Never Send Flowers
On leave from the British Security Service, Laura March is mysteriously murdered in Switzerland with a poison pellet shot from a powerful air rifle. James Bond and Swiss agent Fredericka 'Flicka' von Grusse are immediately called in to investigate.
While at Laura's funeral, Bond notices among the wreaths a perfect white rose, its petals tipped blood-red and an ambiguous note wired to the stem. His investigation reveals an identical rose and note at the funerals of four high-profile personalities, all assassinated within a week. With no group claiming responsibility for the deaths, Bond focuses on Laura's case. He uncovers her recently dissolved love affair with the world-famous actor David Dragonpol, now an eccentric collector of theater memorabilia living in a castle on the Rhine. So Bond and Flicka go undercover to search the castle for clues, and in the garden find roses just like the ones at each of the funerals.
Reviewed on 5th August 2023
This 1993 James Bond novel sees the international spy and assassin sent to Switzerland to investigate the mysterious death of a holidaying member of staff from another government agency.
As a novel, it’s perfectly readable. As a plot, it contains all the outlandish characters and events that you might expect from Bond stories.
But it doesn’t really feel like it has quite the depth of character that I think I’ve now come to expect from this series. It’s almost like it’s a cliché, or trying too hard to be a Bond story from the movies. It feels more like a murder mystery with a ridiculous ending planned, but still breaks the rules.
And it being from 1993, it doesn’t really understand yet where it needs to fall on the spectrum between sexism and feminism - clearly trying to embrace the latter while still, with a modern eye, landing squarely in the former.