Author: Ian Fleming
Publication date: 5th April 1954
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Cover artist: Kenneth Lewis
1954 saw the publication of Live And Let Die, set in the US and Fleming’s second home of Jamaica. Full of imagination, it saw a change of pace from the previous book with its descriptions of gambling and paved the way for Bond as an action hero.
Also see: the James Bond books
Mixing voodoo with pirate treasure and SMERSH, the book is the first to introduce Fleming’s fascination with the ocean and once in Jamaica is full of local colour.
The film of the same name was the first to star Roger Moore and like most of the films had very little to do with the book beyond sharing the names of the villain, Mr Big, and the girl, Solitaire.
Interestingly enough, a scene where Bond and Solitaire are dragged behind a boat over a shark infested reef was later used in the film For Your Eyes Only, and Licence to Kill starring Timothy Dalton was quite obviously, but loosely, based on the book.
007 is sent to New York, where he is again teamed up with CIA agent Felix Leiter, who takes Bond to a number of nightspots in Harlem. They later follow a lead that takes them to St Petersburg in Florida. Finally, Bond sets off to Jamaica for a showdown with Mr Big.
Bond drives his Bentley to the office for an early morning meeting with M. Fleming describes it as “the 1933 4 ½-litre with the Amherst-Villiers supercharger”.
After exhausting his supply of Morlands, Bond switches to King Size Chesterfields.
After being Americanised by the FBI most of Bond’s belongings are forwarded to Jamaica. However, he keeps his Beretta .25 with the skeleton grip and chamois leather shoulder-holster. Later he carries it under his wetsuit when he dives to the Isle of Surprise.
Bond’s battered Ronson is replaced by a plain Zippo lighter.
The FBI provide a light-weight Hartmann ‘Skymate’ suitcase. The company was founded in 1877 and continues to produce luxury suitcases today.
Bond wears a tie-clip from Swank. The company has been in existence since 1897 and continues to provide men’s jewellery, belts and leather accessories.
He is supplied with an alligator-skin billfold from Mark Cross, a company founded in 1845.
Fleming mentions Rolex for the first time. Although he dives with it there is no suggestion it is a Submariner, as worn in the early films.
Champion harpoon gun
Bond asks Strangways for the Admiralty to send various equipment, including a couple of harpoons gun supplied by French manufacturer Champion.
He also asks for a commando dagger. When it arrives Fleming notes “it is of the type devised by Wilkinsons during the war”. This is the Fairbairn–Sykes fighting knife, also referred to as the British Commando knife.