Christmas with Ian Fleming

edited December 2019 in Literary 007 Posts: 2,894
Here's a section from the Atticus column of the Sunday Times dated December 20, 1959. If memory serves, Fleming was no longer writing the column, but it might have been in John Pearson's hands. This installment of Atticus asked several luminaries what they would be doing for Christmas and what they thought of the holiday. Here's what Fleming said:
Thriller-writer Ian Fleming has more positive ideas on Christmas: "Ideally, the only possible place to spend it is Monte Carlo. You don't have to eat turkey--a detestable bird. There aren't any people there you know at this time of year, and it's perfectly easy to play a little golf and avoid over-eating." But even for the creator of James Bond, the ideal is not always attainable, and Mr. Fleming will in fact be spending his Christmas near Belfast, reading three good American thrillers, including the latest Rex Stout, and "going to church in a long crocodile with the rest of the family" on Christmas morning. His one way of simplifying Christmas is to give the same present year after year to all and sundry. It consists of a dozen snuff handkerchiefs from Fribourg and Treyer.

The Irish location was Shane's Castle, which contained the estate of Ann Fleming's first husband Shane O'Neill, a wealthy Baron killed in World War II. The Flemings spent many Christmases there. Rex Stout was one of Fleming's favorite thriller writers and received a shout-out in OHMSS. According to the foreword to a Nero Wolfe anthology, "Stout considers the late Ian Fleming to have been a good storyteller too, but he turned down Fleming's suggestion that M, James Bond, Nero Wolfe, and Archie Goodwin should all appear together in the same novel. 'Bond would have gotten all the girls,' Stout admits ruefully."

Besides Fleming, the Atticus Christmas column also interviewed Bertrand Russell, John Betjeman, Christopher Fry, John Osborne, Alec Guinness, and C.S. Lewis. Let me know if you'd like to read any of their answers as well.

Oh, and let me take this opportunity to wish everyone a merry Christmas, with goodwill to all board members and secret agents.


  • Posts: 2,598
    Thanks for posting this. Anything Fleming has said interests me. Merry 007 Christmas and a Happy New Year!
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Well done Rev and a happy Christmas to you Sir.

    A word from M:

    "'Fraid we've got to go through the turkey and plum pudding routine. Mrs. Hammond's been brooding over pots & pans for weeks. Damned sentimental rubbish."

    My favourite gift to give is calendars. Eminently useful, easy to wrap and fit in a suitcase!
  • edited December 2015 Posts: 2,894
    I'd definitely take a calendar over a dozen snuff handkerchiefs. No idea what use I'd have for the handkerchiefs, since I don't take snuff and have no plans to be in a snuff film...
    Bounine wrote: »
    Thanks for posting this. Anything Fleming has said interests me.

    You're in luck then, because next year I will be flooding the board with Fleming!
  • DragonpolDragonpol
    edited December 2015 Posts: 17,777
    Thanks for the tag dear @Birdleson.

    Thank you @Revelator. I've not read that before but I knew Fleming and his wife visited Shane's Castle in Antrim over Christmas. Funny enough I live in the same county of Northern Ireland. And a flood of Fleming is just what the doctor ordered, @Revelator!

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, good sir!
  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation CEO
    Posts: 3,675
    Fleming sounds like a man whom I would be very good friends with.
  • Posts: 14,816
    Fascinating stuff, thanks for the finding! I am happy to see Ian Fleming was a Rex Stout fan! It makes perfect sense.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited December 2017 Posts: 12,978
    A Christmas description of Fleming, rather than by him.
    Royal Museums Greenwich
    21 December 2016

    What links Bond author Ian Fleming, a Norwegian spy on 'a night out in town' and a smuggled Christmas tree? (brought into the country we're told 'at some discomfort')

    The story unravels in a document from our Caird Library and Archive written by Sir Norman Egbert Denning. He had set up the Operational Intelligence Centre in 1936 which formed part of the Naval Intelligence Division in World War II. During the war Fleming worked in Naval Intelligence, invited to join in 1939 with no prior experience but the right mix of charm, connections and a talent for administration. Fleming was soon promoted to commander and was given access to the most secret of intelligence and had contacts with other secret services on behalf of his Director, Admiral J. H. Godfrey. In 1941 he even joined Admiral Godfrey on a trip to America to help write a blueprint for the Office of Co-Ordinator of Information which later formed the basis of the CIA.

    Our tale took place during the war close to Christmas when a Norwegian agent had recently arrived in London after 'an adventurous journey'. Due to the dangers he'd faced Fleming decided to treat him to a night on the town, including a luxurious meal in the Savoy - 'a dinner rarely come by in wartime London'. It was only after this meal that the group piled into jeeps to notice two Christmas trees among the agent's gear. The trees had been procured from King Haakon's Summer Palace in Oslo and brought all the way to London where the agent intended to present one to his exiled king.

    Sir Norman Egbert Denning on Ian Fleming and the Christmas tree. Repro ID F7983-001.
    Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree

    Some date before Christmas, during the war
    years, we had the occasion to bring back from Norway,
    a Norwegian agent operating there. He arrived
    after an adventurous journey, and in view of the
    risks and dangers he had been exposed to,
    Ian Fleming suggested it would be a nice thing
    to lash him up to a first class meal and night
    out in town. Ian organized it in the Savoy and,
    in fact, I believe provided some of the fair for
    the chef to cook, at all events it was a dinner
    very rarely come by in wartime London. Present
    were Ian, Commander Welsh, R.N.V.R., two or three
    Norwegians and myself, and it was a convivial evening.

    Afterwards we piled into two jeeps, only to
    discover that amongst the gear with the agent,
    were two Christmas trees. These apparently he
    had procured from King Haakon's Summer Palace
    Oslo and smuggled it over with him with at discomfort.
    intending to present one to the king, then living
    at Sunningdale. I think it was Ian who suggested
    that it would be a nice gesture to put up one in
    Trafalgar Square. This we did tying it to a
    Balustrade on the North Side. Of course there
    were no fairy lights but one or two aircraft
    flares provided illumination. But to us more
    welcome perhaps was a bottle of Aquavit the agent
    had brought back with him. So passing the bottle
    from mouth to mouth, we toasted the happy return
    the agent, King George, King Haakon, and to the
    liberation of Norway.

    Even on this occasion Ian showed his bon viveur
    attitude with the remark, "I'm not complaining, but
    nevertheless I still maintain Danish aquavit is the
    the best and moreover this bottle has only
    travelled in a small ship from Norway to Scotland
    and not round the world as it should have done
    as real Norwegian aquavit."
    On Fleming's suggestion they decided to put one up in Trafalgar Square with aircraft flares replacing fairy lights. Under the glow of their tree the group shared a bottle of Norwegian Aquavit and toasted to the liberation of Norway. Another document in our Denning collection gives some insight into the creation of James Bond. Fleming used his experiences in naval intelligence as a basis for the books but added the 'in the field' action which he had craved but never seen.

    It was at a dinner attended by Denning where we're told Fleming complained of the lack of glamour within the intelligence service. He then went on to recount adventures he would have had during the war if there'd been unlimited freedom, funds and bravery. Similar to the later adventures of James Bond, Fleming concluded 'Alas! I'm not a brave enough man'. Denning admits there was no way of knowing if Bond was already formed in Fleming's mind at the time but it is clear how his experiences led him to create the world's most famous spy.

    Aquavit, huh. Never had the pleasure.

    Flavoured spirit (caraway, dill) of Scandinavia since the 15th century. Usually 80 proof or so.
  • Posts: 2,894
    Many thanks Richard--a most charming story that shows off Mr. F's bon viveur and talent for high living. A Christmas tree decorated with aircraft flares sounds smashing, though best done outdoors. I've had Aquavit...and will never forget it. I bought some for a party held by a friend of Norwegian descent. After several shots the gathering took on a hallucinatory quality.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,978
    Nice remembrance, @Revelator. I may try some locally.

    With its 20 December publish date I'd like to include the earlier Atticus piece with an On This Day post. If I get anything wrong please suggest a correction.
  • BMW_with_missilesBMW_with_missiles All the usual refinements.
    Posts: 3,000
    That was fantastic @RichardTheBruce
  • edited December 2017 Posts: 406
    Thanks for posting that. Didn't know that connection. Shane's castle not that far away from me
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited December 2019 Posts: 12,978

    An update of

    2016. James Bond hunting Santa.




  • Fire_and_Ice_ReturnsFire_and_Ice_Returns I am trying to get away from this mountan!
    edited December 2018 Posts: 23,255
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Where is the Bond Advent Calendar. @4EverBonded , don't you and the missing @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7 usually handle that?

    I thought about it the other day, not sure if its worth doing for the remainder of the month. Though perhaps members could just post freely anything Christmas related?
  • DragonpolDragonpol
    edited December 2018 Posts: 17,777
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Where is the Bond Advent Calendar. @4EverBonded , don't you and the missing @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7 usually handle that?

    Ex-member @BondJasonBond006 started it and maintained it in the first year of its existence (2016) which maybe explains why it has fallen into abeyance this year. That, and the absence of @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7, who successfully ran it last year. I even contributed to it myself both years.
  • BMW_with_missilesBMW_with_missiles All the usual refinements.
    Posts: 3,000
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Where is the Bond Advent Calendar. @4EverBonded , don't you and the missing @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7 usually handle that?

    Ex-member @BondJasonBond006 started it and maintained it in the first year of its existence (2016) which maybe explains why it has fallen into abeyance this year. That, and the absence of @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7, who successfully ran it last year. I even contributed to it myself both years.

    If anyone is interested @BondJasonBond006 runs a Bond Instagram page and has continued the advent tradition
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited December 2018 Posts: 12,978
    Ian Fleming, Andrew Lycott, 1995.
    As soon as he arrived [in Colombo, Ceylon] 23 September [1944], Ian struck up a close friendship
    with Clare [Blanshard] who was swept off her feet by the handsome, educated naval
    officer in his tropical uniform. In a letter to her brother Paul a month
    later, "Since I wrote last (and continuously, every day, but about to be
    lopped off at a moment's notice like Marlow's Faustas) a beauteous being
    has swum into my ken--on an official visit--and I like him very very very
    much indeed. As the Wrens say, whose letters I censor so very monotonously,
    he's absolutely it. It doesn't make any difference that I don't mean any-
    thing to him as he's so awfully nice--so that is why I haven't written.
    Next time I write he'll have gone for ever and ever and practically won't
    have existed. But, believe me, he's the right shape, size, and height, has the
    right sort of hair, the right sort of laugh, is 36 and beautiful. I wish I were
    more glamorous..."

    Ian had arrived at the height of the Christmas party season in Colombo.
    He invited Clare to a dance at the Septic Prawn, the nightclub in the
    Galleface Hotel where he was staying. She was impressed that he was "a
    plodder dancer: I dislike men who dance well". She wore a stunning long
    white silk dress, plugged with little pieces of real silver. Ian was fascinated
    with the garment and, seventeen years later, sent her a postcard of the
    ballroom of a Sussex hotel where he was recuperating from an illness. He
    marked the front with an X and wrote, "I'm behind the palm tree on the
    right, watching you in the white dress clearing the floor in the centre."
    Clare recalled, "He couldn't get over that dress. He really minded about
    materials and such things."

    He also expressed interest in exploring the Ceylon countryside. When
    Clare had told him about the jungle which straddled the railway on the
    way up to the hill-station of Kandy, he jumped at the opportunity to
    investigate. Enjoying the hear and mild humidity of the tropical island,
    he told Clare, "I'm never going to spend the winter in England again." He
    did not mention Jamaica, but his fantasy of his post-war experience was
    beginning to take shape.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,978
    December 24, 2012
    Why Ian Fleming’s YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE is So
    Important to Eric Van Lustbader

    Eric Van Lustbader is the author of the internationally bestselling Jason Bourne thrillers [after Robert Ludlom], as well as the Jack McClure series, the latest installment of which is FATHER NIGHT. Here, Eric discusses the Christmas gift that also gave him a valuable revelation he would use for years to come. Ian Fleming’s Bond novel, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, taught him that a thriller can be so much more than the conventions of the genre. If used creatively, a novel can become a doorway to many other worlds and realities, and it is only the beating heart of humanity that can truly reach readers.
    Christmas is always an odd time of year for me. My birthday is December 24th, so I rarely had a party (friends were at their respective families). It was also a lonely time, as Christmas was never a family affair either. On the other hand, my mother always made sure I got two presents: one for my birthday and one for Christmas.

    Often, because she knew I loved to read as much as I loved to write, those presents were books.

    Years before I wrote THE NINJA, my first thriller, I was a big James Bond fan. I was lucky enough to have come upon the series at the beginning, devouring CASINO ROYALE, reading the books as they came out: DR. NO, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. But it wasn’t until I read YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE that a panoply of surprising new worlds opened up to me. (Looking back now, I’m startled at the level of racism of Fleming’s writing, but that’s another story and a significant marker for the era in which he wrote.)

    I was initially startled, then delighted to discover that the soul of Fleming’s novel was Japanese, a culture neither I nor Bond had ever explored before. From the first, I found myself spellbound in a way no previous Bond novel had been able to do. I was struck by the epigram at the beginning --- an almost-haiku Fleming devised after the 17th-century master poet, Matsuo Bash: You only live twice: once when you are born, And once when you look death in the face. That almost-haiku called to me almost as if it were alive. It set the stage for a story that made understandable a culture both exotic and concealed, a culture about which, not long after, I would write about myself.

    Fleming’s two-part titles, “It is better to travel hopefully...” “ ...than to arrive,” continued to haunt me for many years. There is an undercurrent of sorrow in the novel that, for me, made it both compassionate and merciful, two sentiments that, up until that moment, seemed impossible for a spy novel to incorporate. Years later, when my love for Japanese art and culture flowered, when I was in the midst of my research for THE NINJA, I came to realize that in a dazzling feat of literary legerdemain, Fleming had somehow captured the fragile duality of Japanese culture: violence and beauty.

    Today, I look out my office window at my Yoshino cherry tree and understand that there is only a single shining moment when its blossoms are at the peak of their yearning life. So, the Japanese believe, with life, itself fleeting, ephemeral, and, therefore, poignant. And now I can’t help but wonder whether I would have been drawn so deeply to Japanese culture had it not been for YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. And after more than 30 years of writing internationally bestselling novels, including seven Jason Bourne books and five Jack McClure novels, I can certainly attest to the fact that it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.

    YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE was, for me, a doorway into my own future. It taught me that a thriller can be so much more than action, adventure, and a ticking time bomb of a plot. All these are necessary to the genre, of course, but, if used correctly, they become the clothes that cover the beating heart. This is what I tried to capture in THE NINJA, the following Nicholas Linnear novels --- all my books, in fact. What YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE taught me was that, no matter the fashion of the clothes, the beating heart can touch readers in many different ways. As a result, I have learned to use my writing to explore and comment on society, politics, philosophy, even religion.

    YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE taught me that the richness of an author’s mind need not be hampered by the conventions of genre, that those very conventions --- trust, betrayal, vengeance, redemption, inversion --- can, if used creatively, become the doorways to many worlds, many realities, all reflecting our own.

    At Christmastime, I always remember that moment of revelation and am grateful for it.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,978
    Live and Let Die, Ian Fleming, 1954.
    Chapter II - Interview with M.
    'This Blackbeard story would stand up to most investigations,' continued M, 'because there is reason to believe that part of his hoard was dug up around Christmas Day, 1928, at a place called Plum Point.
    It's a narrow neck of land in Beaufort County, North Carolina, where a stream called Bath Creek flows into the Pamlico River. Don't think I'm an expert,' he smiled, 'you can read all about this in the dossier. So, in theory, it would be quite reasonable for those lucky treasure-hunters to have hidden the loot until everyone had forgotten the story and then thrown it fast on the market. Or else they could have sold it en bloc at the time, or later, and the purchaser has just decided to cash in. Anyway it's a good enough cover except on two counts.'

    M paused and relit his pipe.
    Plum pudding
    November 10, 2019
    As revealed in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963), James Bond doesn’t seem to know much about the Christmas rituals. When he is met by Mary Goodnight at London Airport on Christmas Day, en route to M with the names of the ‘Angels of Death’ carrying the means to start biological warfare in the UK, courtesy of Ernst Stravos Blofeld, he asks Mary why she is not ‘stirring the plum pudding or going to church or something.’ She tells him that plum puddings are made at least two months before to let them settle and mature. In fact, as we learn later, she loathes plum pudding.

    At Quarterdeck, M’s country home, Bond sits down to Christmas lunch and the plum pudding duly arrives ‘flaming traditionally.’ We are not told whether he likes it but he wistfully thinks of a ring for Tracy when M nearly breaks a tooth on some silver implanted in the pudding. It is only after this that they get down to business with the man from Ag. and Fish. to come up with a plan to prevent the imminent biological attack.

    You have to admire their priorities. A good Christmas pudding is worth taking the time to enjoy. Here is a recipe.
    • 300g dried fruit mix (raisins, currants)
    • 50g mixed peel, chopped
    • 50g glacé cherries, rinsed, chopped
    • 1 apple, grated
    • 1 carrot, grated
    • Juice and zest of a lemon
    • 120g plain flour
    • 120g suet
    • 120g dark brown sugar
    • 75g breadcrumbs
    • 2 eggs
    • 100ml beer
    • 50ml brandy
    • 70 ml orange juice
    • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp salt
    Combine the beer and brandy with the fruit and peel and soak at least overnight but longer if possible, up to a week. Place the mixture in a large bowl with the other ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed. Pour the mixture into a buttered pudding basin and cover with some baking parchment cut to size and then tin foil.

    Place the basin in a saucepan and pour boiling water into the saucepan until the water level is half-way up the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 6 hours, topping up with water often, ensuring there is always sufficient water in the pan. Alternatively, place the pudding basin in a slow cooker, top up with boiling water, turn the cooker to high and cook for 8 hours.

    Remove the basin from heat, replace the paper and foil with fresh sheets and store in a cool, dry place. When you wish to reheat the pudding, place the basin in a water-filled saucepan and simmer for about 2 hours. Once reheated, turn the pudding out and serve.

  • edited December 2019 Posts: 2,894
    Being American, I have never experienced plum pudding. But I have bought British Christmas Puddings from Monsieur Marcel, an import food shop in the original Farmers Market of Los Angeles. I quite liked them too. Buying pre-made puddings also avoids the hazard of biting down on random bits of silver.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited December 2019 Posts: 12,978
    Same here, @Revelator, and I planned to search it out this season.

    Also been watching Ian Fleming Publications for their annual holiday well-wishing.

    A little short of that is this nice yuletide image posted on Instagram.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,978
    Moonraker, Ian Fleming, 1955..
    Chapter XV - Rough Justice.
    Bond thought she looked very innocent standing there with her brown hair falling back from her head and the curve of her ivory throat sweeping down into the plain white shirt. With her hands clasped behind her back, gazing raptly upwards at the glittering fifty feet of the Moonraker, she might have been a schoolgirl looking up at a Christmas tree--except for the impudent pride of the jutting breasts, swept up by the thrown-back head and shoulders.
    Bond smiled to himself as he walked to the foot of the iron stairway and started to climb. That innocent, desirable girl, he reminded himself, is an extremely efficient policewoman. She knows how to kick, and where; she can break my arm probably more easily and quickly than I can break hers, and at least half of her belongs to the Special Branch of Scotland Yard. Of course, he reflected, looking down just in time to see her follow Dr. Walters into Drax's office, there is always the other half.
    Chapter XIX - Missing Person
    "No," he looked across at Bond and his eyes held an unusual note of urgency. "It looks as if it's all up to you. And that girl. You're lucky she's a good one. Anything you want? Anything I can do to help?"
    "No, thank you, sir," Bond had said and he had walked out through the familiar corridors and down in the lift to his own office where he had terrified Loelia Ponsonby by giving her a kiss as he said good-night. The only times he ever did that were at Christmas, on her birthday, and just before there was something dangerous to be done.
    Croatian book cover.

  • edited December 2019 Posts: 2,894
    I never before realized that Croatian cover exactly illustrated "she might have been a schoolgirl"...right down to the bit about the breasts! Naughty Czechs!
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,978
    Diamonds Are Forever, Ian Fleming, 1956.
    Chapter 14 - "We Don't Like Mistakes".
    "Sure," said Leiter. "No coincidence about it. We're both travelling bad roads and all bad roads lead to the bad town. I've got some cleaning up to do here in Saratoga first. And a pile of reports to write. That's half my life with Pinkertons, writing reports. But I'll be over in Vegas before the end of the week, sniffing around. Shan't be able to see much of you right under the Spang nose, but maybe we could meet up from time to time and exchange notes. Tell you what," he added. "We've got a good man there. Undercover. Cab-driver by the name of Cureo, Ernie Cureo. Good guy, and I'll pass the word you're coming and he'll look after you. He knows all the dirt, where the big fixes are, who's in town from the outside mobs. He even knows where you can find the one-armed bandits that pay the best percentages. And the slots that pay best is the most valuable secret on the whole goddam Strip.
    And Boy, you've seen nothing until you've seen that Strip. Five solid miles of gambling joints. Neon lighting that makes Broadway look like a kid's Christmas tree. Monte Carlo!" Leiter snorted. "Steam-age stuff."

    Random inclusion.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited December 2019 Posts: 12,978
    From Russia With Love, Ian Fleming, 1957..
    Chapter Two - The Slaughterer.
    In November, it was a big sheepdog, and, for Christmas, he slit the throat of a cow, at midnight in a neighbour's shed.
    These actions made him `feel good'. He had enough sense to see that the village would soon start wondering about the mysterious deaths, so he bought a bicycle and on one night every month he rode off into the countryside. Often he had to go very far to find what he wanted and, after two months of having to satisfy himself with geese and chickens, he took a chance and cut the throat of a sleeping tramp.
  • DragonpolDragonpol
    Posts: 17,777
    From Russia With Love, Ian Fleming, 1957..
    Chapter Two - The Slaughterer.
    In November, it was a big sheepdog, and, for Christmas, he slit the throat of a cow, at midnight in a neighbour's shed.
    These actions made him `feel good'. He had enough sense to see that the village would soon start wondering about the mysterious deaths, so he bought a bicycle and on one night every month he rode off into the countryside. Often he had to go very far to find what he wanted and, after two months of having to satisfy himself with geese and chickens, he took a chance and cut the throat of a sleeping tramp.

    The original "Everybody needs a hobby." ;)
  • Posts: 2,894
    The journey of a thousand slaughters starts with a single chicken.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,978
    The Diamond Smugglers, Ian Fleming, 1957. .
    Chapter Two - The Gem Beach
    On Christmas Eve Patterson and the pilot, faced with all the evidence, owned up.
    They had come to pick up Patterson’s diamonds, and when
    Sergeant Cilliers took Patterson under guard to the beach Patterson
    showed him the canister under a rock where he had hidden it after the
    plane had crashed. Inside there were 1400 diamonds of various sizes,
    weighing 2276 carats. They would have been worth about £40,000.

    ‘Poor Patterson! He and the pilot were tried at Luderitz. They got them
    under the Diamond Industry Protection Proclamation of 1939. Patterson
    got nine months’ hard labour and Blake got six. Not much. That’s what I
    mean about it being well worth the gamble. Patterson will have been out
    for more than three years. I wonder what he’s doing now. I’m rather
    sorry for him, really. It was a good scheme and it nearly came off, and
    I certainly wouldn’t like to find myself in reach of a million pounds of
    somebody else’s money.’

    'The smuggler's plane had crashed a few yards from the sea...'
    '...his secret stock of diamonds in a cannister.'

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,978
    Dr. No, Ian Fleming, 1958..
    Chapter III - Holiday Task.
    "Nothing except that he keeps very much to himself. Hasn't been seen since he made his deal with the Jamaican Government. And there's no traffic with the island. It's his and he keeps it private. Says he doesn't want people disturbing the guanay birds who turn out his guano. Seems reasonable.
    Well, nothing happened until just before Christmas when one of the Audubon wardens, a Barbadian, good solid chap apparently, arrived on the north shore of Jamaica in a canoe.
    He was very sick. He was terribly burned--died in a few days. Before he died he told some crazy story about their camp having been attacked by a dragon with flames coming out of its mouth. This dragon had killed his pal and burned up the camp and gone roaring off into the bird sanctuary belching fire among the birds and scaring them off to God knows where. He had been badly burned but he'd escaped to the coast and stolen a canoe and sailed all one night to Jamaica. Poor chap was obviously off his rocker. And that was that, except that a routine report had to be sent off to the Audubon Society. And they weren't satisfied. Sent down two of their big brass in a Beechcraft from Miami to investigate. There's an airstrip on the island. This Chinaman's got a Grumman Amphibian for bringing in supplies..."

    M interjected sourly. "All these people seem to have a hell of a lot of money to throw about on their damned birds."
    Chapter V - Facts and Figures
    Pleydell-Smith laughed shortly through the stem of his pipe. He jerked the pipe out of his mouth and talked while he tamped down the burning tobacco with his matchbox. "Bitten off a bit more than you can chew on guano. Talk to you for hours about it. Started in the Consular before I transferred to the Colonial Office. First job was in Peru. Had a lot to do with their people who administer the whole trade--Compania Aministradora del Guano. Nice people." The pipe was going now and Pleydell-Smith threw his matchbox down on the table. "As for the rest, it's just a question of getting the file." He rang a bell. In a minute the door opened behind Bond.
    "Miss Taro, the file on Crab Key, please. The one on the sale of the place and the other one on that warden fellow who turned up before Christmas. Miss Longfellow will know where to find them."
    Chapter VIII - The Elegant Venus
    "Yes., I've seen him." She screwed up her eyes and made a wry face as if she was swallowing bitter medicine. She looked earnestly at Bond to make him share her feelings. "I've been coming here for about a year, looking for shells and exploring. I only found these," she waved at the beach, "about a month ago. On my last trip. But I've found plenty of other good ones.
    Just before Christmas I thought I'd explore the river. I went up it to the top, where the birdmen had their camp. It was all broken up.
    It was getting late and I decided to spend the night there. In the middle of the night I woke up. The dragon was coming by only a few chains away from me. It had two great glaring eyes and a long snout. It had sort of short wings and a pointed tail. It was all black and gold." She frowned at the expression on Bond's face. "There was a full moon. I could see it quite clearly.It went by me. It was making a sort of roaring noise. It went over the marsh and came to some thick mangrove and it simply climbed over the bushes and went on. A whole flock of birds got up in front of it and suddenly a lot of fire came out of its mouth and it burned a lot of them up and all the trees they'd been roosting in. It was horrible. The most horrible thing I've ever seen."
    Chapter XI - Amidst the Alien Cane.
    "It was the encyclopedia. It told me that people collect sea-shells. That one could sell the rare ones. I talked to the local schoolmaster, without telling him my secret of course, and he found out that there's an American magazine called Nautilus for shell collectors. I had just enough money to subscribe to it and I began looking for the shells that people said they wanted in the advertisements. I wrote to a dealer in Miami and he started buying from me. It was thrilling. Of course I made some awful mistakes to begin with. I thought people would like the prettiest shells, but they don't. Very often they want the ugliest. And then when I found rare ones I cleaned them and polished them to make them look better. That's wrong too. They want shells just as they come out of the sea, with the animal in and all. So I got some formalin from the doctor and put it into the live shells to stop them smelling and sent them off to this man in Miami, I only got it right about a year ago and I've already made fifteen pounds. I'd worked out that now I knew how they wanted them, and if I was lucky, I ought to make at least fifty pounds a year. Then in ten years I would be able to go to America and have the operation. And then," she giggled delightedly,
    "I had a terrific stroke of luck. I went over to Crab Key. I'd been there before, but this was just before Christmas, and I found these purple shells.
    They didn't look very exciting, but I sent one or two to Miami and the man wrote back at once and said he could take as many as I could get at five dollars each for the whole ones. He said that I must keep the place where they live a dead secret as otherwise we'd what he called 'spoil the market' and the price would get cheaper. It's just like having one's private gold mine. Now I may be able to save up the money in five years. That's why I was so suspicious of you when I found you on my beach. I thought you'd come to steal my shells."
    Chapter XII - The Thing.
    The man came closer. The other three closed up behind him. Hate shone redly in their eyes. The leading man lifted a clenched fist as big as a small ham and held it under Bond's nose. He was controlling himself with an effort. He said tensely, "Listen, mister. Sometimes us boys is allowed to join in the fun at the end. I'm just praying this'll be one of those times. Once we made it last a whole week. An, Jees, if I get you..." He broke off. His eyes were alight with cruelty. He looked past Bond at the girl. The eyes became mouths that licked their lips. He wiped his hands down the sides of his trousers. The tip of his tongue showed pinkly between the purple lips. He turned to the other three. "What say, fellers?"
    The three men were also looking at the girl. They nodded dumbly, like children in front of a Christmas tree.
    Bond longed to run berserk among them, laying into their faces with his manacled wrists, accepting their bloody revenge. But for the girl he would have done it. Now all he had achieved with his brave words was to get her frightened. He said, "All right, all right. You're four and we're two and we've got our hands tied. Come on. We won't hurt you. Just don't push us around too much. Doctor No might not be pleased."

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,978
    Goldfinger, Ian Fleming, 1959.
    Chapter Two - Living It Up
    Mr Du Font's sensitive eye caught Bond's glance at his watch. He consulted his own. 'My, oh my! Seven o'clock and here I've been talking away without coming to the point. Now, see here, Mr Bond. I've got me a problem on which I'd greatly appreciate your guidance. If you can spare me the time and if you were counting on stopping over in Miami tonight I'd reckon it a real favour if you'd allow me to be your host.' Mr Du Pont held up his hand. 'Now, I think I can promise to make you comfortable.
    So happens I own a piece of the Floridiana. Maybe you heard we opened around Christmas time? Doing a great business I'm happy to say. Really pushing that little old Fountain Blue,' Mr Du Pont laughed indulgently.
    'That's what we call the Fontainebleau down here. Now, what do you say, Mr Bond? You shall have the best suite - even if it. means putting some good paying customers out on the sidewalk. And you'd be doing me a real favour.' Mr Du Pont looked imploring.

    Bond had already decided to accept - blind. Whatever Mr Du Font's problem - blackmail, gangsters, women - it would be some typical form of rich man's worry. Here was a slice of the easy life he had been asking for. Take it.

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 12,978
    For Your Eyes Only, Ian Fleming, 1960.
    "For Your Eyes Only"
    Colonel Havelock looked over the top of his Daily Gleaner. "Who?"

    "Pyramus and Daphnis."

    "Oh, yes." Colonel Havelock thought the names idiotic. He said: "It looks to me as if Batista will be on the run soon. Castro's keeping up the pressure pretty well. Chap at Barclay's told me this morning that there's a lot of funk money coming over here already. Said that Belair's been sold to nominees.
    One hundred and fifty thousand pounds for a thousand acres of cattle-tick and a house the red ants'll have down by Christmas!
    Somebody's suddenly gone and bought that ghastly Blue Harbour hotel, and there's even talk that Jimmy Farquharson has found a buyer for his place — leaf-spot and Panama disease thrown in for good measure, I suppose."

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