Ian Fleming - The Notes (by John Pearson)

I have just finished reading the recently published "Ian Fleming - The Notes" by John Pearson (Queen Anne Press) and cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone interested in Fleming.

As many of you will know, Pearson worked alongside Fleming at The Sunday Times and knew him well. In 1966 he wrote "The Life of Ian Fleming: Creator of James Bond" which was the first full biography of the author. Pearson began work on the book just months after Fleming's death and sought access to many of the people in Fleming's life. While conducting his research, Pearson made copious notes which have now been published for the first time, edited by acclaimed author and nephew of Ian Fleming, Fergus Fleming. The result is a must-read for anyone interested in the real Ian Fleming.

Pearson's notes were in-depth, extensive and honest (occasionally brutally so). He pulls no punches and those with whom he was in contact were often, in turn, also very honest about Ian Fleming. There are some wonderful anecdotes, plenty of new tidbits not just on Fleming himself but also key members of Fleming's world, such as his wife, Ann Fleming; Admiral John H Godfrey CB, widely acknowledged as the model for "M"; friends (including Ivar Bryce and Ernie Cuneo); former girlfriends (Lisl Popper, Blanche Blackwell etc); literary acquaintances (Cyril Connolly, Eric Ambler, Somerset Maugham, Roald Dahl); family members (Peter, Richard and Amaryllis Fleming); individuals often cited as being inspirations for Bond (Sir William Stephenson, Sidney Cotton) and companies for whom he was a client, like Morlands. There are also notes on places and locations that feature in Fleming's life or the Bond books.

The book has been published in two limited editions: a deluxe edition lettered A to Z, and a regular edition numbered 1 to 150. As with everything Queen Anne Press touches, it is beautifully produced and perfectly bound and is a very proud addition to my Fleming library. It has also nudged its way into my Top Five Ian Fleming biographical works (in no particular order):

- Ian Fleming - The Notes, by John Pearson
- The Man With The Golden Typewriter: Ian Fleming's Bond Letters, by Fergus Fleming
- Goldeneye: Where Bond was Born: Ian Fleming's Jamaica, by Matthew Parker
- Ian Fleming: The Man Who Created James Bond, by Andrew Lycett
- Ian Fleming: The Bibliography, by Jon Gilbert


  • Royale-les-EauxRoyale-les-Eaux LondonPosts: 531MI6 Agent
    Ditto to all of the above. QAP editions really are beautiful works and dealing with Fergus never short of a pleasure.

    I am working through 'The Notes' and you're certainly right about no pulled punches.
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