Octopussy & The Living Daylights (1966)

Author: Ian Fleming
Published: 1966
MI6 Rating:

Capsule Synopsis
Bond is sent to arrest an ex-British Army Officer for murder; It is up to Bond to identify the top Soviet spymaster in London at the auction of a fabulous Fabergé egg; A British agent is escaping from Russia, but a sniper awaits him at the crossing-point in Berlin. Bond is ordered to kill the assassin first; Bond must warn a former SIS agent in New York that her partner is a Russian spy.

Official Blurb (Penguin 2002 Edition)
For James Bond, British secret agent 007, international espionage can be a dirty business. Whether it is tracking down a wayward Major who has taken a deadly secret with him to the Caribbean; identifying a top Russian agent secretly bidding for a Faberge egg in a Sotheby’s auction room; or ruthlessly gunning down an unlikely assassin in sniper’s alley between East and West Berlin, Bond always closes the case – with extreme prejudice.

Official Blurb (Penguin USA 2004 Edition)
This new Penguin edition for the first time includes Fleming's little known story "007 in New York", showcasing Bond's taste for Manhattan's special pleasures from martinis at the Plaza and dinner at Grand Central's Oyster Bar to the perfect anonymity of the Central Park Zoo for a secret rendezvous.

Above: 1st edition Jonathan Cape hardback (UK). Artwork by Richard Chopping.


1 / Octopussy
2 / The Property of a Lady
3 / The Living Daylights
4 / 007 in New York

"Octopussy & The Living Daylights" is a collection of short stories. Data Stream information for each individual story can be found below.

"M looked coldly across the desk. It was going to be dirty work and Bond, because he belonged to the Double O section, had been chosen for it. ‘You’ve got to kill this sniper. And you’ve got to kill him before he gets Agent 272. Is that understood?’
So, it was to be murder..."

The original hardback only included "Octopussy" and "The Living Daylights". The paperback edition added "The Property of a Lady". The 2002 paperback by Penguin added "007 in New York".

Above: British Pan paperback 1st-4th editions (1962 onwards).

Villains: Major Dexter Smythe
Plot: Living off stolen Reichsbank gold
Bond Girls: None
Allies: None
Locations: Jamaica; Kaiser mountains, Germany (flashback)
Highlights: Flashback scene on mountain top

Bond is sent to the Caribbean to investigate the murder during the War of his former skiing instructor, Hans Oberhauser. Major Dexter Smythe admits to carrying out the murder during the German conquest and later returning to steal Oberhauser’s gold. Bond leaves, and the disgraced Smythe considers killing himself before he is arrested. Instead he goes swimming and tries to feed the octopus he has been taming, only to be poisoned by a deadly scorpion fish.

  The Property of a Lady
Villains: Unidentified resident director of KGB in London, Maria Freudenstein
Plot: Pushing the bid at an auction as high as possible to pay off a Russian agent
Bond Girls: None
Allies: Kenneth Snowman
Locations: London, UK
Highlights: Tense auction scene

M realises that a known soviet agent within British Intelligence is going to be paid off by the Russians at an auction when they push up the price for a Faberge egg which she conveniently ‘inherited’. Bond points out that the bidder will be the KGB’s resident director in London, because only he knows about the agent. At the auction Bond spots the bidder, and follows him to the Russian embassy. He is declared a ‘persona non grata; and expelled from London.

Above: Pan (Canadian edition); American Signet paperback 2nd - 21st editions (1962 onwards); British Pan paperback 6th-16th editions (1963 onwards)

The Living Daylights
Villains: "Trigger"
Plot: Assassinating Western agent who is attempting to escape from USSR to West Berlin
Bond Girls: None
Allies: Capt. Paul Sender
Locations: London, UK; West Berlin, Germany
Highlights: M/Bond scene; shooting of Trigger

Bond is sent to Berlin to shoot a sniper trying to kill a double agent coming to the West. On the third of the three possible nights, the agent comes, but 007 sees that the sniper is a beautiful Russian celloist whom he had his eyes on. At the last minute, he shoots her gun instead of her head, to the berating of the vexing local agent. Bond is satisfied to have ‘scared the living daylights’ out of her. The double-agent made it safely.

  007 in New York
Villains: None
Plot: Tip-off a former SIS operative that her partner is a Russian spy
Bond Girls: Solange
Allies: None
Locations: New York City, USA
Highlights: Travelogue

Bond goes to New York to warn a girl who used to work for SIS that she is dating a Russian spy. Bond has arranged to meet her in the Reptile House at Central Park Zoo. This is basically a travelogue of Fleming (through Bond's mind) writing about Bond's attitudes to New York. As ever, he keeps an eye on the finer things of life, and looks forward to sleeping with a girl called Solange. Bond concludes the dominant part one by thinking 'New York has everything'. But he soon realises it doesn't, because there is no reptile house in Central Park Zoo. He eventually did meet the girl though.

"The clear eyes remained cold as ice. But Bond knew that they remained so only with an effort of will. M didn't like sending any man to a killing. But, when it had to be done, he always put on this fierce, cold act of command. Bond knew why. It was to take some of the pressure, some of the guilt, off the killer's shoulders."

"James Bond's choice of reading matter, prompted by a spectacular jacket of a half-naked girl strapped to a bed, turned out to have been a happy one for the occasion. It was called Verderbt, Verdammt, Verraten. The prefix 'ver' siginifed that the girl had not only been ruined, damned and betrayed, but that she has suffered these misfortunes most thoroughly. James Bond temporarily lost himself in the tribulations of the heroine, Gräfin Liselotte Mutzenbacher..."

"James Bond looked Major Smythe squarely in the eyes. 'It just happened that Oberhauser was a friend of mine. He taught me to ski before the war, when I was in my teens. He was a wonderful man. He was something of a father to me at a time when I happened to need one.'"

"The octopus explored his right hand with its buccal orifice and took a first tentative bite at a finger with its beak-like jaws."

Above: Penguin USA paperback 1st edition (2003)

Above: British Coronet paperback 3rd edition (1988); British Penguin paperback edition (2002); US Vintage paperback (2012).


"Ian Fleming traces the intricacies of counter-espionage with all the efficient authority of 007's own secret reports."
- Sunday Times

"A must for all Bond buffs."
- Newsweek