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Thanks, I'll look into him; much appreciated @johntitor1.
They were largely unknown until the early 60's. I think they were just small time hoods during the period that Fleming wrote DAF.
Fleming may have heard about them in any case. Will need to read more.
And rather interestingly, John Pearson wrote an early book on the Krays called The Profession of Violence and later he went on to write two more books on the Krays. Interestingly, they chose John Pearson as their biographer, not the other way around.
The Crays are a good choice though...
Yes, it probably was.
Look at Irma Bunt, Helga Brandt, Hans, the blond guys at Piz Gloria and so on....
Real world intelligence agencies have worked "hand in hand" with gangsters in real life, They make great assets and give alphabet groups a buffer and help with the whole plausible deniability issues in certain operations, also good for intel, a-la Draco in OHMSS. Mr. Big in LALD the novel was a gangster but also a SMERSH asset. I would say gangster characters are no where near out of place for a spy thriller.
Fleming was much less interested in Italian villains than in German ones. German blood is basically a guarantee of evil in Fleming's world. Even his evil British and American characters--Major Smythe and Milton Krest--turn out to have German ancestry!
Good observations and I understand the line gets blurry sometimes.
Good point @Revelator. considering that Fleming's father died in the First World War and he himself served in the Second would explain much. Many Brits who had memories of the two wars felt this way. Even the Queen Mother harbored a deep seeded prejudice against Germans.
Also mistrusted people with moustaches
That's a common trope in fiction. Didn't Serafino Spang have red hair too?
No, but Scaramanga did. The list is long enough to suggest that Fleming had a definite dislike of red hair. None of the Bond girls has it. The film of DAF is oddly true to Fleming when Connery's Bond expresses distaste for redheads.
And she was from a German family! The Thrilling Cities chapter on Berlin confirms your comment: Fleming writes "From this grim capital went forth the orders that in 1917 killed my father and in 1940 my youngest brother." His girlfriend Muriel Wright was also killed by German bombers.
Fleming's understandable grudge against the Germans was balanced by a degree of cultural affinity--he was fluent in German (his desert island book was a German translation of War and Peace), enjoyed German culture, and in Thunderball called the Germany "the most gifted country in Europe." Yet I cannot think of many good Germans in the Bond books, aside from Oberhauser. Even Vivienne's boyfriend Kurt in TSWLM is a stereotypical German: inhumanly efficient and creepy.
a very formidable adversary in the American gangsters.