Thursday, June 02, 2011

"That's a Smith & Wesson and you've had your six"

There's a fabulous piece of correspondence on the Letters of Note blog about James Bond's "rather deplorable taste in firearms".

A gun expert, Geoffrey Boothroyd, wrote to Ian Fleming in 1956, praising his books but saying that the .25 Beretta that Fleming had given to Bond was "really a lady's gun, and not a really nice lady at that". Boothroyd went on to suggest other guns that the secret agent could use instead.

Fleming, to his credit, was delighted to take the suggestion and equipped Bond with a Walther PPK in Dr No. He said he would pay Boothroyd for the advice and offered to recommend him to any company who might film the Bond books. How many authors would do that today?

As a final gracious gesture, Fleming gave Bond's armourer, Q, a name for the first time in Dr No: Major Boothroyd. It wasn't the only time he borrowed someone's name: Blofeld and Scaramanga were both named after boys he knew at school.

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