In his chapter on Geneva, written in 1960, Ian Fleming describes the fields around Noël Coward's chalet in the Swiss Alps as being thick with flowers (it being summer and the time, Fleming notes, of the Narcissus Festival, which celebrates the flowering of the narcissus). In passing, Fleming wonders when an alp becomes a berg. It was a question, slightly modified, that he later gave to Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1963). “What is the difference between a piz, and an alp and a berg?” he asks Irma Bunt. Not much, it seems, a piz being a local name for a peak, but an alp and berg both being used to describe mountains.
Then, in West Berlin, Ian Fleming enjoys a schnapps with a beer chaser known as Molle und Korn, or a 'boiler-maker and his assistant'. James Bond has the same combination (described as Molle mit Korn) when he's in Berlin ahead of his rendezvous with 'Trigger' in 'The Living Daylights', first published in 1962.
|Oyster crackers, enjoyed both by Fleming and Bond|
Anyone interested in the origins of ideas and memes in the later Bond books would not have to look very far in Thrilling Cities before finding them. Some of the experiences Fleming had while visiting cities around the world he would give to Bond. After all, the thrilling and intriguing aspects of Fleming's visits were natural material for Bond. But the experiences Fleming had, which he recorded with his journalist's eye, also give the Bond books a sense of reportage and reality that still make the books so compelling to read.
Fleming, I, 1963 Thrilling Cities, Cape
Gilbert, J, 2012 Ian Fleming: The Bibliography, Queen Anne Press