning (1947)

John Hampson [JH Simpson], Saturday Night At The Greyhound (1950)

Pauline Smith, The Little Karoo (1950)

Herman Melville, White Jacket (1952)

Camara Laye, The Dark Child (1955)

Jospeh Conrad, Victory, (1957)

Hans Reich, South Africa (1961)

HC Bosman, Unto Dust (1963)

Richard Freislich, The Last Tribal War (1964)

Eric Walter White, 15 Poems For William Shakesepeare (1964)

Guy Butler, South Of The Zambesi: Poems From South Africa (1966)

Zelda Friedlander, Until The Heart Changes: A Garland For Olive Schreiner (1967)

Francis Kilvert, Collected Verse (1968)

Rose Macaulay, The World My Wilderness (1968)

Contributor (partial list only):

Ilanga lase Natal (1924, as “PQR”)

Voorslag (1926, as “Pamela Willmore”)

The Gothic Arch The Old School (1934, edited by Graham Greene)

Penguin New Writing (1939-1945, as “Robert Pagan”, edited by John Lehmann)

Through Siberia In A Trance, Choice (1946, edited by William Sansome)

“Preface” to Benjamin Britten`s War Requiem (1963; pamphlet accompanying sound recording)

Aspects Of EM Forster (1969, edited by Oliver Stallybrass)

A Brutal Sentimentalist and Other Stories (1969, edited by Eiichi Sano)

Colonel Sun II: Bond Had Never Liked Acapulco

Despite what some may think or have been told, Kingsley Amis did contemplate a follow-up to Colonel Sun. 007Forever is proud to present more info about Amis`s involvement with the world of 007… According to the New York Times, “While the English notices weren`t so good, the advance sales there indicated that Mr. Amis, may not regard “Colonel Sun” as a mere one-shot, but may go on. If so, the new Bond will be set most likely in Mexico, which Amis visited in January. “I was immediately stimulated by it,” he said at his London home, “and couldn`t help thinking of Bond. It was just his sort of place.””

“Mr. Amis never moves about by air, and cultivated his own deficiencies – his phrase – he went from St. Louis to Mexico City by train. En route, he remembered that “Bond loved trains” (From Russia, With Love) and found himself plotting an assassination on a train. Then as his train moved on, there occurred the inevitable sentence, “Bond had never liked Acapulco.” From that point the next adventure of James Bond seemed to be just a matter of writing time.”

[NK`s note: if Amis had gone ahead with it, the book couldn`t have been published any earlier than 1970. The powers that be at Cape`s, Tom Maschler and Tony Colwell, were keen on Amis writing another Bond novel, but the decision not to proceed seems to have been Amis`s.]

Many years later, Amis approached Glidrose with an idea for a short story. Bond would come out of retirement at age 70 to rescue a kidnapped US Senator from a Russian Colonel-General. Bond presumably dies at the end when he falls down a waterfall. Glidrose blanched and ordered Amis not to write one word of it.

The Letters of Kingsley Amis edited by Zachary Leader (HarperCollins) features a fascinating look into Amis`s life and even includes several fascinating Bond tidbits:

A film producer hired Amis to write a treatment based on an original Fleming idea:

Letter to Theo Richmond, December 20th, 1965:

“I have been having a rather horrible time writing a story outline for one George Willoughby. Based on an original Fleming idea. Willoughby and the script-writer change everything as I come up with it. I gave W. the completed outline five days ago and he has been too shocked and horrified and despairng to say a word since. However, he has already paid me. (Not much.)”

Rumours persist that Kingsley Amis wrote, or rewrote MGG. Amis`s own comments clearly disprove this.

To Tom Maschler – 5 October 1964

Dear Tom [Jonathan Cape managing director],

[…]”Have been driving hard at The Man with the Golden Gun.* I forget what, if anything, we arranged about this. Anyway, you may care to glance at the enclosed list of errors, etc. My own feeling in general is that, while some kinds of error could easily be spotted by a competent reader (repetitions of words, the omission of question-marks – though I may say that none of Fleming`s previous books has been thoroughly corrected for this – the “Adams” mantelpiece, etc), there are on other hand several passages that need to be rewritten by someone with a feeling and flair for style; this is especially true of the 2 1/2 pages of dialogue that will have to be entirely re-drafted (pp 127-129). Anyways, forgive me if some of the errors listed seem insultingly obvious.

My greatest discovery has been to stop what it is that has done most to make the book so feeble. As it stands, its most glaring weaknesses are:

I. Scaramanga`s thinness and insipidity as a character, after a very lengthy though pretty competent and promising build-up on pp 26-35;

II. The radical and crippling implausibility whereby Scaramanga hires Bond as a security man (p 67) when he doesn`t know him and, it transpires, doesn`t need him. This is made much worse by Bond`s suspicions, “There was the strong smell of a trap about” and so on.

Now I am as sure as one could be in the circumstances that as first planned, perhaps as first drafted, the reason why Scaramanga asks Bond along to the Thunderbird is that he`s sexually attracted to him, which disposes of difficulty no. Ii right away and gives a strong pointer to the disposal of no. I. I wouldn`t care to theorise about how far Scaramanga was made to go in the original draft; far enough, no doubt, to take care of no. I.

At some later stage, Fleming`s own prudence or that of a friend induced him to take out this element, or most of it: see p 33-34, which as things are have no point whatever. He as unable to think of any alternative reason for Scaramanga`s hiring of Bond, and no wonder, since the whole point of this hiring in the first version was that it had to be inexplicable by ordinary secret-agent standard. And there he was forced to hold on to the stuff about Bond`s suspicions because Bond would have looked such a perfect nit if he hadn`t been suspicious, and it`s always better to leave an implausible loose end than make your hero look a nit.

There are no doubt all sorts or reasons why we can`t have the book in its original version, the most telling of which is that it probably doesn`t exist any more, if it ever did. I could re-jig it for you, but there are all sorts of reasons against that too. But if you think you could initiate a discreet inquiry about whether there was a buggery thread at some stage, I should be most interested to learn of any confirmation for my brilliant flash of insight.**

I`m sending the typescript back under separate cover.

* Ian Fleming died after correcting only half the final manuscript of The Man with the Golden Gun, and Amis, among others, was enlisted by Cape, Fleming`s publisher, to look the manuscript over for errors and inconsistencies.

** Maschler reported back to Amis that “the resident experts (Fleming, not buggery) don`t occur with your theory” (Maschler to Amis, 9 October 1964). Amis alludes to his theory in The James Bond Dossier (1965), in which he deplores “the ordinariness of Scaramanga, who entirely lacks the physical presence of Bond-villain at his best and remains a mere trigger-man whatever his (undemonstrated) deadliness, the promising hints of homosexuality and pistol-fetishism in him left undeveloped” (p 67).

To Tom Maschler – 19 October 1964

Dear Tom,

[…] PS: Do I get 25gns for work on Man with Golden Gun? Or more? Or less?*

* Maschler was planning to pay Amis with drink: “I had in mind half a dozen bottles. Or more. Or less.” (Maschler to Amis, 27 October 1964)

Colonel Sun though a cult favourite, remains unfilmed:

Letter to Elizabeth Jane Howard (Amis`s novelist 2nd wife) – 15th September 1976

Dear Piney,

[…] Before that I`d been to Pinewood Studies[sic] to be talked to about the new James Bond film,* which they want me to write an article on. Don`t know that I will, but it was fun to go, meet Roger Moore, etc.

*The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Dear Piney, [16th Sep, 1976]

Meant to tell you that while I was at Pinewood I mentioned Col Sun to the PR chap, saying quite innocently that I`d heard long ago that Sal[t]zman had more or less specifically rejected the idea of filming it. PR chap said well, you know Sal[t]zman has left the organisation now and, er, let`s say I`ve heard people mentioning Col Sun. So there may be something in store for us there.

[NK`s note: Elsewhere it`s been said that Saltzman`s embargo against Colonel Sun had much to do with 1.) Having to pay royalties to Amis 2.) Glidrose rejecting the Jenkins Bond novel Per Fine Ounce, which Saltzman had been involved with. Glidrose instead published Colonel Sun which Saltzman had nothing to do with.]

Amis loathed John Gardner`s Bond novels, trashing For Special Services in print. Here, he`s slightly kinder to Licence Renewed:

To Philip Larkin – 9 June 1981

Dear Philip,*

[…] I didn`t know, or had forgotten, that you were such a Bond fan. I agree with everything you say about him AND about Gardner`s book. Glidrose didn`t show me it or even tell me it existed till it was in proof, possibly because I`d have told them it was piss. So sodding tame. Bond tells Murik`s men to stand down an they stand down. Peter Janson-Smith of Glidrose said the present text is Gardner`s souping-up of an original draft they`d sent back as too boring. Imagine what that can have been like. He just can`t write exciting stories.

You are an ole bugar about the rose.** I don`t like it either, but Bond did. He drank a well-iced pint of it in Goldfinger, p 170 (Cape edn.), admittedly with a sole menniere, but if rose goes with anything it goes with anything, right? Funny thing, the day I read your piece I got Who`s Who in Spy Fiction from the local remainder shop (want a copy? p/b, 30p) and read the following piece of bubbling dogs— from the pen of John le Carre:

“The really interesting thing [phrase that shows a lie is coming up] about Bond is that he would be what I would call the ideal defector. Because if the money was better, the booze freer and women easier over there in Moscow, he`d be off like a shot. Bond, you see, is the ultimate prostitute.”

Not true, not the case. That`s what le C`s dull f—–`s are like. He is the most frightful pisser, as I will explain to you at greater length when I see you.

* Larkin had reviewed LR in the Times literary, Supplement, 5 June 1981, pp 625, 627 ** “Amis was both a first-class writer and a Bond fan, and what he produced [Colonel Sun] was a workmanlike job, though one reader at least blanched to find Bond drinking rose with his cold beef, or with anything else for that matter”.

In a letter to Philip Larkin, dated December 31st 1963, Amis mentions that he was already writing The James Bond Dossier

To Victor Gollancz – 1 May 1964 (Amis`s then publisher)

My dear Victor,

I am just completing a book called The James Bond Dossier, the contents of which are probably indicated sufficiently by its title, although perhaps I should add that its approach is that of a Fleming addict and its verdict largely a favourable one.

I don`t think that this is at all your sort of book, in several ways. I`m pretty sure in my own mind that you have very little time for Fleming and the Fleming cult: at the very least, your heart wouldn`t be in it. And this is the sort of book people`s hearts have got to be in, I feel, if it`s to sell more than four or five thousand copies, which, having spent five months on the damn thing, I couldn`t afford.

The hearts of Jonathan Cape would be very much in this venture and, as you will know, they have an immense Fleming distribution and publicity machine already functioning. I have decided, after some not altogether comfortable ponder, that they shall public this effort.

But you are still “my publisher” (if you still want me). My future novels, and any other kind of book I can foresee writing, will be yours. I hope very much that you and Cape`s will be able to come to some arrangement which will satisfy everybody that I am not “going over” to them.*

*Gollancz was not pleased, but agreed to release Amis “subject only to this: namely that Jonathan Cape should agree with me a form of words that will make it absolutely clear, both in the trade press and the general press, that this book is an exception, that Cape publishes it by arrangement with us, and that your future work will be published by us” (Gollancz to Amis, 4 May 1964, in Gollancz).

To Tom Maschler – 28 September 1967

“There is a snag in the proof of Colonel Sun at page 187. I wrote a revised version of this passage and included it in the final copy I dropped at Cape`s or was it Janson-S`s? just before leaving. What appears in the proof is the earlier version. I imagine that the written corrections on that draft were all duly noted and incorporated, but that this, being a properly typed page, slipped through the mesh. I could re-do the thing: the snag would be that I did the revision from notes supplied by Mike K* that I haven`t got here, or probably anywhere. Meantime I will plug ahead with proof-correction. By the way, what about proofs of the maps? I must see them, to ensure that everything that should be on them is on them.

* Keely taught English, creative writing and modern Greek studies at Princeton; most of Colonel Sun is set in Greece, hence Keely`s notes.

In a letter to Philip Larkin May 21st, 1967, Amis mentions that Colonel Sun is finished.

Excerpts copyright (c) Kingsley Amis estate

Book Bloopers: The Eye That Never Sleeps

“The Eye That Never Sleeps” is more than a chapter designation in Ian Fleming’s novel, “Diamonds Are Forever”. It is an expression we coin at 007Forever to refer to the watchful eyes of line producers, directors, script editors, etc. who are vigilant to check on their films in progress for “bad matches,” moments when movie continuity or logic goes awry.

It stands as a great testimony to the staff of EON Productions these last 35-plus years that the Bond films are as outstanding as they are, with few goofs, though fanatics who have seen the movie 97 times always manage to catch something…

If you see bugaboos not reported here send them along to us online.

Cheers and happy viewing!

-it takes place the year after *Casino Royale*, yet in Chapter 2, Bond wonders, “Who controlled it [SMERSH] now that Beria was gone?”, suggesting that the story is set in 1954.

-Chapters 22 and 25 imply that it`s set in 1954, even though it occurs shortly after “Live And Let Die”, which took place in 1952 (the chapters mention, respectively, the Coronation, and Malenkov being none-too-firmly in the saddle over in Russia). (See the similar note under “From Russia, With Love”. The dating in the early novels is extremely poor).

… says that Bond`s Bentley was purchased almost new in 1933 (Live And Let Die says that it`s a 1933 model), yet “Moonraker” claims that it`s from 1930 (Chapter 1).

-Chapter 19: “But Bond had never killed in cold blood[.]” This seemingly contradicts how Bond got his double-0 number.
-The novel seems to take place in 1955, yet Chapter 11 gives the date Thursday August 12th. Thursday August 12th occurred in 1954. Bonus points for those who want to sound smart: Fleming might have looked at the 1956 calendar – the year he wrote the book – saw that August 12th was a Friday and accordingly backdated it by one day, forgetting that 1956 was a leap year (leap years are also always US Presidential election years). If you subtract the same amount of days that separate two years – go double days for leap years – you`ll know when in the week a particular date occurred (i.e. Friday August 12th, 1955; Thursday August 12th, 1954; Wednesday August 12th, 1953, etc; since 1956 is a leap year, August 12th falls on Sunday, not Saturday).
-Chapter 6 claims that Moonraker took place in 1952, when in fact it took place in 1954 (however, see similar note under “Moonraker”).

-Bond`s facial scar is on the right side, not the left side as Vivienne Michel notes (Chapter 10).

-Tiger Tanaka claims in Chapter 11 that Sumo wrestlers can make their testicles re-enter the inguinal canal in order to avoid injury. Other sources dispute this. The only organisms known to do this are shrews, and hedgehogs.
-“Moonraker” suggests that Bond was born in 1916, yet “You Only Live Twice” says 1924 (Chapter 21).
-Chapter 21 claims that Bond won his CMG in 1954, when “From Russia, With Love” (Chapter 6) says 1953. Mind you, both these dates are wrong if “Moonraker” occurred in 1952.

-Though this story was officially published before the short story “The Property Of A Lady”, we`ll count this book as carrying the error. The double agent was Maria Freudenstein, not Freudenstadt (Chapter 1).
-Mary Goodnight had blue-black hair in “On Her Majesty`s Secret Service”. Now she`s blonde.
-From Chapter 16: “The two men had never shaken hands in their lives.” Not true. Bond and Leiter shake hands in “Live And Let Die”, Chapter 1: “The tall, thin young man came forward with a wise grin, his hand outstretched, to where Bond stood rooted with astonishment. “Felix Leiter! What the hell are you doing here?” Bond grasped the hard hand and shook it warmly.”

-Chapter 15 claims that Vivienne Michel (from Fleming`s “The Spy Who Loved Me” ran a motel outside of Toronto. Not only did she not “run” a motel, but the motel itself was in the Adirondacks in upstate New York.
-Pearson gets the Moonraker plot synopsis wrong. It was not about “holding London to ransom – either the British Government would give in, or the Moonraker, complete with atomic warhead, would be fired directly at the heart of London.” (Chapter 11)
-Chapter 2 contradicts birth dates implied in Fleming`s “Moonraker” (1916) and given in “You Only Live Twice” (1924). Pearson claims 1920 (Chapter 22).
-Pearson gives him an older brother (Chapter 2), even though Fleming`s “You Only Live Twice” claims that Bond had no known surviving family (Chapter 21).
-Moreover he claims that Bond`s older brother`s name is Henry (Chapter 2). RD Mascott`s “The Adventures Of James Bond Junior – 003 1/” claims it`s David.
-Pearson says that there are only “13” Bond books, though by this time there had been 12 Fleming novels, two collections of short stories and the Amis novel (Chapter 1)
-“From Russia, With Love” was 9th on John F Kennedy`s list, after “Byron in Italy” by Ann Fleming`s friend Peter Quennell, and just beating out Stendhal`s “Scarlet and Black”. Not 6th after “Charterhouse of Parma” (Chapter 14). (I`d like to think for Pearson`s sake that he made this error on purpose.)
-Blofeld shot Tracy, not Bunt (Chapter 15).

The Bond he met is not the Bond that Fleming wrote about. Flemings Bond is described more than once as being six feet tall with blue eyes, with a scar down the right cheek. The person Pearson “met” is described as being six foot two inches tall, grey blue eyes, and a scar down the left cheek. ( If you think about it – this person sounds more like Lord Greystoke than James Bond.)
– It is mentioned that Bond went to Geneva University, which he did not. The year is all wrong and not in keeping with what Fleming wrote in You Only Live Twice`s obituary. The reference to the University comes from a passage in From Russia With Love .when Bond remembers mountain climbing at age seventeen “with friends from the Univeristy of Geneva”. That doesn`t mean he went to the University, only that his friends did. Also note that this same reference implies that Bond did not have his scar at age seventeen;something that Pearson has Bond getting at sixteen in an auto accident.
– Pearson really screws up on when the action occurs in some of the books. Including: Casino Royale. Happened in May to June of 1951 (chapter 2); Pearson has it occurring in July of 1951. Live and Let Die: Happens in January, 1952 (chapter 1) Pearson has it happening in November, 1951. Moonraker – happens in May, 1952 ( click here for my reasoning on this date ) which means the 1952 reference in FRWL IS NOT a continuity error! According to Pearson, this was a fictional story dreamed up by Fleming, (Sorry, you buy one story, you buy them all.)
– TSWLM is moved from upstate New York in mid October by Pearson to “that Christmas” and “a motel she ran outside Toronto”. Another geographic switch is OHMSS, where Blofeld is holed up in Piz Gloria above Pontresina, in south eastern Switzerland. Pearson places Blofelds` “mountain hideaway above Geneva” which is about as far southwestern Switzerland as you can get. In YOLT, Pearson has Blofelds` Castle near Kyoto. Fleming has it “in Kyushu, our southern island”.
– A minor note – Pearson states that Bonds` son is “ten,now”. This was written in 1973, which meant that Bonds` son was born in 1963. He must have been born very late in the year, then, since Kissy did not even know she was expecting until April of that year. And if he was born late in the year, then he would still only be nine when the interview with Bond takes place ……..

Mis – “namers”:
In chapter six, Pearson is introduced to “Mrs Schultz” the former “Honeychile Ryder” . Two things: If we take what Fleming wrote in “The Man With The Golden Gun” as true, Honeychiles` married name is “Wilder”, not Schultz, and the Honeychile that Bond adventured with in Dr. No was Honeychile RIDER, not Ryder. Also in chapter eight, Pearson mentions that Bonds weapon of choice in the early days was a .38 Beretta. It was a .25 Beretta until Dr. No.

It`s Auric Goldfinger that is the man who loves gold, not ARNO. (chapt. 14 ). Pearson also states in chapt 10., after the events of “LALD” but before the events of “Dr. No.” that M., angry at Bond and considering taking off the Double O list, tells Bond that “Strangeways needs to be replaced”. Why? The man is alive and well in Jamacia at the time! He also confuses which Station belongs where. I shall not go into detail. But Station C. is the Carribean, not Station K.—Walter VonTagen

-Chapter 19 ends when Sigmund Stromberg says “I want to destroy the world.” and Chapter 20 begins with Anya saying, “Create a new world?”. Text might have been removed or it may have just been written this way, but regardless, it`s a clumsy transition and essentially a continuity error.

-In Chapter 5, Cedar says that Bismaquer`s estate is 15,000 square miles, then, two paragraphs later, says it`s 150 square miles (UK edition only).

-In Chapter 8, when Flicka stays over for the night, “For the first time, a woman slept in the apartment[.]” Not true. Tiffany Case from “Diamonds Are Forever” lived with him. This is mentioned in both “From Russia, With Love”, and “James Bond – The Authorized Biography”.

In chapter 3 the villain is introduced as `Maxwell Tarn`. By chapter 13, his name`s changed to Maximilian. (John Gardner also calls The Man From Barbarossa`s Pete Natkowitz `Steve` and has Honey Rider`s surname as `Ryder`.) Getting names from other books wrong is careless, but getting the name wrong in the same book…? R. Dobson contributed to this report.

-In Chapter 13, Bond remembers a girl covered from head to toe in gold paint, but I don`t believe that he saw this in the book “Goldfinger”, just the film. Bond didn`t see the bullets ripping into Tracy in the book “OHMSS” either. (How did Glidrose let these errors through?)
-Gardner also contradicts himself: in Chapter 5, Luigi threatens divorce or something worse, yet in Chapter 10, Eddie Rhabb says that Luigi could care less about Guilliana`s infidelities.
-M supposedly has a thing about bad language, after Bond says “bloody”, yet in “Never Send Flowers”, Bond says “balls” to M.

-it contradicts information given in “James Bond – The Authorized Biography” about Irma Bunt. “A report claiming that the woman had been seen in Australia received some attention shortly after the Japanese affair, but this information proved to have been false.” Bunt had already given the Australian government an ultimatum otherwise her genetically advanced rats would wreak havoc. Moreover “shortly” seems to be an understatement since a decade has passed (mind you, trying to reconcile time in the series is a no-win situation).

-Moneypenny`s eyes are brown, not blue (Chapter 3).

TOMORROW NEVER DIES (novelization)
-In Chapter 10, “He [Bond] imagined that he would feel the same way about space-walking.” Since the novelization reconciles Bond`s Cambridge claim from the film “You Only Live Twice” (yet ignores the one in the film “The Spy Who Loved Me”), this counts as a genuine continuity error: Bond has walked in space (in both the film “Moonraker” and Christopher Wood`s novelization.)

-When discussing May (Chapter 2): “The way she pronounced the word “Sir” came out as “Suh”. Apart from Bond she would never call anyone else “Sir” except for royalty and men of the cloth.” Actually, according to “From Russia, With Love”: “To Bond, one of May`s endearing qualities was that she would call no man “sir” except – Bond had teased her about it years before – English kings and Winston Churchill. As a mark of exceptional regard, she accorded Bond an occasional hint of an “s” at the end of a word.”

Benson makes a minor error – he brought a character back from the dead! It is mentioned that Station G. was stillrun by Stuart Thomas – who, in the last chapter of “Colonel Sun” was given up for dead by M.! (I asked Benson about this and he said “Well, that`s what I get for not re-reading “Colonel Sun” all the way through and not just part-way! I knew about Stuart Thomas being head of the station there, but didn`t know he met his demise… or forgot, rather. Oh well.” ) Of course, the argument could be made that being an ex – 00 agent gave him the training to survive almost anything! : )–Walter Von Tagen

graphic novel – The Quasimodo Gambit

(Dark Horse Comics. 1994 Script Don MacGregor; Art-Gary Caldwell) The Reverend Elias Hazelwood and his church, the Disciples of the Heavenly Way, are actually a religious fanatic group plotting to set an example for all the world to follow. They`re planning to blow up a building in New York with the street address of 666 – “The Beast”, as they refer to it.

The number one thug is Maximillian “Quasimodo” Steel, a ruthless mercenary who`ll stop at nothing to cleanse the world of its sins. From negotiations with arms dealers and drug cartels to a climactic elevator shaft fight, this Bond story is exciting, believable, and well-written. A unique feature of this series is the fact that we can read all of Bond`s thoughts; very enlightening and insightful.

Bond fans will recognize Felix Leiter, references to Honeychile Ryder (Dr. No), even Bond`s flashback to his very first licensed killing, which has been alluded to in several mainstream Bond books, as well as the Authorized Biography of 007 by John Pearson. However, this series has two drawbacks: the artwork, aside from the covers, is poor – it looks like spray painting; and the books are simply too long. They include a lot of unnecessary filler material that slows down the plot substantially. Overall, though, a very good read.

graphic novels – The Illustrated James Bond

First printing, published by The James Bond 007 Fan Club in February 1981. This is a 90-page soft-cover collection of black and white comic strips that were originally printed in various newspapers in the late 1950`s to early 1960`s.

“Illustrated” contains “Diamonds Are Forever” (August 1959-Jan 1960), “From Russia With Love” (Feb 1960-May 1960), and “Dr. No” (May 1960-Oct 1960). All three stories are written by Henry Gammidge and illustrated by John McLusky with introduction by Richard Schenkman. Cover art by Tom Sciacca and Rich Buckler.

graphic novel – The Barbi Twins: Virtual Phony

This comic book is actually three stories in one. The first one, “Prelude to a Mission”, has the Barbi Twins – Sia and Shane – being kidnapped by their arch-enemy, Betty Blodryed. Apparently, the Twins work for an agency that foiled Blodryed`s plans one time and left her to be horribly scarred in an explosion. Now she wants revenge by dropping the twins into a vat of acid and ruining their looks forever. The next chapter – “Virtual Phony” – continues their story and includes a guest appearance by James Bond himself! The third chapter – “The Barbi Twins and Razor versus the Queen City Mob” – has nothing to do with the other two.

In “Virtual Phony”, the Twins use Bond-like gadgets to try to escape from Blodryed. However, they end up falling out of a helicopter and right into the acid vat. Just before they hit the acid, though, they are magically whisked away to another dimension – a dimension of virtual reality! There, they are immediately captured by the hoods of the master of the realm: a dragon with eyeglasses! In prison, they stumble upon an old man in chains with a beard down to his chest. One of them states, “Hey, we KNOW you! Aren`t you Ja–“. Yes, that`s the only clue we have that James Bond is involved in the story! Apparently, he was also captured in this alternate dimension and forced to entertain the “master”. He outlived his usefulness; now, the Twins have been brought in to take his place!

I have included this story in the James Bond Comics section because I collect any and all stand-alone stories that James Bond is somehow involved in. However, if you want a true Bond adventure set in the real world, this is definitely NOT worth adding to your collection! It is a comic set in a fantasy realm, starring two real people, with a cameo of someone we can only assume to be James Bond. The artwork is wonderful, but still not worth the $2.50 I paid for the book.