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Casino Royale.

Availability: In stock

Published: London Jonathan Cape, 1953

Stock Code: 130450

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


First edition, first impression, in the first issue dust jacket. A magnificent presentation copy, inscribed by Fleming to the employer who gave him the means to write - James Gomer Berry, 1st Viscount Kemsley - and his second wife, Edith: "To Gomer and Edith, wishing them both always a nine when it is needed, and in memory of ten happy years of playing with and against them across the green baize. From Ian." Fleming here references the winning hand that Bond draws against Le Chiffre during their intense game of baccarat in chapter 13: "It was a nine, a wonderful nine of hearts, the card known in gipsy magic as 'a whisper of love, a whisper of hate', the card that meant almost certain victory for Bond". The art for this first edition dust jacket was based on this scene, and devised by Fleming in collaboration with Kenneth Lewis, the in-house artist at Kemsley Newspapers, where Fleming was working at the time.
The recipient, Gomer, as Lord Kemsley, "was uniquely known to Fleming outside the family circle". He was a self-made newspaper baron and founder of Kemsley Newspapers, which owned the Sunday Times amongst others. Appropriately, he first encountered Fleming over a game of cards before the war and was attracted to the young Fleming's confidence. Fleming, as seen by Henry Hopkinson who was also present at the meeting, was "a little too big for his boots but also full of brilliant comment" (Lycett). After the war, Kemsley was quick to take Fleming under his wing by offering him a job as foreign news manager of Kemsley Newspapers, at the surprisingly high salary of 4,500 a year plus 500 expenses. Fleming also negotiated an unusual clause in his contract whereby he took January and February as his annual paid leave, during which time he worked on his Bond novels at Goldeneye, his hideaway on Jamaica's north shore; Casino Royale was completed over this period in 1952. Fleming worked at Kemsley House for over a decade, in which time he claimed that he had "'counted fifty-seven varieties of executive doing fuck all'", but quipped that he was still "'only one of three or four doing minus fuck all'". Although by no means a senior figure in the Kemsley organisation, Fleming was the only person in the building who would call Lord and Lady Kemsley by their first names, and frequently saw them socially. It was an unusual relationship - Kemsley was a "mixture of the prude and the puritan with a sense of his own importance" (McCormick) - but nevertheless a mutually beneficial one. Fleming brought the ailing Sunday Times glamour, social cachet and credibility, and in return was given the means and opportunity to pursue his lifestyle with little inconvenience, ultimately leading to the creation of James Bond.

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Octavo. Original black cloth, titles to spine in red, heart device to front cover in red, bottom edges untrimmed. With the illustrated dust jacket. Housed in a blue quarter morocco solander box by the Chelsea Bindery, spine lettered in gilt, blue cloth sides.


A couple of spots to top edge, internally fresh; an exceptional copy in the bright, unclipped jacket, with extremities slightly creased and rubbed, and some nicks and slight chips to tips and spine ends.


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