Thrilling Cities (1963)

Author: Ian Fleming
Published: 1963 (UK, Jonathan Cape)
MI6 Rating:

Thrilling Cities is a collection of non-fiction travel memoirs of the creator of James Bond, originally written for The Sunday Times between 1959 -1960 whilst Ian Fleming was writing "Goldfinger" and the short stories contained within "For Your Eyes Only". At the behest of Times travel editor Leonard Russell, Fleming's travels took in thirteen cities around the world including Hong Kong, Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York and Monte Carlo.

The book was published by Glidrose Productions first in Great Britain in 1963, followed by an American edition in 1964. One of Fleming's finest works, which reads just as easily as any of his fiction, the UK version has a large number of photos including a priceless one of Lucky Luciano standing with Fleming. The US editions feature drawings by Milton Glaser at the beginning of each chapter.

Fleming includes an 'Incidental Intelligence' section at the end of each chapter that lists notable hotels, dining, and night spots. The book version includes material originally removed by the editors of The Times, which Fleming claimed had been properly 'impurgated' in the book.

Above: 1st edition Signet paperback (USA)

The 1959 Journey
Fleming's first trip involved a tour of the Far East and the United States. During the Asian portion of Fleming's trip, he was assisted by Times Asian correspondent Richard Hughes and Tokyo journalist "Tiger" Saito. Fleming's impressions of these two men are reflected in the creations of Dikko Henderson and Tiger Tanaka for Fleming's James Bond novel "You Only Live Twice".


As Fleming's essay on New York City was intensely critical, the editors of the American edition of Thrilling Cities asked him to provide some extra material as some form of mitigation. Fleming obliged with "007 in New York", a short story describing James Bond's impressions of New York City while waiting to perform an inconsequential assignment. The episode, which is actually a shaggy dog story in disguise, is most notable for including the recipe for "Scrambled Eggs James Bond." "007 in New York" was considered a 'lost' Bond story for years because it was not reprinted outside reissues of the American edition of Thrilling Cities until 1999, when the London Sunday Times reprinted the story. In 2002 it was added to new Penguin editions of the short story collection Octopussy and The Living Daylights.

Left: The UK Pan paperback cover artwork for Thrilling Cities (Part 1)

The 1960 Journey
The initial series having been considered a success, Fleming was commissioned to make a sequel journey, this time using an automobile to tour Europe. Fleming toured and wrote essays on the following cities:

Part 1 - The 1959 Journey

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Macao
  3. Tokyo
  4. Honolulu
  5. Los Angeles & Las Vegas
  6. Chicago
  7. New York

Part 2 - The 1960 Journey

  1. Hamburg
  2. Berlin
  3. Vienna
  4. Geneva
  5. Naples
  6. Monte Carlo

Right: The UK Pan paperback cover artwork for Thrilling Cities (Part 2)

"Scrambled Eggs James Bond"
For four individualists:
12 fresh eggs
Salt and pepper
5-6 oz. of fresh butter.


Break the eggs into a bowl. Beat thoroughly with a fork and season well. In a small copper (or heavy bottomed saucepan) melt four oz. of the butter. When melted, pour in the eggs and cook over a very low heat, whisking continuously with a small egg whisk. While the eggs are slightly more moist than you would wish for eating, remove the pan from heat, add rest of butter and continue whisking for half a minute, adding the while finely chopped chives or fines herbs. Serve on hot buttered toast in individual copper dishes (for appearance only) with pink champagne (Taittinger) and low music.

Above: 1st edition Jonathan Cape hardback (UK), Book club edition The Reprint Society hardback (UK), 1st edition New American Library hardback (USA)

Publication Timeline
1963 1st edition Jonathan Cape hardback (UK) - Jacket artwork by Paul Davis, includes an erratum slip on page 223
1964 October 2 - Thrilling Cities: Part I - 1st edition Pan paperback (UK)
Book club edition The Reprint Society hardback (UK) - special edition only made available to World Books members
1st edition New American Library hardback (USA)
Library edition Amereon House hardback (USA)
1965 Thrilling Cities: Part II - 1st edition Pan paperback (UK)
June - 1st edition Signet paperback (USA)