Sunday, October 14, 2012

Spying on a spy

The fan who taught Ian Fleming about guns
Browsing through various literary blogs, I chanced upon this irresistible article: “The Fan Who Put a (Real) Gun in James Bond’s Hands.” It was spy novelist Paul Collins dishing on Ian Fleming. Aha!
Ian Fleming
“Everything I write has a precedent in truth,” Ian Fleming claims. No reason to doubt it. He was a Naval Intelligence officer for six years, after all. But at some point during his training in covert ops, Fleming must’ve missed the class on guns.

One fan noticed. Engineering analyst and amateur firearms expert Geoffrey Boothroyd finally broke down and wrote Fleming the following: “I dislike a man who (faces) all sorts of formidable people using a .25 Beretta. This sort of gun is really a lady’s gun, and not a really nice lady at that.”
Fleming responded a week later. Now, in every novel since the 1956 Diamonds are Forever, James Bond packs his now-iconic Walther PPK.

Boothroyd remained Fleming’s advisor for years, refusing any compensation for his invaluable services.  So the novelist repaid him with something even better.  Starting with Dr. No, he became immortalized as Bond’s brilliant gadget man Major Boothroyd, a.k.a. “Q.”

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