The Spy Who Loved Me (1962)
The ninth James Bond novel would, in my opinion, be the weakest. Unusually, Fleming writes the book from a first-person perspective. More unusually still, the protagonist is female, Vivienne Michel. It is an audacious attempt for a man’s man like Fleming to try to get inside a woman’s mind, and in truth, the experiment doesn’t quite come off. Behind the scenes, Fleming’s marriage to Ann was falling apart. Even as a child I found this title somewhat lacking. Perhaps it’s that Fleming holds back the character of Bond for half of the novel’s length. The plot is thin too: Vivienne Michel is threatened at a hotel by a couple of nefarious characters. James Bond shows up and saves her from peril. ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ is the shortest Bond novel, and, save for the title, bears no resemblance to the 1977 Roger Moore film. To give Fleming credit, he was still trying new approaches to bring his readers exciting James Bond stories after nearly a decade of relentless storytelling. Buy The Folio Society’s edition of Ian Fleming’s ‘The Spy Who Loved Me‘.