The Spy Who Loved Me (1962)

Author: Ian Fleming
Published: 1st April 1962
MI6 Rating:

Data Stream
Villains: Sluggsy Morant, Sol Horror
Plot: Burning down a hotel for insurance fraud
Bond Girls: Vivienne Michel
Allies: N/A

Adirondacks; (Flashbacks of London, UK and Toronto, Canada)

Highlights: Cinema episode; arrival of Bond; final battle with thugs

Capsule Synopsis
Vivienne Michel is a young woman hired to watch over an empty motel, overnight. Trouble starts when two men come out of the night - Sol Horror and Sluggsy Morant. It soon becomes obvious they have criminal intentions, and that she isn’t meant to come out alive. Then a third man arrives by the chance of a flat tyre: Bond - James Bond.
Above: 1st edition Jonathan Cape hardback (UK). Artwork by Richard Chopping.

Official Blurb (Penguin 2002 Edition)
Vivienne Michel is in trouble. Trying to escape her tangled past, she has run away to the American backwoods, winding up at the Dreamy Pines Motor Court. A far cry from the privileged world she was born to, the motel is also the destination of two hardened killers – the perverse Sol Horror and the deadly Sluggsy Morant. When a coolly charismatic Englishman turns up, Viv, in terrible danger, is not just hopeful, but fascinated. Because he is James Bond, 007; the man she hopes will save her, the spy she hopes will love her

Chapter Listing

Part 1 / Me

  1. Scaredy Cat
  2. Dear Dead Days
  3. Spring's Awakening
  4. 'Dear Viv'
  5. A Bird with a Wing Down
  6. Go West, Young Woman

Part 2 / Them

  1. 'Come into My Parlour...'
  2. Dynamite from Nightmare-land
  3. Then I Began to Scream

Part 3 / Him

  1. Whassat?
  2. Bedtime Story
  3. To Sleep - Perchance to Die!
  4. The Crash of Guns
  5. Bimbo
  6. The Writing on My heart
Above: British Pan paperback 8th edition (1973)

He was about six feet tall, slim and fit. The eyes in the lean , slightly tanned face were a very clear grey-blue and as they observed the men they were cold and watchful. His good looks had a dangerous, almost cruel quality that had frightened me. But now I knew he could smile, I thought his face exciting, in a way no face had ever excited me before...

Above: American Signet paperback 1st-22nd editions (1963 onwards); American Berkley paperback 1st-8th editions (1982 onwards); British Pan paperback 6th & 7th editions (1971),

The Spy Who Loved Me is an anomaly among the James Bond books, as Ian Fleming chose to part with his accepted and successful technique of a third-person narrative focusing mainly on the character of James Bond, and instead he opted for a first person narrative by a woman with whom 007 falls in love.

Vivienne Michel spends the first 65 pages of the book explaining to the reader about herself and her past. She has ended up looking after the motel on the Adirondacks (mountain range in Canada) to help fund the trip down America she is undertaking, following what seems a sheltered yet unhappy life. She recounts her two past sexual experiences, both of which ended in sadness. One was a powerful romance with a university rugby player, only for her to be humiliated when they were caught about to have sex in the box of a cinema, and disappointed by her first experience in the woods. After that relationship fizzled out she took up various office jobs, and shared a room with a German, with whom she fell in love after his fiancee abandoned him. They enjoyed a good fulfilled relationship until she became pregnant, when the man then left her, leaving only money to pay for an abortion.

The next 32 pages are spent recounting the arrival of two vicious villains, Sol ‘Horror’ Harowitz and Sluggsy Morant. They are hoodlums involved with the motel, and are extremely aggressive, beating up Vivienne and demanding food. Just as they are about to rape her, there is a knocking on the door...

The final 65 pages are spent recounting the arrival and subsequent actions of the guest, who of course turns out to be none other than James Bond, on his way back from a mission. He realises Vivienne is in some kind of trouble, and as he talks to the villains it becomes clear that they are planning to burn down the hotel as part of an insurance scam. Bond spends the night protecting Vivienne’s room, and the crooks think they have killed him. In the end there is a big gun battle, ending with Horror shot by 007 and steering his car into the lake. Bond and Vivienne make love in a passionate and physical experience, but Sluggsy had escaped from the car. Bond kills him, and when Vivienne wakes up she is left only a note from Bond. The police arrive.

" Unharmed? What was it the captain of detectives said about ‘scars’ I just didn’t believe him. The scars of my terror had been healed, wiped away, by this stranger who slept with a gun under his pillow, this secret agent who was known only by a number."

"A secret agent? I didn’t care what he did. A number? I had already forgotten it. I knew exactly who he was and what he was. And everything, every smallest detail, would be written on my heart forever."

"The true jungle of the world, with its real monsters, only rarely shows itself in the life of a man, a girl, in the street. But it is always there. You take a wrong step, play the wrong card in Fate's game, and you are in it and lost - lost in a world you had never imagined, against which you have no knowledge and no weapons. No compass."

"I knew it was Uhlmann, the ex-Gestapo man. One's had to get to know the smell of a German, and of a Russian for that matter, in my line of work."

"There was the touch of a slightly damp hand. 'Ferry pleased to meet you', said in an ingratiating voice and Bond looked into a pale round unhealthy face now split in a stage smile which died almost as Bond noticed it. Bond looked into his eye. They were like two restless black buttons and they twisted away from Bond's gaze."

Above: British Pan paperback 15th-17th editions (1971 onwards)

Above: British Book Club hardback 1st edition; British Pan paperback 1st edition (1967 onwards); British Penguin paperback edition (2002)


"Ian Fleming keeps you revited. His narrative pulls with the smooth power of Bond's Thunderbird"
- Sunday Telegraph

"The spy who loved me was called James Bond, and the night on which he loved me was a night of screaming terror... This is the story of who I am and how I came through a nightmare of torture and the threat of death to a dawn of ecstacy. So writes Vivienne Michel - 'the most attractive of Bond's heroines to date."
- Sunday Times.

"Muscularly brilliant... not for prudes."
- Evening Standard

Above: Penguin USA paperback 1st edition (2003)