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Never Send Flowers [Paperback]

John Gardner
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

8 Nov 2012

In different corners of the world four high-profile figures are assassinated in less than a week. Nobody links the deaths but one thing is certain: each of them has been stalked, sought out and killed with care and preparation. Then a sinister connection is established: a single, blood-tipped rose is sent to each funeral and an unremarkable female agent is murdered in Switzerland.

When MI5 come to MI6 to ask for help M brings in his best. At first, a weekend abroad seems tempting to James Bond: especially when he's paired with Flicka von Grusse, a gorgeous Swiss intelligence officer. But this is a perilous assignment that starts with the mysterious actor David Dragonpol and leads them to Athens, Milan and on to EuroDisney ... and an explosive climax.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (8 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140913573X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409135739
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 166,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Four high-profile public figures have been assassinated in the space of a week. A fifth murder, which takes place in the Swiss Alps, brings 007 into the field and onto the case of MI5's now very much deceased, former agent. Not that MI6 is in the business of helping out "blundering" MI5--far from it, according to Sir Miles Messervy ("M").

To Bond's rotten luck, he is forced to work with an opposite number in the Swiss Intelligence Service--Frauleine Freddie von Grusse or simply "Flicka"- -a five foot eleven inch "sexual knockout". Not that Flicka is all legs and smiles--she also happens to be a very effective agent who travels with Bond through Switzerland, Germany and Milan on the trail of the assassins. The finale takes Bond to Eurodisney in Paris, where he faces the killer himself, mano e mano (shades of Scaramanga in The Man With Golden Gun?).

The strength of the main support characters, Flicka von Grusse and the furtive Dragonpol, an ex-actor who resides in a Castle in Rheineland, contribute significantly to the strength of this novel. The plot is an unusual one and somewhat slow to get off the ground, with Bond himself admitting that he is acting merely as a "super-detective" for much of the time. However, the finishing chapters are suitably interesting and make Never Send Flowers a worthy read for those who enjoy a hearty 007novel--despite its terrible title. --Julian Broster --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Official, original James Bond from a writer described by Len Deighton as a 'master storyteller'.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bond's Friend Flicka 6 Nov 2012
Having read Gardner's 80s Bonds many times and his 90s books a few, this was the one I couldn't remember beyond the showdown- and you'll guess that pretty soon from all the heavy hints. With the 90's output having proved such a mixed bag, how would it shape up? Around the world four influential figures (army, secret service, MP, writer) are assassinated. With nobody connecting the killings, James Bond has no reason to think that the death of an MI5 officer on leave in Switzerland is linked. Partnered with Swiss secret agent Fredericka "Flicka" Von Grusse, 007 unearths the victim's dark past and a link to a reclusive former actor in the form of a unique rose.

Score: 5/10. The opening is nicely written, if conventional; the initial premise identical to Dr.No, with Bond handed an apparently straightforward murder investigation of one of his own that turns out to be something more. However the author wanted this to be more than a stumble into a megalomaniac's world, aiming for a full blown detective story with an overt attempt to build up the 'girl's' part. Although not unlike other Gardner heroines (as much sidekick as girlfriend; funny; tough; lewd), Flicka's characterisation is strong and she's amongst Bond's most convincing love matches. In fact their dialogue is interchangeable and she gets enough page time to deserve equal billing!

However, while it has the shape of a Bond novel, it's torn between several formats: too many lulls to be a thriller, too obvious to be a whodunit. You suspect it was meant to be a Thomas Harris/Hannibal Lector, criminal genius vs. good guy battle of wits, but the mystery element (semi-hiding the villain) and pedestrian pace (highlighting a raft of coincidence) prevent this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Nobody Lives Forever" - tell that to 007! 2 Dec 1999
By A Customer
After a slow but credible start at bringing James Bond into the modern literary world, John Gardner hits the mark with his fifth entry - "Nobody Lives Forever". Gardner's Bond is much less the playboy than creator Ian Fleming's 007 was but Gardner still puts the fine touches into an explosive, exciting, violent, and sexy chapter in the James Bond world. The plot is rather simple: SPECTRE returns and offer 10 million Swiss francs for 007's head - just the head. Miss Moneypenny and Bond's housekeeper May are kidnapped to lure him out into the open and he begins a globe-hopping search for them all while dodging assassins from every angle. This book has all of the familiar elements of the best of the Fleming novels and then some - it ranks as high as any of the Fleming novels - while still bringing 007 out to shine for a modern reader. If the braintrust at EON/MGM had any sense, this would be the next film project. Thank you John Gardner! Mr. Fleming would be proud!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two is a Team 8 Dec 1998
By A Customer
This book is an excellent edition to the Bond books. I loved this book because of it's startling areas (with the heads, for those of you who did read it), it's action, and it's suspense. The plot was wonderful and straightforward (not like in You Only Live Twice) and Fredricka von Grusse (Flicka)was an excellent match for Bond. I loved the ending, although I think the ending in the next book (SeaFire) is a whole lot better. After you read this book, be sure to read SeaFire (same author) because that also features Flicka. Also, read Win, Lose, or Die. Although not as good as Never Send Flowers, it packs a punch and it has much mystery and suspense to it. Once again, this book is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Never Read the Blurb 23 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I didn’t really enjoy reading Never Send Flowers and I was happy that it was a short 244 pages long.

The plot and characters were disappointing after John Gardner showed us what he is capable of in the excellent "The Man from Barbarossa" and "Death is Forever". I also made the mistake of reading the blurb on the back of the book and for the second time with this series the publisher let slip one of the major plot points.

Never Send Flowers reads like a detective book rather than a spy thriller – Bond is on the trail of a serial killer who has committed a string of high-profile assassinations as well as the murder of an MI5 asset on vacation in Switzerland. It is the murder of this ‘sister’ that brings MI6 onto the scene.

As he travels from European location to European location our plucky hero as usual meets a couple of disappointingly sexually clichéd women, at least one insane villain (who has his own castle and an unexplained supply of explosives) and ends the story going mano a mano with the villain in EuroDisney of all places.

The lowest point of the experience for me was reading about Bond’s uncharacteristic enjoyment of the theme park which is obviously a reflection of the author’s views and follows a clumsy low-ebbing section of exposition disguised as an interrogation scene – something I have come to strongly dislike about Gardner’s writing. Amongst other traits (alcoholism, misogyny, racism) James Bond is an unabashed snob (a reflection of Ian Flemings mores no doubt) and I find it incredulous to think that such a man would enjoy Mickey Mouse or riding on a Star Wars themed ride. Ridiculous.
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