"Whether it is tracking down a wayward major who has taken a deadly secret with him to the Caribbean or identifying a top Russian agent secretly bidding for a Fabergé egg in a Sotheby's auction room, Bond always closes the case—with extreme prejudice."
-From the 2002 Penguin Edition
A slim collection of Bond short stories not published until after the author's death. Dealing as they do with greed, betrayal and conscience they are a worthy addition to any Bond aficionado's collection of stories about the man from 'the Ministry of Defence'.
'Octopussy' is the study of a man in decline, as one Major Smythe, wracked by guilt over a wartime episode, gradually loses his will to live. With his secret almost mercifully exposed by a stranger, he makes his exit in the most bizarre manner since Dr No himself.
'The Property of a Lady' is a real curiosity with the final action set inside the main sale room of Sotheby's, of all places. Here Bond, aided by the suitably ice-cool Faberge expert, Mr Snowman, attempts to expose a pay-off to a Soviet spy involving a Faberge 'Object of Vertu'.
'The Living Daylights' is a melancholy tale about a 'hit' that has been assigned to Bond. It is deemed necessary in order to allow an agent, '272', to escape unhindered across from Soviet occupied East Berlin. Bond is cooped up in a small, musty apartment with the rather officious 'Number 2' of West Berlin station and eventually falls foul of him when he hesitates at the last second as the identity of his target becomes clear. The two men make an interesting combination. In Bond we see a man still guided by humanity and in Captain Sender (Number 2) we see a man guided by nothing more than rules.
Three stories then to add to the already impressive litany of Bond adventures, and three stories that reveal more about the characters themselves than about any plot. As short stories they are unable to develop the kind of fast-paced, multi-faceted, globe-trotting battle between good and evil that make up the backbones of so many Bond adventures. However, in limiting themselves into looking into why people do the things they do and the consequences of actions they are no less interesting and thought provoking.