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The `real` Miss Moneypenny reveals how she helped Ian Fleming

25-Mar-2008 • Literary

In the James Bond films, Miss Moneypenny's role is one of serial flirtation and the occasional serious word of advice in the ear of 007 - reports the Daily Mail.

The secret agent's creator, however, appears to have relied on his secretary for a little more professional input.

Letters sent by the writer Ian Fleming to the woman charged with typing up the manuscripts of his famous 007 novels reveal that he was not averse to taking her advice.

Typist Jean Frampton's notes and suggestions concerning the storylines were encouraged by the author who urged her to use her "quick eye and mind" on his text.

In one letter to Mrs Frampton, written on paper headed with his London address on March 31 1960, Fleming wrote: “I have written a full-length James Bond story, provisionally called 'Thunderball'.

“I am afraid this is not a good typescript and I would be deeply obliged if you would apply your usual keen mind to any points - absolutely any - that might help the book get into shape.”

He adds: “I only ask you to undertake it because your occasional comments on the work you have done for me have been so helpful.

“Anything that your quick eye and mind falls upon, however critical and in whatever aspect of the writing, would be endlessly welcome.

“I am sorry to have to pass on to you a rather half-baked job.”

The letter forms part of a collection due to go under the hammer at an auction next month.

In another, Mrs Frampton wrote of her concerns over the ending of the book Mr Fleming had mentioned.

She tells a colleague: “I still regret the end of 'Thunderball', as my naive and literal mind would like to know what exactly happened to the Disco [a boat] and the rest of her crew and the bombs, how Domino escaped, and of course, what about Blofeld (or does he live to fight another day?)"

Also included in the sale is Mrs Frampton's bill for typing and sub-editing the Thunderball novel. It comes to a total of £8.12.6d.

Mrs Frampton, who lived in Christchurch, Dorset, is believed to never have met the famous author, who spent much of his time in Jamaica.

Other letters from her refer to books including The Man With The Golden Gun, You Only Live Twice and A View To A Kill.

The sale at Duke's auction house in Dorchester, Dorset, takes places on April 10, and the lot has an estimate of between £2,000 and £3,000.

Amy Brenan, from Duke's, said: “We have definitely chosen the right time to sell the collection as it corresponds with the release of the new James Bond book by Sebastian Faulks and it is 100 years since Fleming's birth.

“Already we've had a lot of interest in the correspondence.

“You can look on Mrs Frampton as Ian Fleming's Miss Moneypenny, because he really does seem to rely on her.

“She was the first person to read the books and the collection is interesting because it details how the James Bond books were put together in the early 1960s.

“James Bond is known around the world and these documents relate to a time when he was just being created.”

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