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Octopussy and The Living Daylights (sometimes published as Octopussy) is the fourteenth and final James Bond book written by Ian Fleming. It is a collection of short stories published posthumously in the United Kingdommarker and the United Statesmarker by Glidrose Productions, in 1966, as a postscript to his James Bond canon.

It originally contained "Octopussy" and "The Living Daylights". More recent editions also include "The Property of a Lady" – added in 1967 and "007 in New York" – added in 2002.

Elements from the short stories have been used in some films. The first, Octopussy (1983), starring Roger Moore as James Bond, was the thirteenth film in the EON Productions series. The original "Octopussy" short story provided the back story for the film Octopussy's family, while "The Property of a Lady" was more closely adapted for the auction sequence. The Living Daylights (1987) was later adapted as the fifteenth film and starred Timothy Dalton in his first appearance as Bond.

Publication overview

Before his death, Ian Fleming reportedly had intended to compile a second book of short stories in the same vein as For Your Eyes Only. After his death, Glidrose Productions followed this plan.

Initially, the book contained only two short stories: (i) The final James Bond short story to be published, "Octopussy," which was first serialised in the March and April 1966 issues of Playboy magazine, some two years after Ian Fleming's death; and (ii) "The Living Daylights", which was first published in The London Sunday Times colour section on February 4, 1962. It was later printed in the American publication Argosy in the June 1962 issue under the title "Berlin Escape" and again under the same title in the November, 1965, issue of Intrigue Magazine.

1967 Pan Books paperback first edition.
Added "The Property of a Lady" for the first time.
Note shortened title.

When the first paperback edition of the collection was published in 1967, it was expanded with a third short story, "The Property of a Lady" which Fleming wrote, in 1963, for inclusion in The Ivory Hammer, the annual publication of Sotheby's auction house. (The story was subsequently reprinted in the January, 1964 issue of Playboy). In the collection's second edition, the title was shortened to Octopussy: Most paperback reprints of the 1970s and '80s used the abbreviated title.

The third edition of the collection appeared in 2002, expanded with a fourth short story, "007 in New York." Titled by Fleming in its manuscript form as "Reflections in a Carey Cadillac," it was however first published under the name "Agent 007 in New York" in the New York Herald Tribune in October of 1963. In 1964, it was retitled simply "007 in New York" when published in the Americanmarker edition of Thrilling Cities. The short story was written as a consolation to readers in New York Citymarker due to Fleming's otherwise expressed grim opinion of the city. This story was never published in Britain until the late 1990s.

Editions of the collection published since the mid-1990s have used the original full title, Octopussy and the Living Daylights. As of the third edition of 2002, the order of the stories is as follows: "Octopussy", "The Property of a Lady", "The Living Daylights", and "007 in New York". Like the For Your Eyes Only compilation, however, each story is a standalone and there is no narrative continuity between them, so they may be read in any order.

It is not known for certain whether any of these stories were ever actually earmarked by Ian Fleming for his never-completed collection, though it is likely "The Living Daylights," at the very least, would have been a strong contender since it (unlike the others) had already been widely published by 1964.

"Octopussy" provided the title of the eponymous 1983 film, and the background for the movie character Octopussy, who in the short story is an Octopus whom the villain attempts to befriend, but who in the film is said to be the villain's daughter. The film also used plot elements from "The Property of a Lady" (specifically the Sotheby's auction sequence; the story's title is also referenced in dialogue). In 1987, "The Living Daylights" was closely adapted for part of Timothy Dalton's first James Bond film of the same title. According to some sources (such as The Bond Files by Andy Lane and Paul Simpson), The Property of a Lady was to have been the title of Dalton's third James Bond film to be released in 1991, but it went unfilmed; little of the original short story would have been available for use, given its having been used in the Octopussy film. "007 in New York" provided the name of a character, Solange, who appeared in the 2006 version of Casino Royale; otherwise, no other plot elements from the story have been used as yet.


"The Living Daylights" is believed to have taken place after Thunderball sometime in 1960 and was written and published prior to On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Some sources claim that "Octopussy" followed The Spy Who Loved Me chronologically, which itself was followed by "007 in New York" and "The Property of a Lady", and finally by On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Given the fact that Fleming was known to have purposefully changed dates to maintain Bond's age of roughly 38 years, and that some dates contradicted others in the same books, it is unknown for sure when exactly these stories took place.

Plot overviews

2004 Penguin Books paperback edition; includes "007 in New York".


Bond is assigned to apprehend a hero of the Second World War implicated in a murder involving a cache of Nazi gold. Agent 007 appears briefly in this story, which is told mostly in flashback and from the point of view of Major Dexter Smythe, the villain (the later 1983 film of the same name introduced a female protagonist who is said to be the major's daughter).

Characters in "Octopussy"

"The Living Daylights"

An unusually morose James Bond is assigned sniper duty to help a defector known as "272" escape from East Berlin. Bond's duty is to prevent a top KGBmarker assassin codenamed "Trigger" from killing 272 by eliminating the sniper. The assignment becomes difficult, however, when Bond discovers that Trigger is a beautiful female whom he had earlier admired. Bond, never wishing to kill anyone in cold blood, decides instead to shoot the butt of her rifle, preventing her from making the kill. The mission, while successful, is also considered a failure due to Bond's last-second decision, and it ends with Bond hoping that M fires him for it.

At a time when the films often shared no more than the title, the major recurring characters, and some character names with the book, the plot of "The Living Daylights" was used almost untouched in the film of the same name, setting up the rest of the film. Bond (Timothy Dalton) finishes the segment with the same words as his literary counterpart; "I must have scared the living daylights out of her". The character of Trigger is changed from a professional sniper to that of cello player Kara Milovy.

Characters in "The Living Daylights"

"The Property of a Lady"

James Bond investigates a Secret Service employee, Maria Freudenstein, who is a double agent about to be paid by her Russian keepers by auctioning a clock crafted by Peter Carl Fabergé at Sotheby's in her name. The Russians have sent the Resident Director of the KGB in Londonmarker to attend the auction and underbid for the item in order to push the price to the necessary value to pay for her services as a double agent. Bond attends the auction in hopes of spotting this man; after doing so the man is expelled from London as persona non grata. The core of this story - the auctioning of a Fabergé egg at Sotheby's to raise funds - was incorporated into the Octopussy film, with the story's title being uttered in dialogue by Bond. The plot element of a double agent within the Secret Service was later referenced with the character of Miranda Frost in Die Another Day (and Alec Trevelyan, Agent 006 of GoldenEye as well as M's traitorous bodyguard, Craig Mitchell, in 2008's Quantum of Solace). The fate of Maria would be revealed by Fleming in his final novel, The Man With the Golden Gun, even though at the time of the novel's publication, "Property of a Lady" had only received limited release in the Ivory Hammer publication.

Characters in "The Property of a Lady"

  • James Bond
  • Maria Freudenstein
  • Kitty Stroker
  • Resident Director of the KGB

"007 in New York"

A brief tale in which Bond muses about New York Citymarker, and his favourite recipe for scrambled eggs, during a quick mission to the Big Apple to warn a female MI6marker employee that her new boyfriend is a KGBmarker agent. It is notable for including a rare humorous conclusion, and for its mention of Solange, a young lady of Bond's intimate acquaintance who works in a shop, Abercrombie's, "appropriately employed in their Indoor Games Department". The character name, Solange, would later be given to a character in the 2006 version of Casino Royale. Bond going on a brief mission to warn a female intelligence agent that her new boyfriend is a honeypot would be used in the film Quantum of Solace, although in the movie he tracks her and the boyfriend to Kazanmarker, Russiamarker, rather than New York.

Characters in "007 in New York"

Publication history

  • June 23, 1966, Jonathan Cape, hardcover, first British edition
    • 50,000 copies printed.
  • June 24, 1966, New American Library, hardcover, first American edition.
  • 1967, Pan Books, paperback, first British edition. — added "The Property of a Lady"
  • July 1967, Signet, paperback, first American edition.
  • 1978, Triad/Panther, paperback, British, ISBN 0-586-04524-4.
  • 1981, Triad/Granada, paperback, British, ISBN 0-586-04524-4.
  • February 1989, Coronet Books, paperback, British, ISBN 0-340-41365-4. Introduction by Anthony Burgess.
  • April 4, 2002, Viking/Penguin, hardcover, British, ISBN 0-670-91050-3
  • March 2004, Penguin Books, paperback, American, ISBN 0-14-200329-8. — added "007 in New York"
  • October 26, 2006, Penguin Books, paperback, British. Introduction by Robert Ryan

Alternate version

On 17 May, 2008, as part of the promotion for the forthcoming novel Devil May Care, the British newspaper The Times gave away a free book containing two Bond stories from this collection. These were the title story Octopussy and 007 in New York.


Penguin Books issued a compilation, Quantum of Solace: The Complete James Bond Short Stories, which combines the contents of this book with that of For Your Eyes Only. It was released as a tie-in with the film Quantum of Solace on 26 August 2008.

Comic strip adaptations

Two of Fleming's short stories were adapted as daily comic strips which were published in the British Daily Express newspaper and syndicated worldwide.

  • "The Living Daylights" ran from September 12 to November 12, 1966, adapted by Jim Lawrence and illustrated by Yaroslav Horak.
  • "Octopussy" ran from November 14, 1966 to May 27, 1967, again by Lawrence and Horak.

Both comic strips were reprinted by Titan Books in the early 1990s, and again in 2004. To date, "The Property of a Lady" and "007 in New York" have not been adapted as comic strips. Along with "Quantum of Solace" from For Your Eyes Only, these remain the only Ian Fleming Bond stories not yet adapted in this form.


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See also

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