On November 2nd armed with a sheaf of visas...one suitcase...and my typewriter, I left humdrum London for the thrilling cities of the world...
In 1959, Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, was commissioned by the Sunday Times to explore fourteen of the world’s most exotic cities. Fleming saw it all with a thriller writer’s eye. From Hong Kong to Honolulu, New York to Naples, he left the bright main streets for the back alleys, abandoning tourist sites in favour of underground haunts, and mingling with celebrities, gangsters and geishas. The result is a series of vivid snapshots of a mysterious, vanished world.
An accomplished travel writer
He gathered material for his novels like a voracious travelling magpie: the people and places Fleming experienced on his Thrilling Cities tour in 1959 would [furnish] much of the backdrop and research for the five Bond novels and seven short stories that would follow
Fleming was a fine travel writer, too (check out Thrilling Cities), and we quickly come to know and appreciate the locales in the book as we do the characters
Fleming describes food precisely and enticingly
[Fleming's] penchant for fast cars, stylish hotels, expensive alcohol and bizarre encounters brings a whiff of excitement to the narrative, which is vivid, shocking and exuberant by turns
With dozens of Bond novels as well as the original Ian Fleming books, scholars have been trying to work out the best way to read 007 for decades. Here's the definitive run-down.