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I pains me to admit that this one passed under the radar, although this book is still readily available used, although it's now long out of print.
The mystery of the author's true identity is what intrigues me the most though. It's possible, indeed highly likely, that IFP are remaining tight-lipped about this for legal reasons, which suggests that if the real author were to be revealed, it would trigger litigation for breach of contract, assuming the real author was contracted to another publisher at the time of publication. If this is the case, then the real author is likely to be a major bankable "name" writer of the time, especially since the secret remains carefully guarded until this very day. This means then that this author's work is still likely under copyright.
I suppose the only way to gain clues here is to buy a copy of this book and read it. The game's afoot! ;)
There is a rumour that John Pearson wrote it but I think that's unlikely. Why it's STILL so hush hush is mystery, since no one really cares except for a few of us probably.
Taken from Wikipedia:
The opening passages.
So I'm absorbing the set-up of this James Bond as the son of Captain (David) Bond, he's an only child living with mother and father, but with frequent moves kind of isolating him over time. And apparently dealing with the family association as nephew of James Bond the VERY well-known secret agent, the wink-wink-nudge-nudge--he can't live up to HIS reputation. But apparently will try.
Some interesting stuff in Chapter 1 obviously for a younger audience.
But am I supposed to have "dirty thoughts" for "a grubby, shop-lifting girl" I'm left wondering.
And yes, I have it, having bought it in 1973 or so. Funny thing, the man who did the cover and the interior illustrations was Maurice Paulin, who, among other things, did the same for a young readers spy series (for the same publisher) called Langelot. More details here :
As for the Sheath knife, I guess it would be that model, Bond being british and all :
Needless to say James is humbled (or should be) by her reaction to their meeting. And the chapter touches on death and danger.
Unknown to me, the British term "blue bottles" for bluebottle fly or bottlebee.
Maybe Richard Chopping's real world inspiration for his cover art.
I took notice of the author using an opportunity to introduce the word "bitch" into his book for young adults. In another passage I'm surprised by something sometimes taken as a phallic symbol, can't guess the intent here. Maybe I'm overly sensitive on these points.
To make some sense of the story, I'll start with very brief descriptions of the chapters then keep up with the rest. Spoilers, obviously.
James resists a family outing to Dar es Salaam--he has his own agenda and business to take care of. To recover belongings from Hazeley Hall, where Mrs. Frame allowed him access to a one-room cottage. Some observations on 007 and the family relationship.
Chapter 2: The Girl Behind the Fence
James on his own is surprised that his access to the cottage is blocked by a sign that warns "KEEP OUT--DANGER FIERCE DOGS". The owner Mr. Merck isn't so accessible. James comes across a blond girl and death--she's crying over a dead (Alsation) puppy. He's first sorry, then is compelled to deny being responsible for the death.
Chapter 3: The Silent Guardians
Another footpath access to Lower Farm is blocked by wire and warning signs. Alsatians roam the grounds--fierce guard dogs, trained to stand and defend rather than attack rationalizes James. Two odd men stand in the distance, the blond girl appears. James shouts an appeal to them and the girl, it's not answered. She eats a banana. A red-haired woman pulls her away and inside. James is outraged by what he sees as public rights of access being violated.
Chapter 4: When is a Private Footpath Public
James shares the details with Mrs. Raggles, leaving out the dead puppy and the girl. A more adult conversation for him, he's frustrated but recognizes Mr. Merck is within his rights to buy up land like Hazeley Hall and deny access. But he wants his belongings and hitches a ride on Nobby Scales' mail truck.
Chapter 5: The Occupier, Hazeley Hall
Actions evolve that place James in the vehicle entering Hazeley Hall. He's witness to a ferocious Doberman pinscher on a chain, and this part of the mail run is described as a gauntlet. Following a contentious interaction with Mr. Merck, Nobby snaps and shockingly runs down the chained dog with his truck. The frantic mood continues after their hasty exit, James is sickened by the death. He's ready to support Nobby and go to the police, Nobby refuses that help.
Chapter 6: The Shoplifter
At Woolworth's James observes the blond girl Sheelagh shoplifting, her interests include sweets and draw-rin' stuff. He offers better drawing materials when he retrieves them from Hazeley Hall. She's doubtful.
James refers to Sheelagh as:
Andromeda polifolia Marsh Andromeda, Bog rosemary
A second military truck arrives, the first joins it. He sees Miss Hubbard's Ford Anglia come and go. A black Humber automobile appears at the exit.
James makes an awkward phone call to the Commander, but Lady Conningtower picks up. He'll have to talk to the Commander the next day, about seeing him in the Jaguar. (What he didn't share: Sir Cuthbert was accompanied by a young blonde woman.)
So James continues his plan to get to the cottage and retrieve his possessions.