Ian Fleming's James Bond Letters
by Fergus Fleming, editor
The witty and engaging letters of the man who created the world’s most famous spy—James Bond.
On August 16, 1952, Ian Fleming wrote to his wife, Ann, “My love, This is only a tiny letter to try out my new typewriter and to see if it will write golden words since it is made of gold.” He had bought the golden typewriter as a present to himself for finishing his first novel, Casino Royale. It marked in glamorous style the arrival of James Bond, agent 007, and the start of a career that saw Fleming become one the world’s most celebrated thriller writers. And he did write golden words. Before his death in 1964 he produced fourteen bestselling Bond books, two works of nonfiction and the famous children’s story Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Fleming’s output was matched by an equally energetic flow of letters. He wrote to his wife, publisher, editors, fans, friends, and critics—and to the wife of the man whose name Fleming appropriated for his hero—charting 007’s progress with correspondence that ranged from badgering Jonathan Cape about his quota of free copies (a coin was tossed and Fleming lost) to apologizing for having mistaken a certain brand of perfume and for equipping Bond with the wrong kind of gun. His letters also reflect his friendship with such contemporaries as Raymond Chandler, Noel Coward, and W. Somerset Maugham.
This entertaining and engaging compilation traces the arc of Fleming’s literary career and details the back story of James Bond. Set against the backdrop of his Jamaican retreat Goldeneye and a troubled marriage, Fleming’s letters are filled with wit, humor, and occasional self-doubt. They reveal an intimate portrait of a man, an era, and a literary phenomenon (from Netgalley)
This book appealed to me because for as long as I can remember I have been a huge fan of the James Bond movies. Some might think that as a female, I like the them because of the always attractive leading man, Actually, it’s the intricate gadgets and all the action that drew me to the movies.
I enjoyed reading the letters that Ian Fleming wrote. He comes across as very intelligent with a good sense of humor. What I really like about the books, was all the background information about each movie and where Mr. Fleming was in his life at the time each book was written.
I thought the books was both informative and entertaining. Any aficionado of 007 should also find this enjoyable.
My thanks to Bloomsbury USA, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.