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7 November 1985
The Letters of Ann​ Fleming 
edited by Mark Amory.
Collins, 448 pp., £16.50, October 1985, 0 00 217059 0
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... We missed you at Chantilly,’ AnnFleming wrote to Evelyn Waugh in 1956, after she’d been to visit Diana Cooper in France. ‘Mr Gaitskell came to lunch and fell in love with Diana ... He had never seen cocktails with mint in them or a ...
14 November 1996
Hugh Gaitskell 
by Brian Brivati.
Cohen, 492 pp., £25, September 1996, 1 86066 073 8
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... from his enjoyment of women. Brivati thinks that he and Dora Gaitskell may have had an arrangement which allowed for his probably quite numerous affairs, particularly his long relationship with Ian Fleming’s wife, Ann – certainly the Gaitskells often dined with one or both Flemings, making one wonder quite what the mutual understandings were. AnnFleming was a wealthy Tory – she had been married ...


Mary-Kay Wilmers

29 October 1987
Tears before Bedtime 
by Barbara Skelton.
Hamish Hamilton, 205 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 241 12326 7
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In the Pink 
by Caroline Blackwood.
Bloomsbury, 164 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 7475 0050 9
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... You must explain to me why Cyril wants Barbara,’ Evelyn Waugh wrote to AnnFleming in September 1955, a year after Barbara Skelton’s marriage to Cyril Connolly had formally ended. ‘It’s not as though she were rich or a good housekeeper or the mother of his children.’ The ...

Bond in Torment

John Lanchester: James Bond

5 September 2002
From Russia with Love, Dr No and Goldfinger 
by Ian Fleming.
Penguin, 640 pp., £10.99, April 2002, 0 14 118680 1
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... rate motor salesman, or a yellow-press journalist, pickled in alcohol and nicotine,’ James Bond tells himself about halfway through From Russia with Love, the fifth and perhaps the best of Ian Fleming’s thrillers. This sounds like good advice, but it does raise one large issue: what exactly counts as being ‘pickled’? Flying from London to Istanbul – the journey in the course of which Bond ...

Why we have them I can’t think

Rosemary Hill: ‘Mrs Woolf and the Servants’

16 August 2007
Mrs Woolf and the Servants: The Hidden Heart of Domestic Service 
by Alison Light.
Fig Tree, 376 pp., £20, August 2007, 978 0 670 86717 2
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... AnnFleming once remarked that she was so depressed that ‘last night I would have put my head in the gas oven, if I wasn’t too frightened of the cook to go into the kitchen.’ The uneasy balance of power ...

Bang-Bang, Kiss-Kiss

Christian Lorentzen: Bond

3 December 2015
directed by Sam Mendes.
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The Man with the Golden Typewriter: Ian Fleming’s James Bond Letters 
edited by Fergus Fleming.
Bloomsbury, 391 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 1 4088 6547 7
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Ian FlemingA Personal Memoir 
by Robert Harling.
Robson, 372 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 84 95493 65 1
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... revenge on the usurping adoptive brother, we know from the presence of a white cat that Oberhauser will reveal himself to be Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the sinister mastermind familiar from three of Ian Fleming’s later novels and from his showdowns with the Bonds played by Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Roger Moore. (Copyright issues prevented any showdowns with Bond as played by Timothy Dalton and ...
6 February 1997
The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh 
edited by Charlotte Mosley.
Hodder, 531 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 340 63804 4
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... with a well-born wife to look after the cows, dividing his time between the local cinema and his study in Piers Court, where he corresponds with wealthy, witty ladies (Mitford takes turns with AnnFleming and Diana Cooper) who keep him au fait with the doings of vile bodies in the world from which he has withdrawn. The postal service is so good that a letter from Mitford in postwar Paris telling of ...


Paul Foot: The Buttocks Problem

5 September 1996
... Earl Jellicoe. I recall the outraged indignation of the young Hume Shawcross, son of Lord Shawcross, who travelled to the offices of Private Eye to spill the beans. Also expelled was Caspar, son of AnnFleming, whose influence in high society was legendary. In White’s and Brooks’s and at the Carlton the conversation turned invariably to ‘the flogger they’ve got in charge of Eton’. There ...
15 August 1991
by Leslie Parris and Ian Fleming-Williams.
Tate Gallery, 544 pp., £45, June 1991, 1 85437 071 5
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Romatic Ecology: Wordsworth and the Environmental Tradition 
by Jonathan Bate.
Routledge, 131 pp., £8.99, May 1991, 0 415 06116 4
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... Tate in June is probably the glossiest, the heaviest, the most unwieldy volume ever to accompany an exhibition of the work of a British artist. It is also one of the dullest. Leslie Parris and Ian Fleming-Williams have resisted the tendency of the last fifteen years or so by which the catalogues of major exhibitions have often been presented as major interpretative studies of the artist and his times ...
20 June 1985
... him up accurately as a dangerous arriviste. He was not invited to Hatfield, Houghton, Hardwick or Holkham. His intimate friends were déclassé aristocrats: Lady Diana Duff Cooper, Nancy Mitford, AnnFleming, spirited women who had broken out of the suffocating embrace of eligible matches and estates. His clothes were sometimes a comical caricature of what a country gentleman and former officer ...


A.N. Wilson

14 May 1992
Evelyn Waugh: No Abiding City 1939-1966 
by Martin Stannard.
Dent, 523 pp., £25, April 1992, 0 460 86062 3
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... with the Californian embalmers: but in this case, he approached the relic of the great Jesuit missionary in full seriousness. He was tolerant of the agnosticism of his female friends, such as AnnFleming, Diana Cooper and Nancy Mitford. But he became obsessed by trying to convert John Betjeman to his own faith, and bombarded the poet with furious injunctions to submit. ‘If you try to base your life ...

‘This in no wise omit’

Tom Bingham: Habeas Corpus

7 October 2010
Habeas Corpus: From England to Empire 
by Paul Halliday.
Harvard, 502 pp., £29.95, March 2010, 978 0 674 04901 7
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... who is restrained of his liberty’. It was a remedy developed, primarily, in the court of King’s (and Queen’s) Bench, which was not modest in its pretensions. ‘This court,’ Sir Thomas Fleming said, ‘is the jurisdiction of the queen herself. It is so high that in its presence other jurisdictions cease.’ It had, according to Coke in 1615, ‘the survey of all other courts’. Lord ...

Yak Sandwiches

Christopher Burns

31 March 1988
by John Murray.
Aidan Ellis, 233 pp., £10.50, October 1987, 0 85628 167 0
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Absurd Courage 
by Nobuko Albery.
Century, 254 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 7126 1149 5
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by Ann​ Schlee.
Macmillan, 302 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 333 45633 5
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The Part of Fortune 
by Laurel Goldman.
Faber, 249 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 571 14921 9
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In the Fertile Land 
by Gabriel Josipovici.
Carcanet, 212 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 85635 716 2
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... at each other, organise Redon exhibitions, exhibit Vuitton suitcases, and not a meal goes by without its components being carefully itemised. Product names litter the text as thickly as in any Ian Fleming. The author is Japanese, fluent, it seems, in both English and French; like John Murray, she is alive to those periods of adjustment and stress when cultures meet. There are some nicely-judged ...

I only want the OM

Christopher Tayler: Somerset Maugham

1 September 2005
Somerset Maugham: A Life 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Vintage, 411 pp., £12, April 2005, 1 4000 3052 8
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... didn’t either, but even he was made to feel uncomfortable after calling someone ‘a pansy with a stammer’ in Maugham’s presence. On another occasion, Maugham ‘gave him an icy stare’ as AnnFleming – wife of Ian – chastised him ‘by banging a serving spoon on his offensively prominent ear trumpet’. Christopher Isherwood, on the other hand, found that Maugham’s stammer ...


Rosemary Hill: Rosamund Lehmann’s Disappointments

8 August 2002
Rosamond Lehmann 
by Selina Hastings.
Chatto, 476 pp., £25, June 2002, 0 7011 6542 1
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... After that, Lehmann’s love affairs repeated the same exasperating pattern in ever more rapid cycles, and having passed from tragedy to romantic comedy they whirled on into farce. A fling with Ian Fleming ended badly when he accidentally double-booked her in his house in Jamaica with his wife, Ann. ‘She was unbelievably rude to me,’ Lehmann noted, hurt. Fleming’s attempt to amuse her by throwing ...

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