Buyers of the latest UK and U.S. editions of Octopussy and The Living Daylights will be surprised to find an additional short story included, 007 in New York. This little-known Ian Fleming James Bond short story has never been published as a part of the official Bond collection before. The story includes a special introduction by Fleming’s former literary agent and retired Glidrose chairman, Peter Janson-Smith, who explains its history.
Fleming originally wrote this very short story (it’s only eight pages) for The New York Herald Tribune in 1963 where it was first published as Agent 007 in New York. (Fleming’s original title was Reflections in a Carey Cadillac.) The story was later included in Fleming’s non-fictional work, Thrilling Cities, a travelogue collection of the author’s impressions of various cities around the world. The story was included in this book as a counterpoint to Fleming’s own harsh judgment of the city, and to alleviate fears that American readers would take offense. Fleming may not love New York, but James Bond does, so… Strangely enough, 007 in New York only appears in the U.S. edition of Thrilling Cities. The first UK publication of the short story wasn’t until 1999 when it was featured in a Sunday Times supplemental magazine tie-in with The World Is Not Enough. When Ian Fleming Publications reissued all the Fleming titles in 2002, 007 in New York was at last included as part of the official canon, appearing in the Octopussy collection. The U.S. edition was released last week (see Publication of Final 2 “Retro” Fleming Books Marks Milestone).
So what’s in this story for Bond fans? Not much action-wise. Instead it features a mostly internal monologue in which 007 muses on the sights, sounds, and his own memories of New York City as he travels to warn a girl who used to work for SIS that she is dating a Russian spy. Bond has arranged to meet her at the Reptile House at the Central Park Zoo–until he realizes that the Central Park Zoo has no reptile house! Nevertheless, Bond looks forward to the many pleasures the city has to offer (he considers the best meal in the city “oyster stew with cream, crackers, and Miller High Life” served at Grand Central Station’s Oyster Bar), and especially looks forward to spending the night with a girl named Solange.
A memorable highlight of the story is when Bond gives his precise recipe for Scrambled Eggs “James Bond.”
For FOUR individualists:
- 12 fresh eggs
- Salt and pepper
- 5-6 oz. of fresh butter
- Break the eggs into a bowl. Beat thoroughly with a fork and season well. In a small copper (or heavy-bottomed saucepan) melt four oz. of the butter. When melted, pour in the eggs and cook over a very low heat, whisking continuously with a small egg whisk.
- While the eggs are slightly more moist than you would wish for eating, remove pan from heat, add rest of butter and continue whisking for half a minute, adding the while finely chopped chives or fines herbes. Serve on hot buttered toast in individual copper dishes (for appearance only) with pink champagne (Taittainger) and low music.
And you thought he was picky about his martinis!
Of course, hardcore fans will recall that it was in New York where Bond killed his second man in cold blood and thus received his double-oh license to kill. Unfortunetly, Bond does not include this memory among his other recollections of the city.