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Octopussy And The Living Daylights and Other Stories

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Librarian Note: This is most likely one of the editions that includes the fourth story, 007 in New York. To see the other editions with only three stories, see https://www.goodreads.com/work/editio... Whether it is tracking down a wayward major who has taken a deadly secret with him to the Caribbean or identifying a top Russian agent secretly bidding for a Fabergé egg in a Librarian Note: This is most likely one of the editions that includes the fourth story, 007 in New York. To see the other editions with only three stories, see https://www.goodreads.com/work/editio... Whether it is tracking down a wayward major who has taken a deadly secret with him to the Caribbean or identifying a top Russian agent secretly bidding for a Fabergé egg in a Sotheby’s auction room, Bond always closes the case—with extreme prejudice. This new Penguin edition comprises four stories, including  Fleming’s little-known story “007 in New York,” showcasing Bond’s taste for Manhattan’s special pleasures—from martinis at the Plaza and dinner at the Grand Central Oyster Bar to the perfect anonymity of the Central Park Zoo for a secret rendezvous.


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Librarian Note: This is most likely one of the editions that includes the fourth story, 007 in New York. To see the other editions with only three stories, see https://www.goodreads.com/work/editio... Whether it is tracking down a wayward major who has taken a deadly secret with him to the Caribbean or identifying a top Russian agent secretly bidding for a Fabergé egg in a Librarian Note: This is most likely one of the editions that includes the fourth story, 007 in New York. To see the other editions with only three stories, see https://www.goodreads.com/work/editio... Whether it is tracking down a wayward major who has taken a deadly secret with him to the Caribbean or identifying a top Russian agent secretly bidding for a Fabergé egg in a Sotheby’s auction room, Bond always closes the case—with extreme prejudice. This new Penguin edition comprises four stories, including  Fleming’s little-known story “007 in New York,” showcasing Bond’s taste for Manhattan’s special pleasures—from martinis at the Plaza and dinner at the Grand Central Oyster Bar to the perfect anonymity of the Central Park Zoo for a secret rendezvous.

30 review for Octopussy And The Living Daylights and Other Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jayson

    (B+) 76% | Good Notes: James Bond, in each episode, searches for people: to apprehend, to identify, to shoot and to warn, with mixed results.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    SCRAMBLED EGGS ‘JAMES BOND’ - 12 fresh eggs - Salt and pepper - 5-6 oz. of fresh butter Break the eggs into a bowl. Beat thoroughly with a fork and season well. In a small copper (or heavy bottomed saucepan) melt four oz. of the butter. When melted, pour in the eggs and cook over a very low heat, whisking continuously with a small egg whisk. While the eggs are slightly more moist than you would wish for eating, remove the pan from heat, add rest of butter and continue whisking for half a minute, addi SCRAMBLED EGGS ‘JAMES BOND’ - 12 fresh eggs - Salt and pepper - 5-6 oz. of fresh butter Break the eggs into a bowl. Beat thoroughly with a fork and season well. In a small copper (or heavy bottomed saucepan) melt four oz. of the butter. When melted, pour in the eggs and cook over a very low heat, whisking continuously with a small egg whisk. While the eggs are slightly more moist than you would wish for eating, remove the pan from heat, add rest of butter and continue whisking for half a minute, adding the while finely chopped chives or fine herbs. Serve on hot buttered toast in individual copper dishes (for appearance only) with pink champagne (Taittinger) and low music. This recipe for eggs is included with the last short story in this book, 007 in New York. After reading this, I could only say “James Bond eats 12 eggs at a time! That’s impressive!” Only Cool Hand Luke has a more impressive egg eating resume. This book collection of short stories was the last Ian Fleming James Bond release. It was also released posthumously . You will recognize the titles of two of the short stories from the movie series and some of the elements you see in the movies did come from here. But, in the grand scheme of things, the connection is only minor. OCTOPUSSY – 3 out of 5 stars This one is not much about Bond – of the close to 50 pages, he is only in it for 4 or 5. It is a decent story about a good guy going bad and what happens in the aftermath. And, in this case, (view spoiler)[ Octopussy is actually an octopus! (hide spoiler)] THE PROPERTY OF A LADY – 4 out of 5 stars This contains an element I remember the most from the movie, Octopussy: a Fabergé Egg. Other than the story having the egg in it, I cannot remember if any of the other elements/plot points were in the movie. I guess it is time for a re-watch! THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS – 4 out of 5 stars I seem to be reading and watching lots of stories that take place in Cold War era Berlin lately. I cannot remember if the movie version of this story had anything to do with Cold War Berlin, but it does include Bond encountering a blonde Cello player, which was in the movie. 007 IN NEW YORK – 2 out of 5 stars This is basically Fleming’s hate letter to New York. If you love New York and you want to continue liking Fleming and Bond, you may want to avoid this story!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    This is to Ian Fleming’s Bond stories as Coda is to Led Zeppelin – a thin collection of what’s left after it’s over. Led Zeppelin was no more after the demise of their drummer John Bonham in 1980. Coda was released in 1982 featuring a collection of previously unreleased tracks from various sessions throughout the band’s twelve-year reign as metal gods. Ian Fleming passed away in 1964 and Octopussy and The Living Daylights was published posthumously in 1966 after Fleming had taken the world by sto This is to Ian Fleming’s Bond stories as Coda is to Led Zeppelin – a thin collection of what’s left after it’s over. Led Zeppelin was no more after the demise of their drummer John Bonham in 1980. Coda was released in 1982 featuring a collection of previously unreleased tracks from various sessions throughout the band’s twelve-year reign as metal gods. Ian Fleming passed away in 1964 and Octopussy and The Living Daylights was published posthumously in 1966 after Fleming had taken the world by storm, introducing us to his master spy James Bond. The 14th and final Bond book by originator Fleming, this follows the 1960 publication of For Your Eyes Only as a collection of short stories. This edition has four stories – “Octopussy”, “The Living Daylights”, “Property of a Lady” and “007 in New York”. What readers of the Bond stories will discern as compared to the popular films is the greater depth of characterization. James Bond, as written by Ian Fleming, is much more human and vulnerable, often struggling with the moral dilemmas of taking lives for the service of his country. Fleming, a lifetime smoker and heavy drinker, describes Bond as such as well, and supporting players like M and Moneypenny worry about Bond’s fragile health. These are all extremely entertaining and I highly recommend the entire collection. Here’s my list of the Best of Bond – but they’re all good and I liked them all. So light up a cigarette, take a sip from a vodka martini with a lemon peel and enjoy. Thunderball From Russia with Love Goldfinger On Her Majesty Secret Service You Only Live Twice Diamonds are Forever Live and Let Die Moonraker Man with the Golden Gun Doctor No Casino Royale For Your Eyes Only  Octopussy and The Living Daylights The Spy Who Loved Me

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    My 14th & final James Bond book of 2021 is a collection of three short stories. Octopussy: In Jamaica James Bond confronts Major Dexter Smythe with a long hidden secret. A really strong, character driven story with Bond playing only a support role. The Property of a Lady: In London Bond attends an auction to identify who is paying a Russian agent. An average tale with only a few good moments. The Living Daylights: In Berlin 007 is assisgned to kill a Russian sniper. A dark & gritty story that, desp My 14th & final James Bond book of 2021 is a collection of three short stories. Octopussy: In Jamaica James Bond confronts Major Dexter Smythe with a long hidden secret. A really strong, character driven story with Bond playing only a support role. The Property of a Lady: In London Bond attends an auction to identify who is paying a Russian agent. An average tale with only a few good moments. The Living Daylights: In Berlin 007 is assisgned to kill a Russian sniper. A dark & gritty story that, despite its downbeat feel, is one of Flemings' best. Re-reading all of Ian Fleming's James Bond books during 2021 has been a very enjoyable experience. I've read them all quite a few times over the last 47 years, & I'm pleased to say that they have entertained me as much now as they have always done.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    This was going to be dirty work and Bond, because he belonged to the Double-0 Section, had been chosen for it. Perversely, Bond wanted to force M to put it in black and white. This was going to be bad news, dirty news, and he didn't want to hear it from one of the Section officers, or even from the Chief of Staff. This was to be murder. All right. Let M bloody well say so. Four Bond short stories. None are very interesting. 1.) OCTOPUSSY This is a short story about a man, living in Jamaica, who sto This was going to be dirty work and Bond, because he belonged to the Double-0 Section, had been chosen for it. Perversely, Bond wanted to force M to put it in black and white. This was going to be bad news, dirty news, and he didn't want to hear it from one of the Section officers, or even from the Chief of Staff. This was to be murder. All right. Let M bloody well say so. Four Bond short stories. None are very interesting. 1.) OCTOPUSSY This is a short story about a man, living in Jamaica, who stole some Nazi gold during the war. Now, decades later, Bond has come to collect. What the man has done is even worse, because in stealing the Nazi gold he murdered a man who "was like a father" to Bond. It is called "Octopussy" because the man has a rather tame octopus named Octopussy (or just Pussy). Told from the Major's point of view, it is interesting to get another view on Bond and see another aspect of his life and job. I thought that this was the strongest story, although there is very little Bond in it. 2.) THE PROPERTY OF A LADY A woman who is working for MI6 (but is really an agent from the KGB) receives her payment in a Faberge worth over 100,000 pounds. Nothing really happens in this story. Again, we are confronted by Fleming's belief that ugly people are prone to turn to evil because they feel slighted and inadequate. 3.) THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS Bond travels to Berlin in order to murder a sniper who is planning to kill a British agent. This is very rough for Bond because Bond is not an assassin. Actually, he has a huge problem with killing people in cold blood. Bond also shows mercy on a woman in this story. 4.) 007 IN NEW YORK Bond travels to New York in order to warn a British woman that her boyfriend is KGB. This story is pointless and, by the way, Bond hates NYC. The only thing worth mentioning is that it includes a recipe for Bond's scrambled eggs. SCRAMBLED EGGS 'JAMES BOND' For four individualists: 12 fresh eggs Salt and pepper 5-6 ounces of fresh butter Break the eggs into a bowl. Beat thoroughly with a fork and season well. In a small copper (or heavy-bottomed saucepan) melt four ounces of the butter. When melted, pour in the eggs and cook over a very low heat, whisking continuously with a small egg whisk. While the eggs are slightly more moist than you would wish for eating, remove pan from heat, add rest of butter and continue whisking for half a minute, adding the while finely chopped chives or fine herbs. Serve on hot buttered toast in individual copper dishes (for appearance only) with pink champagne (Taittainger) and low music.

  6. 4 out of 5

    W

    I wasn't too thrilled by these stories.Octopussy is totally different from the Roger Moore movie of the same name.The movie was set in India,with a Sikh as a villain.It wasn't all that great but was certainly better than this short story. In the story,Bond is again an afterthought.It is about the trials and tribulations of a former war hero and Bond is sent to Jamaica to apprehend him,but he has very little to do with the story.It is very forgettable.Also,no Bond girl here.Fleming goes on for a w I wasn't too thrilled by these stories.Octopussy is totally different from the Roger Moore movie of the same name.The movie was set in India,with a Sikh as a villain.It wasn't all that great but was certainly better than this short story. In the story,Bond is again an afterthought.It is about the trials and tribulations of a former war hero and Bond is sent to Jamaica to apprehend him,but he has very little to do with the story.It is very forgettable.Also,no Bond girl here.Fleming goes on for a while about life in Jamaica. The Living Daylights was actually a very good film,in which Timothy Dalton made his debut as Bond.It was a Cold War thriller in which Bond ended up with the Afghan resistance against the Soviets.Dalton did a fine job and the stunts were great. Living Daylights,the short story,is fairly forgettable on paper but was included in the film to form a few scenes.On screen,it looked rather good. But I can't stay I'm too impressed by these short stories,or Bond's preoccupation with smoking and drinking.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brightness

    3 stars for the short stories. 5 stars for Tom Hiddleston's narrations. The short stories were good. Here we have Octopussy, The Property of a Lady, and The Living Daylights. All three have very different tones to them and all have a different version of Bond. Octopussy was probably my favorite. Bond is actually only a minor character and the story really centers around Major Dexter Smythe, a retired WWII hero who is implicated in a murder that involved a stash of Nazi gold. Smythe is a very intere 3 stars for the short stories. 5 stars for Tom Hiddleston's narrations. The short stories were good. Here we have Octopussy, The Property of a Lady, and The Living Daylights. All three have very different tones to them and all have a different version of Bond. Octopussy was probably my favorite. Bond is actually only a minor character and the story really centers around Major Dexter Smythe, a retired WWII hero who is implicated in a murder that involved a stash of Nazi gold. Smythe is a very interesting character and the story is mostly told via his flashbacks of his involvement in the murder. And, of course, there is Smythe's famous Octopussy, his pet name for the giant Octopus living in the coral reef off of his bungalow who ends up having a surprising role to play in the story. The Portrait of a Lady was only worthy of note for me because here Bond is a much more laid back character. He was very amusing in this piece and the stakes are not really that high as he mainly attends an auction in order to identify his target, who is then simply deported from London. Bond's inner thoughts during the whole auction proceedings gave me quite a few laughs. The Living Daylights has a much more serious tone throughout and I actually loved Bond in this piece more than the other short stories and even the previous two books that I read in the series. There is a lot of depth and complexity to him here that I was surprised to find.

  8. 5 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    Number 14 in the James Bond series, 'Octopussy and The Living Daylights' is the last Book penned by Ian Fleming in the series. It consists of four short vignettes: -Octopussy An officer succumbs to a moment of greed after World War II in collecting a couple of bars of Nazi gold, a crime which catches up to him. -The Property of a Lady A surprising payday for a KGB spy! and one of the few actual spying cases done by James Bond in this series. -The Living Daylights An East-Germany escape, a cello-playin Number 14 in the James Bond series, 'Octopussy and The Living Daylights' is the last Book penned by Ian Fleming in the series. It consists of four short vignettes: -Octopussy An officer succumbs to a moment of greed after World War II in collecting a couple of bars of Nazi gold, a crime which catches up to him. -The Property of a Lady A surprising payday for a KGB spy! and one of the few actual spying cases done by James Bond in this series. -The Living Daylights An East-Germany escape, a cello-playing assassin and a killer job for 007. -007 in New York Bond has a nice tourist trip to New York City - not. America, the home of sterilized food and unimaginative hotel decor! These little short stories share almost nothing except their titles with the movies that were made by Hollywood under the same titles. Bond is shown undertaking (yes, that is a pun) quiet little jobs without the usual wham-bang excitements. But these experiences give Bond (and readers) pause for thought about long-term undercover secrets.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jack Heath

    4 Stars. I surprised myself on giving this a four. Looking at my individual story reviews, three of them fell into that category! Only "007 in New York," which was more like a travelogue, rated below that threshold. Collectively 4. They say a great deal about variety in the life of a Secret Service Agent in the early 1960s. Or at least how Ian Fleming saw it. From travelling to Jamaica to put case complete on a murder in Austria which had occurred just after WW2 while that country was under Alli 4 Stars. I surprised myself on giving this a four. Looking at my individual story reviews, three of them fell into that category! Only "007 in New York," which was more like a travelogue, rated below that threshold. Collectively 4. They say a great deal about variety in the life of a Secret Service Agent in the early 1960s. Or at least how Ian Fleming saw it. From travelling to Jamaica to put case complete on a murder in Austria which had occurred just after WW2 while that country was under Allied occupation, through finding an interesting way in "Property of a Lady" to out a senior Soviet spy, or stopping a Soviet snipper from killing a defector to prevent him crossing the East-West border in Berlin, these short stories are all over the place. In geography and types of activity. We learn a great deal about Bond, his dedication and his foibles. He understands the implications of his intervention in all four cases. In "Octopussy," he offers the miscreant an opportunity to decide his own fate, and in "The Living Daylights," he takes the shot but it is likely not a kill shot. There's more depth and subtlety than we find on the big screen. Perhaps that wouldn't sell as well. (December 2020)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    Ian Fleming shows that the James Bond adventures work equally well in the short story format. While not perhaps on such an epic scale as other 007 tales all three episodes are written with Fleming's superb journalistic style. Ian Fleming shows that the James Bond adventures work equally well in the short story format. While not perhaps on such an epic scale as other 007 tales all three episodes are written with Fleming's superb journalistic style.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    A collection of four short stories. Two share titles with James Bond movies, but the substance is nothing like the subject matter of the stories. Will review more later.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Zoeb

    Back in the summer of 2018, I found myself trapped in a humdrum job in a company that underwrote insurance policies. Yes, you can imagine how dull it would have been. There were a lot of veterans there, who, while good-natured and affable enough, were extremely resistant to even the slightest change and there I was, a twenty-five year old man only interested in writing, reading, films and music, who was trying to stir things up in vain. Most of the day would be spent in just restraining myself f Back in the summer of 2018, I found myself trapped in a humdrum job in a company that underwrote insurance policies. Yes, you can imagine how dull it would have been. There were a lot of veterans there, who, while good-natured and affable enough, were extremely resistant to even the slightest change and there I was, a twenty-five year old man only interested in writing, reading, films and music, who was trying to stir things up in vain. Most of the day would be spent in just restraining myself from expressing my wild and impracticable ideas for sending emails and messages with attractive headlines to our customers, as old and dotty as the people in my office. I am so glad that I left the place for something better in a year itself. But the summer of 2018 was also a time for me to discover Ian Fleming, for the first time, and while I was gently and fortunately interrupted in my discovery by a gentleman named Graham Greene who walked into my life and has stayed there, I think, for eternity, my brief encounter with Mr. Fleming was enough to leave in my mind a good impression of a stylish, flamboyant thriller writer who was one of those rare things - a man who could write. And so, I then read about four of his widely popular James Bond novels - out of which, two were downright masterworks of thrilling action, suspense and intrigue, one was an interestingly downbeat and sobering story of intense revenge and the last one was a middling affair - even as it inspired what is called rightly as one of the most iconic Bond films of all time. And then, today, out of the blue, I remembered another book of his that I had read back in that exasperating summer, sneaking the slim, small paperback with me into the office lavatory and reading as much as possible in those stolen minutes. "Octopussy & The Living Daylights" is a slim collection of short stories from Fleming that feature James Bond in, how shall I put it, a different light than the portrait of his penchant for glamour and romanticism that we get in the novels. The four stories showcase him, variously, as the official Grim Reaper of Her Majesty's Secret Service, a sharp-eyed detective on the prowl for a possible game of deception at an auction, a quick-footed messenger and, most memorably of them all, a downbeat secret agent assigned to help in a defection with his sniping skills. It is this last story, then, "The Living Daylights" that is the finest story in this worthy ensemble and that also lent its tightly wound plot of suspense, paranoia and even professional nonchalance to the opening scene of the eponymous film starring Timothy Dalton as James Bond. Could there have been a better fit for the Bond of the books than Mr. Dalton? I wonder, even as Sean Connery had charmingly taken Bond from the books and made him his own character, so much that Fleming had to create a Scottish family background for his spy hero. The Bond of the short story, however, is even more serious and downbeat than Mr. Dalton's suave, almost Richard Hannay-like portrait of James Bond in the film. He is disinterested in this almost mundane job that he has been assigned and he cannot wait to get done with it. And he is not even interested in getting it done right, which also explains the perfectly imperfect ending as well. Fleming creates the atmosphere of the story superbly, setting the scene of a dangerous defection in the glare of the lights of the border between East and West Berlin with skill and authentic tension and it is hard not to be reminded of Graham Greene (the anarchic final act of "The Third Man" particularly) as well as John Le Carre (is it a coincidence that "The Spy Who Came In From The Cold" was just a year away from this story's publication?). Bond himself, as said before, is hardly his usual self - instead of reading Eric Ambler, he settles for a cheap sleazy paperback when waiting for the moment to arrive and, needless to be said, is far from certain of not missing his mark. The gritty atmosphere of the story, coupled with a rubber-taut prose style, makes it unforgettable. The other stories, too, are quite good, save for one, which I will come to in the end. "Octopussy" (no resemblance to the audacious film which featured, among elephants, auto-rickshaws, Faberge Eggs, Bond disguised as a clown) is again a lot more serious story than what we normally expect from Fleming and, as a matter of fact, is not about Bond at all. Rather, it is about a retired British army major whom Bond is dispatched to hold responsible for a crime committed in the aftermath of the Second World War - a crime that this major, fond of underwater swimming and particularly an octopus to whom he talks had not quite forgotten as well. Again, we are given evidence of what a skilled writer and storyteller Fleming could be and how much he was influenced by Greene again in this particular aspect. Major Dexter Smythe feels like one of the guilt-ridden and melancholic sinners from the latter's novels and his crime, unfolding in Austria just after the war, again reeks of "The Third Man" in its portrait of a moral duplicity on the side of the Allies rather than the former Axis powers, proving that war corrupts all innocence and idealism, irrespective of allegiances or loyalties. Fleming assuredly leads the dark story to its doomed denouement and even tinges the climax with an enigmatic, seductive mystery. The third story, "Property Of A Lady" also lent the setting of its story - a grand auction at Sotheby's involving a Faberge Egg - to the opening act of "Octopussy" the film but it is again refreshingly different - there are no thrills or spills or even Roger Moore's smirks to be found here. Instead, Bond is a sharp detective in this story who finishes his job with unerring skill and uses his roving eyes for once to detect the truth with almost clinical precision. The last story of the collection, "OO7 In New York", is the only disappointment, simply because it has nothing to tell. The only thing of interest is an inclusion of a recipe of Bond's favourite scrambled eggs, just as he likes them. Those who think that Bond was only crazy about martinis would welcome this bit the most. So, four stories from Fleming - one masterpiece among them, two short but brilliantly sustained off-kilter stories and one middling disappointment. On the whole, though, this collection is worth reading, even only to be convinced that there is more to Mr. Fleming than meets the eye.

  13. 4 out of 5

    David Dalton

    I finally finished reading all of the Ian Fleming James Bond books. I picked up a paperback collection of all the Fleming Bond books years ago from Sam's. But never got to this last book. Till I finally picked it up via Kindle and now I knocked it out. Another collection of short stories. Most of the time, the Bond movies have little to do with the actual books, like Goldeneye (not even a short story), or The World is Not Enough (family motto mentioned in a Bond book). Three of the stories in thi I finally finished reading all of the Ian Fleming James Bond books. I picked up a paperback collection of all the Fleming Bond books years ago from Sam's. But never got to this last book. Till I finally picked it up via Kindle and now I knocked it out. Another collection of short stories. Most of the time, the Bond movies have little to do with the actual books, like Goldeneye (not even a short story), or The World is Not Enough (family motto mentioned in a Bond book). Three of the stories in this collection are somewhat tied to the movies. The main character in Octopussy never appears in the movie, but he was mention by Maud Adams (playing Octopussy), he was her father (in the movie, not the book), and the Faberge Egg that was featured in The Property of a Lady was also featured in the Octopussy movie (but not like in this short story). And finally, the female assassin in The Living Daylights did appear in the Timothy Dalton Bond movie of the same name. Loose ties, but ties nonetheless. I have read a few other James Bond books by other authors, but felt I needed to complete the original series. Now on to more Bond.....

  14. 4 out of 5

    William

    Audio fine short stories provided me with a great way to put 007 to rest.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    When English author Ian Fleming passed away on August 12, 1964, at the age of 56, he had not yet put the finishing touches on his final James Bond novel, "The Man With the Golden Gun." Oh, sure, he'd gotten a first draft down on paper--working at his Oracabessa, Jamaica winter home called Goldeneye, as usual--but the plethora of convincing detail that had been the hallmark of the previous dozen Bond books was sadly missing from the final product. And so, when the novel was ultimately released so When English author Ian Fleming passed away on August 12, 1964, at the age of 56, he had not yet put the finishing touches on his final James Bond novel, "The Man With the Golden Gun." Oh, sure, he'd gotten a first draft down on paper--working at his Oracabessa, Jamaica winter home called Goldeneye, as usual--but the plethora of convincing detail that had been the hallmark of the previous dozen Bond books was sadly missing from the final product. And so, when the novel was ultimately released some eight months later, the world must have understandably believed that this unfleshed-out caper would be the author's final word regarding 007. Thus, what a surprise it must have been when, in June '66, the posthumous collection "Octopussy" was released. The collection consisted of two short stories--the title piece and "The Living Daylights"; a third story, "The Property of a Lady," was added for the book's paperback incarnation. The three stories serve as mere codas to a famous series; vignette glimpses of some of Bond's lesser cases. Still, all three are of interest, and display what has been called by Kingsley Amis "the Fleming effect" (the overwhelming, realistic detail previously referred to) in great abundance. In the title story, "Octopussy," which initially appeared serially in the "Daily Express" paper in October '65, Bond himself is largely absent. We see him through the eyes of ex-Secret Service agent Major Dexter Smythe, a 54-year-old widower living in Jamaica, who is killing himself slowly via too much smoke and too much drink. His idyllic lazy life of boozing, playing bridge and snorkeling is interrupted one day by the advent of 007, who has come to give Smythe notice that a 17-year-old double crime that the major had committed at the tail end of WW2 (I don't want to reveal too much; let's just say that the crimes involve murder and Nazi gold) has finally caught up with him. The story has an interesting double flashback structure, and the section in which Smythe reflects on those crimes is a fascinating one. The reader doesn't learn much about Bond in this tale, although Fleming does humanize the agent a bit by having Bond reveal his personal reason for bringing Smythe to justice. And the major's ultimate fate, I might add, is a memorably, doubly grisly one. Much comment has been made over Smythe's resemblance to the author, who of course also lived on the north shore of Jamaica (the island was the setting for not only "Octopussy," but also "Live and Let Die," "Doctor No," "For Your Eyes Only" and "The Man With the Golden Gun"), smoked and drank too much, was fond of snorkeling and bird-watching, and was roughly the same age as the major. Still, the author takes pains to show that Smythe is a pitiful, unsympathetic character, and decidedly quite the bastard. He is hardly a stand-in for the author. "Octopussy," obviously, has zero relation to the 1983 film starring Roger Moore, which instead dealt with a crazy Russian general's attempt to detonate an atomic bomb at a NATO air base. Except for the presence of an actual octopus in both the story and the film, they are wholly dissimilar. Up next in the collection is "The Living Daylights," which first ran in the "Sunday Times" in February '62. Here, Bond is given a particularly nasty assignment by his superior, M: to kill the sniper who will be attempting to shoot a British agent; an agent who will soon be making a dash across the no-man's-land between East and West Berlin; the zone soon to be known as "Checkpoint Charlie." Thus, Bond, ensconced in a dumpy apartment, waits for three nights for Agent 272 to make his run, a .308 Winchester rifle trained on the darkened windows of the government building across the way. But Fleming pulls the rug out from beneath the reader and Bond himself, when the identity of Bond's sniper target is revealed. This is a fast-moving, suspenseful story, replete with wonderful detail regarding both weapons and Berlin, as well as a neat twist of an ending. We learn a good deal about 007 in this short story; for example, his taste in food (eggs, herring, schnapps, Lowenbrau) and the fact that he greatly dislikes killing (he even expresses a hope that his action at the story's end will get him booted out of the 00 section). Surprisingly, Bond briefly considers going to a whorehouse to kill some time in Berlin (one would have thought that unnecessary for him!), and has a good deal of difficulty falling asleep the night before his mission (in previous books, he'd fallen asleep with a mere shrug, seemingly impervious to worry). A more human Bond is the result, and it is nice to see. In all, a very winning tale, only bits of which survived in the 1987 film "The Living Daylights," mainly in the character of Kara Milovy, the unnamed cellist in Fleming's story. The "Octopussy" collection concludes with "The Property of a Lady," which first appeared in "The Ivory Hammer" (a publication of Sotheby's auction house), of all places; it was later reprinted in "Playboy" magazine. Here, a known double agent in the British Secret Service, Maria Freudenstein, is about to be paid off by her Russian superiors. An enormously rare Faberge egg has been sent to her, which she is now having auctioned off at Sotheby's. Bond feels that the top Russian agent in London, identity unknown, will be present at the auction, attempting to artificially raise the bidding, and so 007 goes there to try to pick him/her out. Raymond Benson, writing in the invaluable reference book "The James Bond Bedside Companion," tells us that the story has "absolutely no suspense" and that there is "no climax in the narrative," but whether this is true or not, this reader managed to enjoy it. Fleming gives us a wealth of detail regarding the auction process and the egg itself (it's not just a green emerald egg, but "girdled by afixed gold belt enameled opalescent oyster along a reserved path in champleve technique over a moire guillochage with painted Roman numerals in pale sepia enamel...."), and remarkably, incorporates a real-life person into his story. The Faberge expert in the story who helps Bond, a Mr. Kenneth Snowman, was a friend of Fleming's, as it turns out, was the actual chairman of Wartski's (the Faberge dealer that Bond visits), and did indeed write a book entitled "The Art of Carl Faberge"! Is there another Bond novel or story that utilizes a real-life personage in such a manner? Certainly none that I can think of offhand. Those eggs, of course, would also figure in the "Octopussy" film, as did an auction sequence, but in wholly different contexts, of course. In all, the story is a pleasant enough glimpse into a few comparatively humdrum days in the life of James Bond. Bringing down the curtain on the world's most famous secret agent, Fleming's final collection, slim as it is, yet manages to entertain and impress. And thanks to authors such as Kingsley Amis, John Gardner, Benson himself, Sebastian Faulks, Jeffery Deaver and William Boyd, the literary exploits of Bond continue to this day. It would seem that "Octopussy" was hardly the final word on secret agent 007 after all....

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ellie Spencer

    This Bond short stories were enjoyable enough. But they are never long enough to create enough tension/excitement or enjoyment of the characters (which is part of what I love in the Bond novels). They were a nice and quick read though and I’m looking forward to trying James Bond’s recipe for scrambled eggs!

  17. 5 out of 5

    El

    Again, paralyzed with options! Here we have Octopussy (the movie came out in 1983) and The Living Daylights which came out... later... with Timothy Dalton. But these are novellas, they're short, and apparently they were published together in this short story collection. (Though I beg to ask - can you have a "short story collection" when said collection includes only two stories? I feel like that's cheating.) This is an exceptionally short book, even with both stories together. I think it clocks i Again, paralyzed with options! Here we have Octopussy (the movie came out in 1983) and The Living Daylights which came out... later... with Timothy Dalton. But these are novellas, they're short, and apparently they were published together in this short story collection. (Though I beg to ask - can you have a "short story collection" when said collection includes only two stories? I feel like that's cheating.) This is an exceptionally short book, even with both stories together. I think it clocks in somewhere just slightly over 100 pages, the print is large, and every so often there's a page dedicated to some pointillist drawings. I read the whole kit and caboodle in less than a half hour. It's just a fast read, I'm not a a machine. (Or am I...?) Octopussy the story is absolutely nothing like the movie. The movie involves some clowns and some acrobats and neither of those things make an appearance in the book. Which is just as well because clowns tend to make me cry. (Seeing Roger Moore dressed as a clown is no exception. That's just terrifying.) I understand the plot of the movie comes from some other story (or stories) that I haven't read yet, and seriously. It's hard enough keeping up here. This is the craziest project ever. The real Octopussy story involves some underwater creatures, which I'm all about, even if it means going to Jamaica (ugh, it's humid there, right?) to see them. Bond is required to apprehend a World War II hero, Major Smythe. That's the story. Oh, that's not true. There are some flashbacks and, like I said, some underwater creatures, but it really is a short story. The best is the ending - very vivid, which goes back to what I was saying yesterday after reading For Your Eyes Only - Fleming really seems to blossom in his short stories in ways that he did not in his novels. I think, for example, in his novels he spends a considerable amount of time building up the relationship with whichever Bond girl happens to cross his path, whereas in the short stories there's no time for any of that. There are some women, but there's no time to woo them. They are there, they contribute, they do some stuff, and that's that. No time for objectification. For those keeping track, the theme song is brought to you by Rita Coolidge. Meh. I would have liked it better if she had managed to find a way to bring "octopussy" into her lyrics. Oh well. It's difficult for me to even discuss The Living Daylights because (guh!) I haven't (re)watched the movie yet, and this just throws off my entire life. I might revisit this review once we do reach that movie. I should mention that these short stories are the last two Bond books Fleming wrote. There are like a gazillion other books written by other authors, and undoubtedly I will be reading them along this process as well. Not sure if that will be a good or bad thing, but it is what it is. This is science. Next up... A View to a Kill which I've already read because it was in yesterday's For Your Eyes Only. And then after that is The Living Daylights, sigh. In light of this unfortunate and stupid setback I will probably try to get my paws on something else by or about Fleming, depending on what's available in the library. Don't worry, this project isn't over yet. Next actual Bond book... License to Kill, a non-Fleming novel.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Roxana Chirilă

    So, when I think of James Bond, I think of this super-spy guy who solves his missions by killing enemies, while getting all the dangerous, beautiful women. As such, this collection came as a bit of a surprise. Firstly, because it's 142 pages long (which is short) and contains three short stories and a thing (we'll come back to the thing a bit later). Secondly, because Bond falls in love with one single woman in the entire book, and she's on the other side - on the other side politically, and on t So, when I think of James Bond, I think of this super-spy guy who solves his missions by killing enemies, while getting all the dangerous, beautiful women. As such, this collection came as a bit of a surprise. Firstly, because it's 142 pages long (which is short) and contains three short stories and a thing (we'll come back to the thing a bit later). Secondly, because Bond falls in love with one single woman in the entire book, and she's on the other side - on the other side politically, and on the other side physically, since there's the empty space between East and West Berlin between them. He does have fun with a woman in bed, though - when he reads a book about her pulp-y adventures. Anyway, despite the collection not being at all like I expected, the collection is okay. The first story, Octopussy, is the best in the bunch, I think - it's about WWII and James Bond does very little in it, but it's fun to hear the bad guy tell us all about how he committed a crime. The second story is about catching a high-level KGB person in London through very subtle means - which mostly consist of Bond attending an auction and noticing who the bad guy is (it's interesting, but lacks any action whatsoever). The third has 007 on a mission to save one of Britain's agents by eliminating a Soviet one. And the fourth... thing... has Bond visiting New York and dropping all sorts of classy names of hotels and restaurants - a nod to Americans at that time, but prone to making us nod off today, as he describes the best foods to be had and where you can have them (no damns given, Bond!). By the time he's supposed to do his job, the short, short story (shorter than the others) ends, mercifully never even coming to the actual plot, but containing a recipe for James Bond scrambled eggs nonetheless. All in all, enjoyable, but not amazing.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Vel Veeter

    So this is an odds and sods collection of leftover James Bond stories published after Ian Fleming died, and a few years into the movie series. It includes two stories that “became films” in the sense that their titles became titles of films. The story “The Living Daylights” forms part of the movie version, but “Octopussy” bears little resemblance to that movie. “Octopussy” is a good short story in the same way that several of Agatha Christie novels are good. Rather than put James Bond front and c So this is an odds and sods collection of leftover James Bond stories published after Ian Fleming died, and a few years into the movie series. It includes two stories that “became films” in the sense that their titles became titles of films. The story “The Living Daylights” forms part of the movie version, but “Octopussy” bears little resemblance to that movie. “Octopussy” is a good short story in the same way that several of Agatha Christie novels are good. Rather than put James Bond front and center, he is a catalyst of the plot, but the focus is one another character. It’s a good way of using Bond’s familiarity without having to do much with him. In this story an old British officer is found living in Jamaica off of money he’s secured by selling stolen Nazi gold, for which he also murdered a Nazi officer in the war. He’s long retired and past his career, he’s a sea creature enthusiast and snorkeler/spear fisher, and he’s recently been visited by James Bond, who is investigating the murder of the Nazi official, who body recently was recovered as a glacier receded. The focus of the story is the British officer’s decision making in the final moments of his life. The second story in this collection is about a Russian double agent working to inflate the auction price of a Faberge art piece. And “The Living Daylights” is a short story about Bond being sent to assassinate an assassin in Berlin. As he’s there and waiting, he muses and falls for a woman who walks the street he’s patrolling. This was an audiobook edition, all read by Tom Hiddleston, who does a very good job in general, and poor Tom Hiddleston is left reading the accent of a Chinese character written by an old British man in the 1960s, a task which no white man can don passably or without a cringe-worthy result.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    I was very surprised by this audiobook. I had as certain idea of what "James Bond" is... and this wasn't it. I've read spy stories, and thrillers, and these stories were much more like THAT. These stories are from the '60s and were more introspective and character based than I expected from a "James Bond" novel. Somehow I expected something full of mindless action, car chases and meaningless sex. I bought it because I enjoy the sound of Tom Hiddleston's voice-- I'd listen to him read the phone b I was very surprised by this audiobook. I had as certain idea of what "James Bond" is... and this wasn't it. I've read spy stories, and thrillers, and these stories were much more like THAT. These stories are from the '60s and were more introspective and character based than I expected from a "James Bond" novel. Somehow I expected something full of mindless action, car chases and meaningless sex. I bought it because I enjoy the sound of Tom Hiddleston's voice-- I'd listen to him read the phone book. He was excellent. He changes the tone of voice, and intonations for each character. They are all unique. And, if you like interesting short tales of espionage, mystery and a little bit of angst about how it feels to be told you're going to kill someone tomorrow-- and really not being given a choice in that-- just that it's your duty. Here's the guy who's your support personnel (and who will report back how you behave, and if you do what you are suppose to) and who is ostensibly there only to give you your supplies and necessities. Well, you may find this very interesting indeed. If you can't find this, I believe I purchased it through Amazon UK (or try your local library.) Clare

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    A short story collection which was released after the death of Ian Fleming. '007 in New York': Is more a bit of tourist information than an actual short story. But it shows Flemings skill of description, but here it lacks his usual strength which makes boring stuff come alive. 'Octopussy': This story is not a 007 adventure but more a tale of WOII where a soldier steals from the Nazi's. But while doing that he makes a mistake which brings 007 on his doorstep. An impressive little tale well told. ( A short story collection which was released after the death of Ian Fleming. '007 in New York': Is more a bit of tourist information than an actual short story. But it shows Flemings skill of description, but here it lacks his usual strength which makes boring stuff come alive. 'Octopussy': This story is not a 007 adventure but more a tale of WOII where a soldier steals from the Nazi's. But while doing that he makes a mistake which brings 007 on his doorstep. An impressive little tale well told. ( was mentioned in the movie "Octopussy') 'The Living Daylights': The best story in the book, It is abouts 007's license to kill. It happens in Berlin during the cold war and tells you a lot more about the thoughts and world of James Bond at work. (Featured in the movie "The Living Daylights") 'The Property of a Lady': Especially written for an auctionhouse, so that is what is the star in the movie. More a police story than a spy thriller. But still well written. (Featured in the movie Octopussy) For somebody who likes Flemings writing I would say it is recomended reading.

  22. 5 out of 5

    David

    A collection of four James Bond short stories. In two of the stories, Bond acts as a detective tracking down people to solve a mystery. Though, in the first of those stories, "Octopussy," the antagonist is the point of view character and Bond proves to be a minor player. "The Living Daylights" gives us some Cold War suspense as Bond is called in to act as a sniper supporting an agent returning from East Berlin. In the final story, "007 in New York," Bond essentially has to deliver bad news to an A collection of four James Bond short stories. In two of the stories, Bond acts as a detective tracking down people to solve a mystery. Though, in the first of those stories, "Octopussy," the antagonist is the point of view character and Bond proves to be a minor player. "The Living Daylights" gives us some Cold War suspense as Bond is called in to act as a sniper supporting an agent returning from East Berlin. In the final story, "007 in New York," Bond essentially has to deliver bad news to an agent working overseas, but we get his impressions of the Big Apple. Overall, I thought they were enjoyable short stories, but may not be what most people expect when coming to a book about Ian Fleming's most famous secret agent.

  23. 5 out of 5

    James

    A posthumous collection of the remaining Bond short stories: "Octopussy", "The Property of a Lady", "The Living Daylights" and "007 in New York". Having read this far it would be a shame not to complete the set... A posthumous collection of the remaining Bond short stories: "Octopussy", "The Property of a Lady", "The Living Daylights" and "007 in New York". Having read this far it would be a shame not to complete the set...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ann-Marie

    The other day I came across this audiobook of James Bond short stories narrated by Tom Hiddleston. I was like, well hello there. Had no idea that he did this! So I checked it out from my library, listened to it, and enjoyed it. I’ve seen all the Bond films and have always thought about reading an Ian Fleming book someday. Discovering that Tom Hiddleston had narrated these short stories was all the push I needed, and icing on the cake. I was happy to see that two of the three he narrated happened to The other day I came across this audiobook of James Bond short stories narrated by Tom Hiddleston. I was like, well hello there. Had no idea that he did this! So I checked it out from my library, listened to it, and enjoyed it. I’ve seen all the Bond films and have always thought about reading an Ian Fleming book someday. Discovering that Tom Hiddleston had narrated these short stories was all the push I needed, and icing on the cake. I was happy to see that two of the three he narrated happened to be a couple of my favorite Bond movies, “Octopussy” and “The Living Daylights”. First up, “Octopussy”. At first I was a bit lost because I kept comparing it to the movie. My mistake, I know. I was all, what is this? Where’s the female league of thieves and smugglers? Q? The circus? The Faberge egg? Louis Jourdan? Yeah, the movie was completely different from what Fleming had originally penned. I mean I figured there’d be some changes, that’s what happens with most book-to-film adaptations. I just wasn’t expecting that big of a change. But after I got over my initial surprise and pushed the movie out of my head, I settled right down into the story and got caught up in it. Next was “The Property of a Lady”, which actually turned out to be my favorite of the trio. The Faberge egg turned up in this one. I was like, aha! So this is where the Octopussy movie got that from. It was a fun short story and I really liked the tense atmosphere of it taking place in Sotheby’s, an upscale art auction house in England. For some reason, whenever a story revolves around bidding on works of art (especially at a place like Sotheby’s), it always fascinates me. I guess I like the poshness of it. Now having listened to this, the movie’s auction scene kinda pales in comparison. It was more dramatic the way Fleming wrote it. And then lastly, “The Living Daylights”. The movie version of this seemed to have stuck pretty close to the plot, the beginning anyway. They changed it a bit and added on a whole lot more to the story, and I mean a lot. There wouldn’t have been a movie if they didn’t. It was interesting to see how the screenwriters expanded on what Fleming had written. What he wrote was good. I liked knowing what was going on in Bond’s mind while on a mission to kill. But now I want to go back and watch the movie again to “finish” the story. I just really loved that storyline and how it played out. So I think the short story and movie go well together. Start with the book, end with the film. Works for me. I liked Fleming’s style of writing and found these to be entertaining short stories. They're not as action packed like the movies, they're more subtle and slow building with a certain calculated coolness, but there’s still that sense of danger and suspense. As for Tom Hiddleston’s narration, he did a great job and I enjoyed listening to him. I also liked his insightful interview at the end. He said that he loved “The Property of a Lady” too and its atmospheric writing.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I really do enjoy the Bond short stories because in the absence of broad-reaching plots and numerous characters, Fleming gives us insight into the character that's difficult to convey on film. Octopussy took me by the greatest surprise as it has nothing at all to do with the film bearing its name (although the film did happily borrow significant elements from The Property of a Lady and Moonraker), and indeed added more fuel for Spectre than anything. What we have here is a fairly dark tale that s I really do enjoy the Bond short stories because in the absence of broad-reaching plots and numerous characters, Fleming gives us insight into the character that's difficult to convey on film. Octopussy took me by the greatest surprise as it has nothing at all to do with the film bearing its name (although the film did happily borrow significant elements from The Property of a Lady and Moonraker), and indeed added more fuel for Spectre than anything. What we have here is a fairly dark tale that shows Bond's taste for a little revenge when the job gets too close to home. It's a combination of a classic World War II tale, Bond spy-work, and the Telltale Heart. Could it get better? Ironically mirroring the story, Bond is only a minor figure in this one, but his brief presence drives the events, proving the power a well-crafted character can have on a narrative. And once again, Fleming is out to prove that octopuses are nature's deadliest predators. The Property of a Lady shows Bond hobnobbing with the London elite, as he does when he has to, but where he seldom feels at ease. This works as a good excuse to have him serve as an audience surrogate and have a world rarely seen explained to us without seeming condescending. I enjoyed seeing the original, simpler version of a scene I knew well from the Octopussy film. It also gave me a greater appreciation for the screenwriters who took an already intriguing sketch and fleshed it out into a much bigger story. The Living Daylights is another instance of film taking a basic story and expanding it very successfully, all the while remaining true to the source material. Perhaps this story more than many others show Bond's true feelings towards some of the nasty assignments he has to endure and the way in which his vices play into his decisions. He's a real human character, not just a quip and a suit, and we get to see that here, flaws and all. Then there's 007 in New York. Not much here to write about in terms of character development, although it is fun to watch Bond fantasize about his day in the Big Apple. Fleming's brand name-dropping account of the high life is on full display here, and I very much enjoy tidbits like these for the sort of snapshot of a time they provide. And two welcome surprises - the only mention of Bond's preferred Martini mix and a humorous ending! Who knew Fleming was capable? I'm glad the series goes out with a bang instead of a whimper. Frankly I don't think I'd enjoy a full length novel with these sorts of stories, but at these lengths, they really work well. I really can't recommend the books enough to anyone who enjoys the film series. Much like the films, there are some that will leave you scratching your head and some that feel dated, but most of them are at least good, a handful are great, and if nothing else you will gain a bounty of insight into the stories and characters you think you already know so well.

  26. 5 out of 5

    P.

    "Whether it is tracking down a wayward major who has taken a deadly secret with him to the Caribbean or identifying a top Russian agent secretly bidding for a Fabergé egg in a Sotheby's auction room, Bond always closes the case—with extreme prejudice." Ahh, the world of international espionage. Thanks to Fleming, being a spy has never been so attractive. He single-handedly painted the otherwise secret world of Mi5 operatives in gold gilt. The genre itself became synonymous with the Christian Dio "Whether it is tracking down a wayward major who has taken a deadly secret with him to the Caribbean or identifying a top Russian agent secretly bidding for a Fabergé egg in a Sotheby's auction room, Bond always closes the case—with extreme prejudice." Ahh, the world of international espionage. Thanks to Fleming, being a spy has never been so attractive. He single-handedly painted the otherwise secret world of Mi5 operatives in gold gilt. The genre itself became synonymous with the Christian Dior style of 1950's glamour thanks to titles like 'Diamonds are Forever', 'The Man with the Golden Gun' and 'Casino Royale'. Fleming wrote 14 Bond novels altogether, and is said to be his last. Unfortunately he didn't live long enough to see his beloved character hit the bigtime; but word has it most of what he wrote came from his own life as a jet-setting, suave intelligence officer. This is my first taste of Bond, and the four short stories or 'scraps' as I came to see them, was a nice introduction to Fleming's work. I say 'scraps' because some of these stories have a distinct 'unfinished' quality about them; as if they were fleeting scenarios penned-down in the heat of the moment. In a little over 100 pages we have 'Octopussy', 'The Property of a Lady', 'The Living Daylights' and '007 in New York'. Two of these titles were made into full-length films only because they were the only two that had half-decent endings and enough of a back-story to build a script around. 'The Property of a Lady' had a very good premise, but needed a stronger ending in my opinion. I would have loved it if the secret bidder was sitting right next to Bond and he was thwarted just this once. It would have made for a killer cliff-hanger ending. '007 in New York' was more of a thinly-disguised personal view of the city rather than a Bond story (and Fleming admits as much). What I enjoyed about the stories were the flashbacks into the world 50 years ago. In 'Octopussy' I got a real flavour of the Caribbean with all it's drug-running gangster culture. 'Property of a Lady' transported me to the elegant auction rooms of Sotheby's, when a rare Faberge egg would take you back £100'000 and 'The Living Daylights' of the days when Germany had an East and a West and a border like no-man's land that still reeked of the dregs of Hitler's threat. Bond stories are not so much about the intrigue, the flashy cars (you get to read about one in this book), the women or the spoils of spydom. The real star of the show is the countries. I was more seduced by the scenery than the characters. Fleming has a gift for 'painting' the world around him and if you like that sort of thing then this is right up your street.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    Octopussy and The Living Daylights is the last book of the James Bond 007 books written by Ian Fleming. It contains three short stories (at least the Pan version I possess does. Published 1967). Two of the stories, Octupussy and The Living Daylights were turned into movies. I don't know if they followed the premises of the stories. The three stories are very simple and to the point. The first, Octopussy, shows Bond in a very minor role. He is in Jamaica to arrest Ret'd Maj Dexter Smythe for crim Octopussy and The Living Daylights is the last book of the James Bond 007 books written by Ian Fleming. It contains three short stories (at least the Pan version I possess does. Published 1967). Two of the stories, Octupussy and The Living Daylights were turned into movies. I don't know if they followed the premises of the stories. The three stories are very simple and to the point. The first, Octopussy, shows Bond in a very minor role. He is in Jamaica to arrest Ret'd Maj Dexter Smythe for crimes committed at the end of WWII. But for the most part Bond is there as an observer as he listens to Smythe's story. I saw the ending coming (sort of) but the story was interesting and to the point. The Property of a Lady was a bit of a throwaway but still interesting. Bond goes to Sotheby's for the auction of a long lost Fabergé emerald for the purpose of discovering a Russian spy in England. Once again a very simple story, but the small bit of spycraft made it a fun read. The Living Daylights is the most typically Bondish story. Bond is sent to Berlin to kill a KGB assassin who is trying to prevent a Russian scientist from defecting to the west. I don't often enjoy short stories as I find writers, who don't normally write them, don't know how to get to the point and also don't know how to end them. But Fleming did an excellent job with these three. Each one got to the point, got you involved right away and basically ended on a satisfying note. You could say they were a bit Bond-lite, but they were still nicely matter-of-fact and enjoyable. I've now read all of this series and enjoyed them all. (4 stars)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Clark

    This was another fun look at Bonds mind, and some quick stories. I wish Flemming had written more short stories for Bond.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Canavan

    ✭✭½ “Octopussy” (1965) ✭✭½ “The Living Daylights” (1962) ✭✭✭½ “The Property of a Lady” (1963) ✭½ “007 in New York” (1963) ✭✭

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    The final book in the original Bond series consists of three short stories. These were uneven. The least interesting as a story was the one about Bond eyeing bidders in an auction. This reads like Fleming was doing a kind of product placement story highlighting the action and intrigue of a fine arts auction. In another review I read this was originally published in an auction house magazine, so there you go. I enjoyed the other two stories more. In Octopussy, Bond really plays a bit role – he’s The final book in the original Bond series consists of three short stories. These were uneven. The least interesting as a story was the one about Bond eyeing bidders in an auction. This reads like Fleming was doing a kind of product placement story highlighting the action and intrigue of a fine arts auction. In another review I read this was originally published in an auction house magazine, so there you go. I enjoyed the other two stories more. In Octopussy, Bond really plays a bit role – he’s been asked to take care of some business while he’s on vacation, so he efficiently interviews his target and leaves. You realize he’s actually been judge and jury on this case and provides his target a choice. Quite interesting in that, and the Jamaican and maritime background and WWII backstory adds flavor. The final story, The Living Daylights, shows Bond doing 00- work, and here we see him cranky and human. This is quite refreshing; Bond acts as in some of the earlier novels but unlike all of the movies. I like a Bond who worries, gets pissed off, and blows off steam. As this is the final Fleming Bond book in the series, and I’ve now read them all, I feel the need to reflect. When I was in Junior High, I wanted to read interesting and adult books, but the librarian (and fear of my Mom) would not allow me to check out Fleming’s books. Instead, I started on Agatha Christie mysteries and Perry Rhodan sci-fi serials and read dozens of them. I didn’t start reading Fleming until I was over 50. At this point, I can safely say that the most risqué parts of the books were, with few exceptions, the covers. Those early covers and the linkage to the movies with a continuously randy Bond were what my personal censors knew about the books. Much ado about not very much, I’m afraid. In their defense, I doubt I could have read those books with those covers in school without having them confiscated from the classroom, so I was being protected from that trip to the principal’s office. Also, I believe this is the first series of more than a few books I’ve completed in decades. Overall, I found the Bond books interesting in how they are not like the movies which are oh so familiar. And while at the movies were of a time, many of the books had a timeless quality where the action could have happened today.

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