Author(s): Fergus Fleming
On 16 August 1952, Ian Fleming wrote to his wife, Ann, 'My love, This is only a tiny letter to try out my new typewriter and to see if it will write golden words since it is made of gold'. He had bought the gold-plated typewriter as a present to himself for finishing his first novel, Casino Royale. It marked in glamorous style the arrival of James Bond, agent 007, and the start of a career that saw Fleming become one of the world's most celebrated thriller writers. And he did write golden words. Before his death in 1964 he produced fourteen bestselling Bond books, two works of non-fiction and the famous children's story Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. Fleming's output was matched by an equally energetic flow of letters. He wrote constantly, to his wife, publisher, editors, fans, friends and critics, charting 007's progress with correspondence that ranged from badgering Jonathan Cape about his quota of free copies -- a coin was tossed; Fleming lost - to apologising for having mistaken a certain brand of perfume and for equipping Bond with the wrong kind of gun. His letters also reflect his friendships with contemporaries such as Raymond Chandler, Noel Coward and Somerset Maugham. Before the world-famous films came the world-famous novels. This books tells the story of the man who wrote them and how he created spy fiction's most compelling hero.
The witty and engaging letters of the man who created the world's most famous spy - James Bond
Shortlisted for Crimefest H. R. F. Keating Award 2016.
Ian Fleming writes with a kind of pushing, bloodcurdling elegance. His thrillers are models of fastidious murder New York Times Fleming is splendid; he stops at nothing New Statesman Entertaining and revealing The Times Constantly entertaining ... still so much here to amuse and inform ... But it is Fleming's replies to his picky readers that supply the most fun ... The most sobering and self-effacing appraisal of Fleming's achievements emerges from his correspondence with Raymond Chandler, to which Fergus Fleming devotes a brilliant chapter Observer It has great appeal ... These friendly, knockabout letters are a treat, although the steely eyed attention of the editors makes it difficult to go back to the Bond books with a straight face ... Writing to fans and friends, Fleming is modest, quick-witted and able to stand at substantial ironic distance from the books he refers to as "opuscula" Sunday Telegraph To anyone who has ever worked on a book - writing one, editing one, marketing one, publishing one - or, heck, even just read one, this volume is a giant stalk of catnip ... Irresistible... Fergus Fleming, Ian's nephew and an author in his own right, writes the introduction and serves as the collection's Jeeves throughout, providing his services when droll and illuminating context is required but otherwise quietly stepping out of the way New York Times A revelation ... The letters are full of good jokes ... Interesting and entertaining -- Nicholas Lezard Guardian
Fergus Fleming is Ian Fleming's nephew. He is the author of several other non-fiction books including Barrow's Boys, Killing Dragons and Ninety Degrees North. He is also the co-publisher of Queen Anne Press.