Author: Ian Fleming
Publication date: 23rd June 1966
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Cover artist: Richard Chopping
This book is a collection of previously published short stories. The first, Octopussy, is a conversation between Bond and a treacherous retired Royal Marine Major. The Major, living in Jamaica and seriously ill, is clearly based on Fleming himself, in fragile health when the story was written.
The Property Of A Lady is a story based at Sotheby’s and was added to later editions of the book, while The Living Daylights is a gripping story of Bond waiting to assassinate a Soviet sniper. This story is used in a short sequence of the film The Living Daylights, with Timothy Dalton.
Recent editions of the paperback also features 007 in New York, previously unpublished in the UK although found in the US edition of Thrilling Cities.
What we say
With no more unfinished Ian Fleming manuscripts to publish, Glidrose Productions collected a couple of previously published short stories for a second posthumous book.
The first of these, “Octopussy”, is far from a typical Bond adventure and features a character, much like Fleming himself, living on the north shore of Jamaica and numbing himself with alcohol as he waits out his remaining days. His life is turned upside down with the arrival of James Bond at his door. The story previously appeared in the Daily Express in October 1965.
On the other hand “The Living Daylights” is probably the best Fleming short. First published in the Sunday Times in February 1962, the story is set in West Berlin before the construction of the wall and concerns Bond’s tense wait for a defector to make the run across the wasteland that separates east from west. The Russians have been tipped off and have a sniper waiting on the other side.
In 1967 a third story, “The Property of a Lady” was added to paperback editions. It had first appeared in Sotheby’s annual journal, The Ivory Hammer, in November 1963.
Finally, in 2002, a fourth short was added to the collection. “007 in New York” first appeared in the New York Herald Tribune (as “Agent 007 in New York”) in October 1963 and features James Bond’s own recipe for scrambled eggs. It also appeared in the US edition of Thrilling Cities to balance Fleming’s harsh comments about New York.
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