Queen Anne Press have announced the forthcoming publication of the notes that John Pearson made in 1965 while researching The Life of Ian Fleming.
The QAP website reveals: "They chart not only Fleming’s life – with details that never made it into the finished biography - but John’s own journey while investigating his subject. As such they form less a series of aides memoires than a book about writing a book. Compelling, insightful, irreverent and written in John’s inimitable style, they make an outstanding read. Never before published, they are available in two limitations:
A Regular Edition numbered 001-150 – £125
A Deluxe Edition lettered A-Z, signed by the author – £275 (fully subscribed)
376pp. Royal. Typography by Libanus Press. Covers by Prof. Phil Cleaver, Etal Design. Introduction by Fergus Fleming.
We expect the Regulars to be available late April. It will take a further three weeks to bind the Deluxe. In both cases, pandemic permitting. To register interest please email email@example.com
As a taster, here’s a clip from John’s interview with Admiral Godfrey, Fleming’s boss at Naval Intelligence and reputedly the model for ‘M’.
‘I’ll be wearing a check cap and will meet you off the 9.45 at Eastbourne Central,’ he had said. And there he was, a large, pink-faced man in his early seventies with heavy brown shoes and a grey Rover car. ‘Don’t judge John Godfrey by what he looks like now,’ Harling had said. ‘In his day he was formidable. Very formidable indeed. Since then, of course, he’s had a heart attack and he’s nothing like the man he was.’
But it wasn’t just a heart attack and the passage of a quarter of a century that accounted for the sadness of the occasion. It was partly that he had this air of helplessness, of the best part of life being over, that all naval officers seem to have when they retire. Those brown shoes haunted me throughout the interview.
But more than this, of course, was the fact that Fleming had so grossly oversold the product. Instead of the steely-eyed ‘M’ with his ruthlessness and his wealth and his deeply-lined face, there was this sad old man who found difficulty getting the car parked and looked like Cecil Parker.
The only surviving piece of M-ness one could see were the eyes. They were very pale blue, very cool."