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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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... sensational, even spectacularly so, but at the same time are sheltered and placid, full of cosy routines, just like sitting down to tea in the nursery. Something like that seems to have gone on with IanFleming. 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 ...

Bond Girl

Fiona Pitt-Kethley

16 March 1989
... factory-like, grey aluminium, vast and always closed. Presumably that’s where they smash up all the speedboats, cars and bikes we jealous viewers never could afford. I quite enjoyed the books. IanFleming 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 ...

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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... a second-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 IanFleming’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 ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Spies Wanted

17 July 2008
... consequences. Does it stand up?’ A means of escape from the grim realities of 21st-century espionage is at hand in Devil May Care, the new James Bond novel by Sebastian Faulks ‘writing as IanFleming’ (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 ...

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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... his 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 IanFleming’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 ...
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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... at the 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 IanFleming-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 ...

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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... rich source of names. According to Bond, the Sooty Tern is also known as the Egg Bird; Booby; Bubí; Hurricane Bird; Gaviota Oscura; Gaviota Monja; Oiseau Fou; Touaou. But when the keen birdwatcher IanFleming 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 ...

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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... somewhat left of centre: as his choice of a private-eye hero makes clear, he is nearer to the acrostic or detective-story end of the spectrum than he is to the relatively straightforward adventure (IanFleming, 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 ...
17 July 1980
The Wanton Chase 
by Peter Quennell.
Collins, 192 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 00 216526 0
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... more skilfully linked occasional essays on literary and social themes, The Sign of the Fish. Many 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 IanFleming (who ‘good-naturedly accepted me, no doubt because I was neither a wild bohemian nor a rampant homosexual’). Much of this is ground ...
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 ...

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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... years later, his discreet and highly redacted The Man Who Never Was became a film, in which he played 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 ...

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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... twenty-five years as the discriminating reader’s favourite thriller writer. The BBC’s adaptations of the George Smiley trilogy in 1979 and 1982 made him almost overnight a popular author on the IanFleming 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 ...
14 November 1996
Hugh Gaitskell 
by Brian​ Brivati.
Cohen, 492 pp., £25, September 1996, 1 86066 073 8
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... all 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 IanFleming’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 ...

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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... he helped to write. Which reminds me that among the contributors listed at the front of this Companion I see the name of Penelope Fitgerald – not, however, to be found in the body of the book. Why IanFleming 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 ...

A Very Modern Man

Edmund Gordon: William Boyd

8 March 2012
Waiting for Sunrise 
by William Boyd.
Bloomsbury, 368 pp., £18.99, February 2012, 978 1 4088 1774 2
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... about Oxford and London with the likes of Cyril Connolly and Henry Green, reports on the Spanish Civil War from Barcelona (where he gets drunk with Hemingway), is recruited to Naval Intelligence by IanFleming and dispatched to Portugal to spy on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, becomes a prisoner of war in Switzerland, takes a job running an art gallery in New York (which brings him into contact ...

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