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John Bayley, 9 September 1993

The Life of Ian Fleming 
by Donald McCormick.
Peter Owen, 231 pp., £18.50, July 1993, 0 7206 0888 0
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... just like sitting down to tea in the nursery. Something like that seems to have gone on with Ian Fleming. One could hardly say that his fantasy life with James Bond was a case of straightforward compensation. Employers courted him; he charmed the bosses; girls fell over each other to get to bed with him. Or so it seemed, and still seems to his ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Spies Wanted, 17 July 2008

... espionage is at hand in Devil May Care, the new James Bond novel by Sebastian Faulks ‘writing as Ian Fleming’ (Penguin, £18.99). ‘Picking up where Fleming left off’ when he died in 1964, Faulks transports his readers back to a time when men were men (or at least Bond was), women could escape from prison by ...

Bond Girl

Fiona Pitt-Kethley, 16 March 1989

... the speedboats, cars and bikes we jealous viewers never could afford. I quite enjoyed the books. Ian Fleming wrote well. I could identify a touch with Bond, liking to have adventure in my life. The girls were something else. All that they earned for being perfect samples of their kind – Black, Asian, White – blonde, redhead or ...

Bang-Bang, Kiss-Kiss

Christian Lorentzen: Bond, 3 December 2015

Spectre 
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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... 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 Pierce Brosnan.) Craig’s Bond is tougher than any ...

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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... 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 indulges in these reflections – Bond drinks ...

Constable’s Plenty

John Barrell, 15 August 1991

Constable 
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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... 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. Constable is a catalogue, nothing more. It ...

I, Lowborn Cur

Colin Burrow: Literary Names, 22 November 2012

Literary Names: Personal Names in English Literature 
by Alastair Fowler.
Oxford, 283 pp., £19.99, September 2012, 978 0 19 959222 7
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... Hurricane Bird; Gaviota Oscura; Gaviota Monja; Oiseau Fou; Touaou. But when the keen birdwatcher Ian Fleming needed a name that sounded as ordinary as possible, he had to look no further than the title page of Bond’s great work. Why does the name of an actual ornithologist sound so right as the name of a fictional spy? Why couldn’t ...

Carré on spying

John Sutherland, 3 April 1986

A Perfect Spy 
by John le Carré.
Hodder, 463 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 9780340387849
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The Novels of John le Carré 
by David Monaghan.
Blackwell, 207 pp., £12.50, September 1985, 0 631 14283 5
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Taking sides: The Fiction of John le Carré 
by Tony Barley.
Open University, 175 pp., £20, March 1986, 0 335 15251 1
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John le Carré 
by Peter Lewis.
Ungar, 228 pp., £10.95, August 1985, 0 8044 2243 5
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A Servant’s Tale 
by Paula Fox.
Virago, 321 pp., £9.95, February 1986, 0 86068 702 3
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A State of Independence 
by Caryl Phillips.
Faber, 158 pp., £8.95, February 1986, 0 571 13910 8
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... of the George Smiley trilogy in 1979 and 1982 made him almost overnight a popular author on the Ian Fleming scale, and it can have done no harm that the TV version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy coincided with the Blunt scandal. Now, as a rite of academic canonisation, three critical monographs have been published which respectfully analyse his ...

Astrid, Clio and Julia

Alan Bell, 17 July 1980

The Wanton Chase 
by Peter Quennell.
Collins, 192 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 00 216526 0
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... of his portraits are of the beau monde: Lady Cunard and Nancy, Lord Berners, the Duff Coopers, Mrs Fleming and her successive husbands Lord Rothermere and Ian Fleming (who ‘good-naturedly accepted me, no doubt because I was neither a wild bohemian nor a rampant homosexual’). Much of this is ground that others have ...

Bernie’s War

Philip Purser, 23 May 1991

A German Requiem 
by Philip Kerr.
Viking, 306 pp., £13.99, March 1991, 0 670 83516 1
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... or detective-story end of the spectrum than he is to the relatively straightforward adventure (Ian Fleming, Geoffrey Household, Jack Higgins), in which the difficulties and dangers of the mission are more important than its secrets. He still needs to send his hero into danger, he still needs an active climax, but he has also got to disentangle the ...

Lady Rothermere’s Fan

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 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,’ Ann Fleming 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 magnum of pink champagne. He was very happy. I lied and told him that all the upper class were beautiful and intelligent and he must not allow his vermin to destroy them ...

Digging up the Ancestors

R.W. Johnson, 14 November 1996

Hugh Gaitskell 
by Brian Brivati.
Cohen, 492 pp., £25, September 1996, 1 86066 073 8
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... 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. Ann Fleming was a wealthy Tory – she had been married to Lord ...

Whose Body?

Charles Glass: ‘Operation Mincemeat’, 22 July 2010

Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of World War Two 
by Ben Macintyre.
Bloomsbury, 400 pp., £16.99, January 2010, 978 0 7475 9868 8
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... a cameo role as an air-force officer who questions the wisdom of the scheme. In the meantime, Ian Colvin, a journalist whose investigation into the wartime coup had prompted Montagu to come out first with his authorised version, published The Unknown Courier. So the tale has been told before, but Ben Macintyre has done a more thorough and readable job of ...

A Bit of a Lush

Christopher Tayler: William Boyd, 23 May 2002

Any Human Heart 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 504 pp., £17.99, April 2002, 9780241141779
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... and Paris brings a meeting with James Joyce. His wartime boss at Naval Intelligence is, of course, Ian Fleming, who sends him to keep an eye on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in the Bahamas – and so on. In his opening preamble Mountstuart announces that he has made ‘no excisions designed to conceal errors of judgment (“;The Japanese would never ...

Major and Minor

Frank Kermode, 6 June 1985

The Oxford Companion to English Literature 
edited by Margaret Drabble.
Oxford, 1155 pp., £15, April 1985, 0 19 866130 4
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... I see the name of Penelope Fitgerald – not, however, to be found in the body of the book. Why Ian Fleming and not, say, Gavin Ewart? Why Alfred Noyes and not Olivia Manning? Why not both A.S. Byatt and Margaret Drabble? Doubtless for all sorts of reasons. Why Tannhäuser and not Parsifal? Why summarise The Shaving of Shagpat and not Living or ...

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