Where does one look for James Bond’s origins? Are they to be found in Room 39 in the Admiralty, where his creator, Ian Fleming, served as personal assistant to the director of naval intelligence during the Second World War? That was where Fleming soaked up colour about secret service operations, and where he told a colleague that he intended to write ‘the spy novel to end all spy novels’. Or should one look further back into the 1930s, when the German-speaking Fleming came to understand the complexities of European politics while touring the Continent as a rich playboy?
Matthew Parker focuses on somewhere else that, surprisingly, has tended to be ignored: Jamaica. He is right to do so, as it was at Goldeneye, Fleming’s much-loved retreat on the north coast of the island, that, in February 1952, he finally got round to fulfilling his ambition to write his