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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Octopussy and The Living Daylights: Ian Fleming unabridged reading by Tom Hiddleston and Lucy 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 20 months ago by Victor

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet
A slim collection of Bond short stories not published until after the author's death. Dealing as they do with greed, betrayal and conscience they are a worthy addition to any Bond aficionado's collection of stories about the man from 'the Ministry of Defence'.
'Octopussy' is the study of a man in decline, as one Major Smythe, wracked by guilt over a wartime episode,...
Published on 24 Feb. 2002 by Andy (aaamack@omantel.net.om)


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Octopussy and The Living Daylights: Ian Fleming unabridged reading by Tom Hiddleston and Lucy Fleming - Tales of the Bond Man, 3 Oct. 2013
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
*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.

This unabridged reading is excellent. Tom Hiddleston takes on the first three stories, and does a fine job of distinguishing characters without resorting to OTT accents and vocal gymnastics. He has a feel for the pace of the stories, and builds up the tension expertly. At the climax of Living Daylights I actually thought there were two people speaking at the same time, his vocal separation is so good. Following Living daylights there is a short interview with Hiddleston, which is mildly interesting. Then comes an introduction from Ian Fleming's niece, Lucy, giving some background for the story 007 in New York, which she then proceeds to read. I had worried that might be a little bit of a vanity job, but as it turns out she is a fine reader, perfectly suited to the piece and the whole thing ahs a feeling of something a little bit special.

Total run time is 3 hours 40 minutes. It's a great finish to what has been an excellent series of unabridged reading for all of the Bond adventures penned by Fleming. 5 stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet, 24 Feb. 2002
A slim collection of Bond short stories not published until after the author's death. Dealing as they do with greed, betrayal and conscience they are a worthy addition to any Bond aficionado's collection of stories about the man from 'the Ministry of Defence'.
'Octopussy' is the study of a man in decline, as one Major Smythe, wracked by guilt over a wartime episode, gradually loses his will to live. With his secret almost mercifully exposed by a stranger, he makes his exit in the most bizarre manner since Dr No himself.
'The Property of a Lady' is a real curiosity with the final action set inside the main sale room of Sotheby's, of all places. Here Bond, aided by the suitably ice-cool Faberge expert, Mr Snowman, attempts to expose a pay-off to a Soviet spy involving a Faberge 'Object of Vertu'.
'The Living Daylights' is a melancholy tale about a 'hit' that has been assigned to Bond. It is deemed necessary in order to allow an agent, '272', to escape unhindered across from Soviet occupied East Berlin. Bond is cooped up in a small, musty apartment with the rather officious 'Number 2' of West Berlin station and eventually falls foul of him when he hesitates at the last second as the identity of his target becomes clear. The two men make an interesting combination. In Bond we see a man still guided by humanity and in Captain Sender (Number 2) we see a man guided by nothing more than rules.
Three stories then to add to the already impressive litany of Bond adventures, and three stories that reveal more about the characters themselves than about any plot. As short stories they are unable to develop the kind of fast-paced, multi-faceted, globe-trotting battle between good and evil that make up the backbones of so many Bond adventures. However, in limiting themselves into looking into why people do the things they do and the consequences of actions they are no less interesting and thought provoking.
On a different note, I think it would be a good idea if some of the reviewers actually read the book again. The instances of wrong information being contained in some of the 'reviews' is
inexcusable. For instance, in 'The Living Daylights', Bond doesn't cross the east-west strip in Berlin and in 'The Property of a Lady' he doesn't bid for a Faberge egg. There are more examples but word limits dictate. Ian Fleming deserves to have his novels more carefully examined.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bond short story collection, 6 Sept. 2010
By 
Andrew Dalby "ardalby" (oxford) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This book contains 3 Bond Short Stories and an article Fleming wrote.

The first is where Bond confronts an ex-secret service Major over what happened at the end of the war and how he acquired his fortune. It also gives a little human background to Bond before the war and as an adolescent.

The second is Property of a Lady which describes the Russians paying off one of their under-cover operatives with a Faberge Jewel. This is the weakest of the stories. It is unnecessarily negative about women who are not beautiful - to the point of being misogynistic and the story is nonsense. Why risk a section chief to bump up the sale price? It is just silly.

The third and the best is the Living Daylights where Bond has to shoot a sniper who is going to kill an important defecting agent. But again Fleming shows Bond to care more about chasing skirt than his job. This is why it gets four stars and not three.

Finally there is a short article about New York which Fleming wrote to try and appease New Yorkers after his own scathing attack after visiting the city, but it is hardly an endorsement and attacks the US with typical public school snobbery for which Fleming is renowned.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Way to Start Of, 28 Oct. 2002
By 
JH (Australia) - See all my reviews
This, Ian Fleming's last 'James Bond' story, first published in 1966.
This book contains not only the cover titles, but two others not published in the first edition, 'the Property of a Lady', and '007 in New York'. '007 in New York' appears here for the first time in book form.
'the Living Daylights' is, in my opinion, a terrifically taught study in cold war espionage. The sheer electricity that runs through the story is indescribable, an interesting combination of the dull, annonymous world of spying crosswired with large ammounts of tension. Fleming wrote this story originally for the debut issue of 'the Sunday Times Colour Supplement', and was published with not much notoriety, but this is undoubtably a crisp example of a Bond story. 'The Property of a Lady' is a curious tale, much to the interest of the antiquarian or collector, which takes place in the London auction rooms of Sotheby's: A quick, hurried story that never looses any of its chances to take a shock to its reader.
'007 in New York' is, essentially, a short summary of New York written for the American edition of Fleming's 1963 travel book 'Thrilling Cities'. The few pages in the story take on a 'Gambit' quality, with descriptions of New York's wonderful nightlife (and daylife).
'Octopussy' is one of Fleming's last stories that he ever wrote, and concerns a hoard of Nazi gold nessled in the grasp of a dying major.
Overall, this is a good book to either start the Bond saga with: it is something of a taster, a tester, an inexpensive blueprint of what to expect from other, more time-consuming novels.
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1 of 1 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
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
*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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1 of 1 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
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
*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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1 of 1 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
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
*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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1 of 1 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
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Octopussy & The Living Daylights: James Bond 007 (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 Contains two of the best James Bond short stories, 18 Jun. 2012
By 
Jim J-R (West Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
The final entry in Ian Fleming's 14 books about James Bond is a second collection of short stories. Containing three or four tales about the character (depending on which edition you have), I actually feel it is the better of the two sets.

Of the four stories in my copy, I felt two were very strong - The Living Daylights is a piece focussing on the character of Bond, part of Fleming's writing that I've found the most interesting as I have re-read the series, as he takes on a mission in Berlin which he would rather avoid. The Property of a Lady is, in contrast, a piece about espionage, drawing on Fleming's real-life experiences to describe in thrilling detail the investigation of a mole in MI6.

I can't say I was as enamoured of the other two pieces - Octopussy features Bond as a secondary character, and is focussed entirely on his target as a character. While somewhat interesting, it almost feels like Bond is shoehorned in. 007 In New York, the only piece of Ian Fleming's Bond writing that I've not read before, was quite a disappointment. It is brief and feels forced - Bond is almost acting out of character in order to sell New York as a city.

Overall though, this serves as a good coda to the series, much more so than The Man With the Golden Gun, and I'm pleased that the short stories were collected for modern readers like me. Some of the short stories are the best character pieces about Bond and I've appreciated them much more on this re-read than the first time in my teens.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A rag-bag of stories, 27 Aug. 2012
This is a rag-bag of stories that screams of a collection put together posthumously. It's amazing how little excitement there is within these four tales; indeed they all just drift aimlessly into each other. But then, to be fair, I can't now remember any detail about the adventures in `For Your Eyes Only' either. Perhaps it's the case that Fleming was a much better long-distance runner than he was a sprinter, as these tales - which mostly lack sex and dramatic tension - seem far removed from even his lesser novels. So we have James Bond going to an auction in one story, and confronting a disgraced officer with a love of octopi in another. And if you've read those vague descriptions of them, then you've pretty much read the whole thing.

The highlight is certainly `The Living Daylights', which does throw in some action and sexual frisson with its take on Bond as a hired killer. Undoubtedly the worst is `OO7 in New York', which is a weird kind of travelogue. Basically if the most exciting thing to happen in a story is Bond giving out a recipe for scrambled eggs, then something vital has got lost somewhere.
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Octopussy & The Living Daylights: James Bond 007
Octopussy & The Living Daylights: James Bond 007 by Ian Fleming (Paperback - 4 Oct. 2012)
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