Diamonds are Forever.London: Jonathan Cape, 1956 Stock Code: 145632
Presentation copy to an MI6 hero, who advised on the plot of From Russia, With LoveFirst edition, first impression, presentation copy to the intelligence officer Commander Wilfred Albert Dunderdale, inscribed by Fleming on the front free endpaper: "To Bill who has helped with the next one. With affection from Ian". Dunderdale's inscription on the front pastedown later re-presents the book, "To dear Chris, with all good wishes, Bill aka Biffy."
Dunderdale (1899-1990) was one of the most romantic figures in the Secret Intelligence Service, generally known as MI6. Posted to Paris in 1926, he played a leading role in perhaps the greatest allied intelligence coup of the war. Operating in tandem with the chief signals officer of the French Deuxième Bureau, Dunderdale managed to smuggle out of Poland a model of the top secret German encoding machine known as Enigma. Dunderdale personally took the machine from Paris to London, to rendezvous with "C" himself, head of the British Secret Service, under the clock at Victoria Station on 16 August 1939. "C" was on his way to a dinner and strode away, in evening dress, with the ribbon of the Legion d'Honneur in his buttonhole and the Enigma under his arm. It proved to be the biggest single contribution to the vital intelligence results achieved by the British decoding centre at Bletchley Park.
A debonair thrice-married charmer, with enormous vitality and a gift for friendship, who spoke several languages well, Dunderdale was often spoken of as the prototype of James Bond, an identification apparently encouraged by Dunderdale himself. But as the inscription here acknowledges, Dunderdale was of specific service to Fleming in providing help with the plot of the fifth James Bond novel, From Russia, With Love, which centres on a plot by the Soviet counterintelligence agency to assassinate Bond. As bait for the plot, the Russians use a beautiful cipher clerk and the Spektor, a Soviet decoding machine, which was not a Cold War device, but a direct echo of the Enigma.
From Russia, With Love was written at Fleming's Goldeneye estate in Jamaica in early 1956, with a number of significant rewrites after Fleming's return to London in March, the same month as publication of Diamonds are Forever. Dunderdale's assistance with the next book was fresh in Fleming's mind at the time of this presentation.
Octavo. Original black cloth, spine lettered in silver, silver diamond motif on front cover. With supplied dust jacket. Housed in a black quarter morocco solander box by the Chelsea Bindery.
Light bumping at spine ends and a couple of page corners creased, a very good copy in like jacket, some short tears and chips repaired with tape on the verso.
Gilbert A4a (1.1).
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