She was particularly upset because the idea was to employ Kingsley Amis to write the first ‘continuation’ Bond novel, and she disapproved of his politics. Despite her objections Amis’ Colonel Sun, written under the pseudoynm ‘Robert Markham’, was published in April 1968. Invited by The Sunday Telegraph to review the book, Ann Fleming wrote a condemnation both of Amis and those who had overruled her on the idea for the project:
‘Since the exploiters hope Colonel Sun will be the first of a new and successful series, they may find themselves exploited. Amis will slip Lucky Jim into Bond’s clothing, we shall have a petit bourgeois red-brick Bond, he will resent the authority of M., then the discipline of the Secret Service, and end as Philby Bond selling his country to SPECTRE.’12The Sunday Telegraph decided not to run the review. But despite her grief and increasing bitterness, her friendship with Waugh always offered her comfort:
‘When Ian died, Evelyn’s letters showed compassion and understanding; a more sensitive and kinder friend one could not wish for. If any of our acquaintance became a widower, however unlikely a suitor, a postcard would arrive, advising against matrimony. One reads, “I see Osbert Lancaster is bereaved, it would be most imprudent to marry him.”’13But Waugh was now dying himself, and was distressed at the state of the world, and in particular the Catholic Church:
‘The change in the Mass upset him dreadfully, and so did the Pope’s visit to America. With a return to the old levity, knowing that my son Caspar has a weakness for fire-arms, he wrote offering him a bribe if he would go to New York to shoot the Pope.’14Sadly, Caspar Fleming became increasingly obsessed with fire-arms, and took his own life in 1975. Ann, grief-stricken once more, died of cancer in 1981. Her essay on Evelyn Waugh is a rare glimpse into her life with Ian Fleming, and the circumstances and society within which he shaped one of the most famous characters in popular fiction.
1. p171, Ian Fleming by Andrew Lycett, Phoenix, 1996.
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 13, 14. Yours affec: Evelyn by Anne Fleming, The Times, September 22, 1973.
7. p283, The Life of Ian Fleming by John Pearson, Companion Book Club, 1966.
8. p169, The Letters of Ann Fleming, edited by Mark Amory, Collins Harvill, 1985.
9. p216, Amory.
11, 12. p449, Lycett.
This is part of 007 In Depth, a series of articles on Ian Fleming and James Bond.