MI6 travels back to 1963 for the release of Ian
Fleming's epic novel "On Her Majesty's Secret
the press reactions to Mrs. Bond...
Time Tunnel: Saved By The Bells
11th June 2007
By the early 1960s, Bond had firmly
established himself as both a literary and cultural icon.
authored ten successful Bond titles and despite a few
ups and downs, “Dr. No” had
hit the big screen and Sean
Connery was the face of 007.
After a spell on the set of "Dr.
No", Fleming returned to GoldenEye to pen the 11th
007 publication, "On
Her Majesty's Secret Service". On its release,
reporters and reviewers observed a few subtle changes to
the super-spy - as well as some big ones.
A Time reporter observed, "When
sobersided Britons belabored Author Ian Fleming for the
consumer snobbery of his caddish hero, Fleming was unrepentant.
He was sorry, he said, only for having once permitted Bond
the unforgivable gaffe of ordering asparagus with bearnaise
instead of mousseline sauce. But in Fleming's latest Bond
bombshell, there are disquieting signs that he took the
critics to heart. On page 152, sophisticated Secret Agent
007 cozies up to a blonde who smells of nothing more aristocratic
than Mennen's baby powder."
edition cover by Richard Chopping
By this time, Fleming had a large dedicated following but
in 1962 Fleming was risking his self-crafted
somewhat. Today, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" has
a classic-Bond ring to it, but in the '60s he was seen as breaking
away from some tried and tested boundaries.
"For Fleming fans, who like 007 just as he is, worse is
to come. Pitted once more against Ernst Blofeld, the fell master
of the international crime syndicate called SPECTRE Bond at first
displays his customary stocks in trade. He uses his own urine
as invisible ink, and successfully escapes from Blofeld's Alpine
retreat by a daredevil schuss down the snow-covered, moonlit
slope—as patrols of goons with guns set an avalanche tumbling
down after him. Then, suddenly, Bond is threatened with what,
for an international cad, would clearly be a fate worse than
Above: Author Ian Fleming
Reviewers sensed the bold move Fleming was making by
marrying off his hero. But as present-day Bond fans know,
"The lady is a countess named Tracy
She drives like Stirling Moss and reeks of Guerlain. So
far so good. But — horrors — she sometimes
sounds like Debbie Reynolds. Gushes Tracy to Bond: ‘I've
got enough sheets and pillows for two and other exciting
things to do with being married.’ The old Bond would
ordinarily give this kind of chatter some suavely short
shrift. The new Bond revels in it. ‘Togetherness,’ he
reflects sententiously. ‘What a curiously valid cliché it
The final pages are some of the most
heart-wrenching and - undoubtedly - some of the very
best of Fleming's canon.
Reporters may have looked down their noses of Mr. Bond’s
choice of bride, but applauded the payoff.1
"Author Fleming, however,
has never been without resources. He appears deus ex machina
machine, reassuringly, is a lethal red Maserati) on page
299 and saves James Bond from his better self."