“SERVE ON HOT BUTTERED TOAST… WITH PINK CHAMPAGNE”: FIRST EDITION OF IAN FLEMING’S THRILLING CITIES; inscribed by him to close personal friend and neighbor Noel Coward
Item Number: 111081
London: Jonathan Cape, 1963.
First edition of Fleming’s compelling travelogue. Octavo, original half cloth, illustrated. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the title page, “Noël for your bluest pencil Love Ian.” The recipient, English playwright, director and actor Noël Coward was a close friend of Fleming’s and his neighbor in Jamaica. Coward, inspired to build his own Jamaican retreat by a visit to Goldeneye in 1948, was Fleming’s closest friend on the island and it was with his great encouragement that Fleming began writing the Bond novels that made him famous. When Fleming married Ann in 1952, Coward was one of two wedding guests and in the same year he was made godfather to their newborn son Caspar. Named for the luminous insects seen in the warm evenings, his Firefly Estate east of Oracabessa, Jamaica entertained a wide range of guests, including both the Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Winston Churchill, Lord Olivier, Sophia Loren, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Sir Alec Guinness, Peter O’Toole, and Richard Burton. Known for his likable sophistication and sharp sense of humor, Coward’s songs, plays, and films were immensely popular from the early 1920s through the 60s and 70s when they achieved renewed fame and critical acclaim with a variety of new revues celebrating his music, including Oh, Coward! on Broadway and Cowardy Custard in London. Coward won an Academy Honorary Award in 1943 for his naval film drama ‘In Which We Serve’, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1969, and received a Tony Award for lifetime achievement in 1970. Fine in a near fine dust jacket. With Coward’s bookplate to the pastedown. An exceptional association copy.
Ian Fleming’s world travels, interests, as well as his journalism and wartime experiences, lent authority to everything he wrote. In 1959, the Sunday Times commissioned Fleming to write a series of dispatches from the world’s most beguiling locales. The result was Thrilling Cities, a masterpiece of well-observed travelogue that stands ably alongside the author’s Bond canon. Here are Fleming’s highly personal observations of fourteen cities across Europe, Asia, and North America—from Vienna to Hong Kong to Chicago. At each stop, Fleming casts the guidebook aside, taking readers on an insider’s tour of everything from a Tokyo geisha house led by the world’s most beautiful women to a packed Las Vegas casino where fortunes ride on a roll of the dice, and beyond.