“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!