Trigger Mortis: Possibly Fleming’s most preposterous idea

Ian Fleming

The blog has been catching up on Trigger Mortis, the 2015 James Bond continuation novel by Anthony Horowitz, with some previously unpublished Ian Fleming material.

It might contain Fleming’s most preposterous idea.

Now, that’s a tall order, given how Fleming wrote about a plot to steal gold from Fort Knox (Goldfinger), created a villain whose heart was on the wrong side of his chest (Dr. No) and spun a tale that included a villain enticing Japanese to commit suicide (You Only Live Twice).

Still, Fleming had an idea for an unmade James Bond TV series involving 007 driving against real race drivers on the famous Nurburgring track in Germany. When the Bond TV series failed to materialize, the author pitched the idea again in 1962 as part of his contributions to The Man From U.N.C.L.E. television series (1964-68).

In the Trigger Mortis novel, Bond is assigned to protect a race driver from a Soviet assassination plot (the Russians have a driver in the race).

Here’s the thing: No way.

Bond, while adept at driving fast, is up against an entire field of professional race drivers. He views some film of the Nurburgring and takes some practice laps and, supposedly, he’s all ready to go.

So here’s a first-hand observation. In the late 1990s, I was an at event in Indianapolis put on by Mercedes-Benz. It took place at an indoor go kart track. The guests were divided into teams.

Meanwhile, Mercedes brought in drivers who participated in the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) series, which was active at that time. The real racers were to be divided among the teams.

The problem: There weren’t enough real race drivers for all the teams. I was on the team that didn’t have a real race driver. So, as the teams rotated drivers, I found myself on the track with all of the real race drivers.

Humiliating doesn’t begin to describe it. It was akin to playing a game of Horse with National Basketball Association players or touch football with National Football League players.

James Bond, in novels or movies, is a fantasy. In this case, Fleming’s imagination was working overtime.