This is a question that comes into my mind every now and then and now seems as good a time as any to make a thread about it as I'm writing a little something on Ian Fleming's Octopussy and The Living Daylights
(1966) Jonathan Cape first edition short story collection. I'm not really sure of the answer to this question, either, so I think a new thread is the only way forward. :)
Basically, I'm wondering why Glidrose (now IFP, the literary copyright holders of the literary James Bond) chose to omit the third short story 'The Property of A Lady' (1963) from the two short stories already collected in Octopussy and The Living Daylights
. It is a case of three Bond stories selling better than two surely? They could have just titled the three story collection Octopussy
as the 1967 Pan paperback edition which finally included 'The Property of A Lady' was of course titled. The Wikipedia page on the short story collection has the following introduction which neatly explains where all of the short stories were published or adapted initially before inclusion in the expanded Octopussy
short story collection by various publishers between 1967 and the inclusion of '007 in New York' in 2002:
Octopussy and The Living Daylights (sometimes published as Octopussy) is the fourteenth and final James Bond book written by Ian Fleming in the Bond series. The book is a collection of short stories published posthumously in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape on 23 June 1966.
The book originally contained just two stories, "Octopussy" and "The Living Daylights", with subsequent editions also carrying firstly "The Property of a Lady" and then "007 in New York". The stories were first published in different publications, with "Octopussy" first serialised in the Daily Express in October 1965. "The Living Daylights" had first appeared in The Sunday Times on 4 February 1962; "The Property of a Lady" was published in November 1963 in a Sotheby's publication, The Ivory Hammer, whilst "007 in New York" first appeared in the New York Herald Tribune in October 1963.
From this excerpt we can see that 'The Property of A Lady' was initially commissioned by Sotheby's and published in their The Ivory Hammer
in 1963. The first edition hardback of Octopussy and The Living Daylights
was not published until 23 June 1966 in the UK. That's a good three years but for some reason Glidrose decided to not include 'The Property of A Lady' in the first edition but to presumably save it (for whatever reason) for the inevitable Pan paperback edition which quickly followed the next year, in 1967.
I do recall that the original 1967 Pan paperback edition (just called Octopussy
due to the extra short story inside the covers) had on the back in bold lettering 'The first time in paperback, this BOND BONUS from PAN - 'The Property of A Lady', or words to that effect. Perhaps this is the main clue as to why it wasn't included in the Jonathan Cape hardback first edition; Glidrose decided to keep it back to have something new for the cheaper Pan paperback edition the following year as they this would be the very last of original Fleming Bond in book form.
Another possible idea for why 'The Property of A Lady' was not included in the Cape first edition may have been to do with literary rights as Sotheby's commissioned the short story for The Ivory Hammer
in 1963 and so perhaps they had an exclusivity deal with Fleming and Glidrose that it wouldn't be published elsewhere for "X" amount of time.
Yet another thought which comes to me just now is that Fleming famously refused payment from Sotheby's for 'The Property of A Lady' as he felt it was not up to his usual standard. That was a very honorable thing to do, and it could be another reason why Glidrose (perhaps at the behest of Peter Fleming?) chose not to include the story in the first edition at the very least. Could be.
So, those are my thoughts on Glidrose's reasoning for not including 'The Property of A Lady' in the Octopussy and The Living Daylights
collection and waiting until the Pan paperback edition some four years later to publish it in book form. Perhaps someone out there knows more about this, or can give their views on this matter which I find rather fascinating. :)