Mark Twain – Part 1

Mark Twain came to town last week. All right, not to our town. To nearby Whitewater, the Young Auditorium, and he lectured to an audience of 1,291 people – one shy of a full house – his lecture a part of this year’s Big Read in our county. We’re all reading “Tom Sawyer” and talking [...]

Bond week, one more time – Part 5

Of all the writers who have picked up the Ian Fleming mantle, Jeffery Deaver, the fifth writer, may have been the best right off the top. Deaver was and continues to be one of our country’s best thriller writers, with 28 novels to his credit, many of them New York Times bestsellers. “I’m always looking [...]

Bond week, one more time – Part 4

Strange things happen in the publishing world. On August 28, 2005, Ian Fleming Publications – previously Gildrose Publications – announced it would publish a one-off adult James Bond novel in 2008 to mark the 100th anniversary of Ian Fleming’s birth. Who would get the assignment to write it, nobody knew . . . not until [...]

Bond week, one more time – Part 3

I know Raymond Benson, the third writer to carry on the James Bond books. He wrote six original Bond novels, three novelizations, and three Bond short stories between 1996 and 2002. We serve on the board of directors of the Midwest chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. Raymond and I sat together back in [...]

Bond week, one more time – Part 2

Thirteen years flew away between the first post-Ian Fleming James Bond novel, “Colonel Sun,” and the second, “License Renewed.” And for this second book, Glidrose Publications, the holder of the Fleming copyrights, brought in a new writer, British thriller writer John Gardner. Gardner came and stayed. He wrote 14 original Bond novels and the novelizations [...]

Bond week, one more time – Part 1

Kingsley Amis wrote the first post-Ian Fleming James Bond novel several years after Fleming’s death in 1964. That book, Colonel Sun, came out in 1968 and sold moderately well. Kingsley got the contract for the novel despite the fact that Fleming’s widow, Ann, opposed him. She didn’t like Amis, thought him a left-wing opportunist, and, [...]

Bond week – Part 5

If you like the word “franchise” in the entertainment business, James Bond is the world’s greatest franchise hero. Twelve novels and two collections of short stories written by Ian Fleming, the man who created 007. Twenty-three original novels, seven novelizations of Bond movies, three Bond short stories, and five Young Bond novels, a short story, [...]

Bond week – Part 4

Ian Fleming proved to be a fast writer. He wrote at his house, Goldeneye, in Jamaica. His day started with a swim and breakfast with his wife Ann in the garden. Then he’d walk across the veranda into the main living room where he’d close the doors and jalousies, open his roll-top desk, and, for [...]

Bond week – Part 3

Mention Q in connection with James Bond and most of us see that craggy-faced actor, Desmond Llewelyn, who portrayed the man in a white lab coat who tricked out Bond with the latest spy gadgets in every film from “From Russia with Love” in 1963 to “The World Is Not Enough” in 1999 . . [...]

Bond week – Part 2

Everyone wants to know from popular writers, where do your characters come from? Ian Fleming did not base James Bond upon himself, although he – Fleming – had been in the spy business before and during World War II for Britain’s Royal Navy Intelligence Division, England’s largest and most successful espionage agency at the time. [...]