On Saturday afternoon I was in the centre of Nottingham and, to dodge a downpour of rain, I went into Waterstones Bookshop.
And I'm pleased I did because I bought a new book about Ian Fleming and James Bond titled "Goldeneye - Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming's Jamaica" by Matthew Parker. I'm going to start reading it properly this week (I daresay I'll get through quite a bit today because, inevitably, the British August Bank Holiday weather doesn't look that promising.)
However, having dipped into it over the weekend it appears to be an attempt to tell the story of that part of Fleming's life spent in Jamaica, and at Goldeneye in particular, combined with a look at the people he mingled with there (Noel Coward, for example.) Fleming's writing of the Bond novels and the links between them and the island and its people, and the state of post war Jamaica as it made the transition from British colony to independent member of the Commonwealth.
Ian Fleming liked appropriating the names of people he knew for characters in the books, and Jamaicans he knew or knew of were no exceptions. For example in The Man With The Golden Gun the "bedside board of enquiry" at the end of the book is presided over by "Justice Morris Cargill" - in real life Cargill was a veteran correspondent of The Daily Gleaner.
And as the film Dr. No was partly shot in Jamaica, the book covers this as well. I've dipped in to that chapter and was struck by just how many "locals" - actors and non actors alike - were cast in the film, and in credited roles, not just as extras. I suppose it seems obvious that if actors are available locally one might cast them but some of the casting was curious, according to this book. "Puss-Feller" was played by a real life night club owner; the woman who played Strangways' assistant was cast, according to Terence Young, because she owned the house in which her death scene was filmed; one of the bridge players in the Queen's Club was the manager of the actual club where the scenes were filmed and so was cast; and one of the "Three Blind Mice" assassins was, in real life a dentist! Timothy Moxon, who played Strangways, was a local, a pilot in real life, and he got to know Ian Fleming quite well, and said he, Fleming "was a good man at lifting the elbow. He knew how to put away the booze. But I found him charming."
I'm looking forward to reading this book properly, and I wonder if any other Cbn members have come across it yet?