Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Living Daylights Sees the Light of Day…..Day 35 of Bond 365

I turn to literature for today’s entry for Day 35 of Bond 365. 

On this day in 1962, the short story The Living Daylights first appeared in The Sunday Times (UK) and was posthumously published by Jonathan Cape June 23, 1966 (UK). The Living Daylights was paired with another short story, Octopussy, for that release. In more recent editions, two additional short stories have been added: The Property of a Lady and 007 in New York.

Fleming originally titled this story Trigger Finger and is about Bond’s three-night stake out to kill an assassin. When it was published however, the title was changed to Berlin Escape, which was kept when it was published later that same year in America. In 1966, it was adapted to a comic strip format by writer Jim Lawrence and illustrator Yaroslav Horak. Titan Books re-released the comic strip in their James Bond Omnibus Vol. 2 (2011) and is available from Amazon.

Cover art Richard Chopping (Wikipedia)
It has been a couple of years since I have read this short story, but I remember enjoying the story as well as the other ones. The film includes details from the story: a beautiful cellist with a sniper rifle. In the story, Bond shoots the butt of her gun; in the film, he saves her. In the book, Bond hopes he is fired for making the split second decision to prevent her shot rather than kill her. For the story, Fleming consulted the National Rifle Association for sniper shooting information. The concept of the noise masking an escape was inspired by the real life escape of Pat Reid. And, Fleming profiled his half-sister Amaryllis for the female assassin.

The original cover was illustrated by Richard Chopping, who was himself an author (children’s books and natural history) and illustrator. He created the dust jackets for nine of the James Bond books, starting with From Russia, with Love (1957, Jonathan Cape). Interestingly, Chopping’s correspondence with Fleming went up for auction in 2010. The collection of letters touched on details relating to the dust jacket art. I bet they would have been interesting to read. The lot sold for $57,600.

© Copyright. Michele Brittany. 2011 - 2015. All rights reserved. All text, graphics, and photos are protected by US and International Copyright Laws, and may not be copied, reprinted, published, translated, hosted, or otherwise distributed by any means without written permission.

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