The CommanderBond.net ‘Looking Back’ series now moves on to one of the most overlooked titles in the official literary 007 canon: 1967’s 003½: The Adventures Of James Bond Junior by R.D. Mascott.
Essentially the first glimpse at what a young James Bond adventure might resemble, this little-known story focuses on James Bond Jr., nephew of the famous agent 007.
CBn looks back at 003½: The Adventures Of James Bond Junior through publication details, cover artwork, the original jacket blurbs, trivia notes, a look at just who exactly R.D. Mascott is, and more…
003½: The Adventures Of James Bond Junior UK Jonathan Cape Hardback
The one person who never teased young James Bond about his famous uncle (‘I think I’ll call you 003 1/2,’ joked his housemaster) was old Mrs. Frame of Hazeley Hall, the estate next to his parents’ cottage. She gave him a key to her walled garden and the run of the bothy in it; it was to be a secret between them, and he was to keep his treasures and do as he pleased there. But then Mrs. Frame died during the summer term, and when James returned home, he found the whole place had been sold to an eccentric recluse, Mr. Merck. James’s chance to recover his precious possessions comes when both his parents have to fly to Africa, leaving him in the care of Mrs. Raggles from the village.
Undeterred by Mr. Merck’s wire fences and fierce dogs, he begins to trespass and makes an unexpected ally in his investigations–small, dirty, tow-headed shop-lifting Sheelagh. He soon finds out that very strange and sinister things are going on in Hazeley Hall.
… Could there be any connection between the recent bullion robbery and the odd activities at Hazeley Hall? If so, this is surely a matter for adult intervention: the police, Commander Conningtower of Naval Intelligence, the villagers. But they all have their own ludicrous, grown-up reasons for not wanting to be involved. So James is forced to struggle on alone. Soon he is caught up in a thrilling adventure which calls for the same brand of courage and resourcefulness that made his uncle famous.
UK Jonathan Cape First Edition Hardback
003½ – James Bond Junior
Without question 003½: The Adventures Of James Bond Junior is one of the most overlooked additions to the literary 007 canon. An official entry in the series (the original 1967 copyright is asserted to Glidrose Productions Ltd. [now the present-day Ian Fleming Publications Ltd.] and was published by regular publisher Jonathan Cape in the UK), the novel is still often regarded as a “rogue” adventure due to its focus on James Bond Jr., as opposed to James Bond.
Depending on one’s own opinion of what is and is not counted in the literary 007 canon, 003½: The Adventures Of James Bond Junior represents the first true continuation novel in the James Bond series. It’s 1967 publication in the UK (the US edition of this book came out in 1968) precedes Kingsley Amis’ Colonel Sun, which was published in 1968.
Up until Charlie Higson’s official Young Bond series commenced in 2005 with the publication of SilverFin, 003½: The Adventures Of James Bond Junior was the only novel in the literary Bond canon that focused on a younger James Bond-themed adventure.
Of all the James Bond novels and novelizations (whether written by Ian Fleming or a continuation author), 003½: The Adventures Of James Bond Junior has one of the most limited publication histories, consisting of a single hardback edition in the UK, US, France, Germany and Denmark. While the US Random House edition is still relatively cheap to come by online in used condition at sites such as eBay and AbeBooks, the UK Jonathan Cape edition is considerably more difficult to find in a fair condition and at a reasonable price. The novel was reprinted in 1974 and once more in 1978 in the UK. Note that the US edition was issued without a dustjacket.
003½: The Adventures Of James Bond Junior is one of the few James Bond novels to be illustrated:
- For the UK edition, the illustrations were provided by Christopher Chamberlain and the jacket drawing by Jane Hood.
- For the US edition, Welsh artist Michael Jackson supplied the illustrations.
- For the French edition, Maurice Paulin is the credited illustrator.
The overall approach to 003½: The Adventures Of James Bond Junior needs to be taken with a grain of salt since “M” writes in the obituary for James Bond in Ian Fleming’s You Only Live Twice: ‘…James Bond leaves, so far as I am aware, no relative living.’
Who Is R.D. Mascott?
As stated in the US Random House hardback edition, ‘R.D. Mascott is the pseudonym of a well-known British author’. For many years, the true identity of the author remained a mystery, with names such as Kingsley Amis and Roald Dahl coming up as possibilities, despite no evidence that supported these claims.
The most generally accepted person believed to be Mascott is author Arthur Calder-Marshall (1908-1992). A British novelist and essayist who was most active during between the 1930s and 60s, Calder-Marshall’s publication history includes the following selected works:
- At Sea (1934)
- A Crime Against Cania (1934)
- Dead Centre (1935)
- A Pink Doll (1935)
- Glory Dead (1939)
- The Way To Santiago (1940)
- The Watershed (1947)
- A Man Reprieved (1949)
- Occasion of Glory (1955)
- The Fair to Middling (1959)
- The Scarlet Boy (1961)
- Man from Devil’s Island (1964)
Several years ago, the now defunct 007Forever.com website made a detailed case for the claim that Arthur Calder-Marshall was indeed the author behind the R.D. Mascott pseudonym. This incredibly detailed analysis focused greatly on the writing style and compared specific paragraph’s from 003½: The Adventures Of James Bond Junior to several of Calder-Marshall’s novels that were published roughly around the same time.
As reported at Her Majesty’s Secret Servant, the identity of Mascott was kept a secret for decades until it was confirmed by his executors to be Arthur Calder-Marshall.
Arthur Calder-Marshall’s The Scarlet Boy – A ‘disturbing adult novel of an innocent’s encounter with an unearthly evil’
003 1/2 The Adventures Of James Bond Junior
It’s not easy to be the nephew of someone as famous as James “007” Bond.
The younger James Bond has played “secret agent” so often that his friends think it’s just another game when he says there’s something going on at a nearby estate.
But James wonders why the new owner has sealed off the grounds with barbed wire and vicious dogs. Is he just a mad millionaire? Or is there method in his madness?
With the help of an unlikely ally, a grubby, shop-lifting girl named Sheelagh, James undertakes a daring adventure in which he displays the same courage an resourcefulness that made his uncle famous.
US Random House Hardback Edition
003½: The Adventures Of James Bond Junior US Random House Hardback
- 1967: 1st British Jonathan Cape Hardback Edition
- 1968: 1st American Random House Hardback Edition
- 1970: 1st French Hachette Book Group Hardback Edition
- 1970: 1st German Hardback Edition
- 1970: 1st Denmark Lademanns Hardback Edition
Your Own Opinion On 003½: The Adventures Of James Bond Junior
Want to share your thoughts and opinion on 003½: The Adventures Of James Bond Junior? Feel free to discuss this little-known James Bond adventure by visiting this thread on the CommanderBond.net Forums.