The Moneypenny Diaries is a trilogy of novels chronicling the life of Miss Moneypenny. The novels are written by Samantha Weinberg under the pseudonym Kate Westbrook, who is depicted as the book's "editor." This is especially significant as Weinberg is the first woman to write an officially licensed James Bond-related novel.
A History of The Moneypenny Diaries
The first installment, subtitled Guardian Angel was released in the United Kingdom on October 10, 2005. However, it would take nearly another three years before the book was published state-side, with the eventual release date being May 13, 2008, as a part of the Ian Fleming centennial celebration.
The second book in the series was named Secret Servant: The Moneypenny Diaries was published on November 2, 2006 in the UK and still has yet to be released in the USA. The third and final novel, The Moneypenny Diaries: Final Fling sees its UK debut on the same day as the first novel hit the USA: May 13, 2008.
Although it has since been announced as an official book from Ian Fleming Publications, the holder of the literary rights to James Bond, there was some confusion and even deception prior to release as to whether the book was actually authorised by them.
But is it Official?
An investigation by The Sunday Times into whether or not The Moneypenny Diaries were in some way real forced John Murray publishers to admit that the novel was in fact a "spoof." Prior to the admission, Kate Westbrook was said to be niece of the "real" Jane Moneypenny and that the diaries were discovered after her death in 1990. It was also claimed that Westbrook was a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, however, the college replied stating no such person was in employment there. In an interview, Weinberg revealed that the 'Kate Westbrook' subterfuge stretched as far as her wearing a wig and coloured contact lenses for media interviews and at the launch party.
The novel was officially recognized as an authorised book from Ian Fleming Publications on the day of the book's publication in the UK, October 10, 2005. A side-effect of the deception resulted in a delay in this book finding an American publisher.
Before coming to write James Bond, Samantha Weinberg spent time as a journalist and travel writer in the USA, the UK and Africa. She is the award-winning author of Last of the Pirates: the Search for Bob Denard, the international bestseller A Fish Caught in Time: the Search for the Coelacanth and Pointing From The Grave which won the 2003 CWA Gold Dagger for Non-fiction. She lives in Wiltshire, England.
Samantha Weinberg Bio