Bookspotting: The Man With The Golden Typewriter

The Man With the Golden Typewriter is a collection of Ian Fleming’s correspondence relating to the Bond novels. It’s a hefty tome, but well-organized and an interesting peek into the state of the fiction publishing industry in the late 1950s and early 1960s, as well as Fleming’s personality.

Fleming was a likeable old sod, despite his flaws, and with a charming habit of thanking various helpers by naming related characters after them. His correspondence with the real-life version of Major Boothroyd (Bond’s armourer, introduced in Dr. No and only later called “Q”)  was particularly memorable. The flesh-and-blood version was a gun enthusiast in Scotland who wrote an articulate and impassioned letter to Fleming deploring Bond’s choice of sidearm in the early books, complete with facts and figures about muzzle velocity and whatnot. Fleming, v. appreciative of the advice, entered into a long-time correspondence with Boothroyd on that subject and, eventually, Boothroyd was hired on by Cubby Broccoli as a consultant to the Bond films on the same subject.

It’s not a book to read in a couple of binge sessions, but best kept by the bed (or in your commute bag) and enjoyed over an extended period of time, lest everything blur together and lose coherence.

If you’re a fan of the Bond novels and want to learn more about the man who wrote them, this one’s a must-read.

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