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Summary

In 1959, Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, was commissioned by the Sunday Times to explore 14 of the world’s most exotic cities. Fleming saw it all with a thriller writer’s eye. From Hong Kong to Honolulu, New York to Naples, he left the bright main streets for the back alleys. The result is a series of vivid snapshots of a mysterious, vanished world.

©1962 Gildrose Productions Ltd., Copyright 1959, 1960 by Thomson Newspapers Ltd., Introduction Copyright © Jan Morris 2009 (P)2018 W.F. Howes Ltd

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All over much too soon

The only problem with this audiobook is that it’s too short. I would have liked to hear Mr Fleming’s descriptions of many more cities. Of course the essays are of their time but Fleming has also captured something timeless about each place. Some stories are joyful, some are darker: in particular the discussions of organised and drug-related crime could have been written yesterday and illustrate clearly how we are still struggling to deal with these same issues today. The author’s own personality and sense of adventure shine through in the wonderful prose. The narration is simply excellent and I will certainly look for other books read by Barnaby Edwards.

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A tour de force

Fleming is an excellent tour guide as he visits cities including Naples, Hong Kong and Geneva, deftly locating and researching the underbelly of each one, meeting cranks, crooks - and Charlie Chaplin. Perhaps most memorably, he interviews former arch mobster Lucky Luciano, retired - or thought to be retired - in Naples. Worth sticking to the end for Fleming’s Bond-style tips on winning in casinos... an entertaining listen, charmingly read - and a tantalising slice of history from one of the great thriller writers of all time.

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Interesting journey

I was intrigued by the remit of the book and found the content a very interesting travel summary. Well planned and narrated.

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  • alan hosch
  • 14-05-19

Brilliant Mid-Century Snapshot of the World

This is an outstanding performance of what should be considered a classic of Twentieth Century nonfiction. More social commentary than tourist guide, it is truly enjoyable to the last detail. And he spares no details or opinions in his commentary.

2 people found this helpful