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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Octopussy and The Living Daylights: Ian Fleming - Tales of the Bond Man
*Contains some plot spoilers*

First published in a single collection in 1966, 2 years after Ian Fleming's passing, this is the final print outing for superspy James Bond from the pen of his originator. It is a collection of four short stories, Octopussy, Property Of A Lady, The Living Daylights and 007 In New York. As with his previous short story collection,...
Published 14 months ago by Victor

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3.0 out of 5 stars Complete the collection
I need this book to complete my Bond collection haven't got any of the new ones after Flemming as this was the orignal Bond warts and all. Arrived on time and in good condition.
Published 8 months ago by mr claude duvall


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Octopussy and The Living Daylights: Ian Fleming - Tales of the Bond Man, 11 Nov. 2013
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Octopussy & The Living Daylights: James Bond 007 (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
*Contains some plot spoilers*

First published in a single collection in 1966, 2 years after Ian Fleming's passing, this is the final print outing for superspy James Bond from the pen of his originator. It is a collection of four short stories, Octopussy, Property Of A Lady, The Living Daylights and 007 In New York. As with his previous short story collection, Fleming uses this as an opportunity to do something a bit different with his writing, and to get away from the traditional Bond milieu.

Being in the short story format, Fleming has to restrain himself from the over long descriptions that sometimes bogged the later Bond novels down slightly, making these short sharp and punchy pieces, but still beautifully observed. Story by story:

Octopussy - This is a great opening story. We see the story through the eyes of Major Dexter Smythe, an ex army officer who served with intelligence during the war and is now living in a comfortable retirement in Jamaica. A visit from an enigmatic man named Bond shatters his world, as the secret of his wealth is revealed and he must decide on his own future. This is a classic piece of writing from Fleming. The character of Smythe is particularly well realised (apart from the dodgy wartime dealing and the murder, I wonder how much of the mid fifties ex intelligence officer living in Jamaica with a coronary condition was based on himself?) and from the vivid descriptions of sea life through to the bleak tale of Smythe's life and how his villainy and wealth have failed to bring him happiness this tale is a real winner for me.

Property of a Lady - 007 attends an auction at Sotheby's to try and uncover the Russian's top man in England, who MI6 think will be bidding on a priceless Faberge piece. The piece was sent to a top mole working for the Russians in MI6 as a clandestine way of paying her for her services. It's a slight tale, and has a glaring plot hole at it's heart (MI6 want to keep using the mole to pass disinformation, so why do they set out to expose the top Russian at the auction, thereby exposing that they know about the mole and eliminating her usefulness?) but Fleming's passion for the detail saves it and a decent read is the result.

Living Daylights - an unusually morose piece from Fleming finds Bond on a mission to eliminate a Russian sniper who will be trying to prevent a defector from making the dash from East to West in Berlin. This, for me, is the best story in the book as Fleming examines Bond's attitude to the job of a cold blooded murder. The final section of the story is as tense as they come as the mission plays itself out. It's a masterful piece, 5 stars in its own right.

007 in New York - This is a bit of an oddity. Seemingly penned by Fleming as an apology for a travelogue he once wrote in which he damned New York, this finds James Bond anticipating the pleasures of the city as he waits for a rendezvous with an ex MI6 agent to deliver a warning. In essence it is a description of all the best things to be found in the city, although it has one deficiency, which leads to an unusually funny ending. As an interesting coda there is an excellent recipe for scrambled eggs at the end.

An interesting and worthwhile set of Bond stories, 5 stars in all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Re-inventing Bond as a cold-blooded, unsympathetic killer, 8 Aug. 2014
By 
Ian Thumwood "ian17577" (Winchester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Octopussy & The Living Daylights: James Bond 007 (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
Whilst Ian Fleming's novels can be uneven, the shorter stories demonstrate just how willing he was to experiment as a writer. The collection included within "For your eyes only" represents, in my opinion, the apogee of his writing and, if you add "The spy who loved me" in to the same category, the collection in "Octopussy" shows his willing to play with the James Bond character. Of the longer stories, only "From Russia with love" which has Bond appearing midway through the novel matches these shorter novels for originality.

That said, this is probably the weaker of the short story compilations. "Octopussy" merely involves Bond as messenger to advise the principle character that his Second World War duplicity has been rumpled and, in this respect, mirrors a story like "Quantum of solace" where Bond has not role in the account. This is followed by the "Property of a lady" which ,although improbable, does mirror the kind of typical scene that you might encounter in a Bond film. The closing account is a 10 page vignette where James Bond visits New York and is simply an account of clubs, restaurants and other hand-outs that appealed to the principle character. There is little or no story yet the reference to the Savoy Ballroom is a reminder that 007's youthful years would have been in the late 1930's and someway away from our perception of the character. Interesting as these stories are, they are not great yet "The living daylights" probably represents Ian Fleming's crowning achievement as a writer and jettisons the more romantic notions surrounding the character with an account of a cold-blooded plan to thwart a Soviet assassin. This mirrors a writer more of the ilk of Len Deighton than we would have expected from Ian Fleming and whilst the bulk of the other Bond booms always conjure up the image of Sean Connery as the hero, this account more than any other offers the model of the spy as a cod-blooded killer as performed by Craig Daniel. Simple in structure, this short story has a really good twist and represents Fleming at his most concise and thorough. It is a really good piece of writing and perhaps better than anything else Fleming wrote.

In summary this is a collection of one quite good story and two rather minimal accounts coupled with a really brilliant short story that merits the additional star. The stories offer a colder and more clinical Bond than in some of the more famous and flabbier stories and despite the thinness of this collection, it should not be ignored.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Complete the collection, 6 May 2014
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This review is from: Octopussy & The Living Daylights: James Bond 007 (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
I need this book to complete my Bond collection haven't got any of the new ones after Flemming as this was the orignal Bond warts and all. Arrived on time and in good condition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 25 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Octopussy & The Living Daylights: James Bond 007 (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
Superb Bond short stories. The. Vintage Classic publisher is my publisher of choice for the rest of the series...SJPD
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Bond, you'll like this., 4 April 2013
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Nige (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Octopussy & The Living Daylights: James Bond 007 (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
I have a first edition of the original, which only contains the 2 title stories.
I bought the paperback for the extra 2 stories - "007 in New York" and "The Property of A Lady", which I'd never read.

If you like the Bond novels, you will like these stories!

A decent paperback edition - crisp clear text and well made.
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