This week I have mostly been reading: From Russia With Love. I was not sure that I had read any Bond so it was fascinating to go back to the original text for the world’s most famous spy bar none. Literary antecedents, Bulldog Drummond and John Buchan’s Richard Hannay,obviously, but also Graham Greene’s Third Man (which gets a name check) and Stamboul Train and Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. The train on which 007 fights for his life (and that of the free world) in an alpine tunnel is as much a literary salon as a heritage transport experience. I liked the fact that the assassin was reading War & Peace which he had “Been trying to plough through … for years.” (a book which incidentally looks down accusingly at me from the shelf: I’m still on p91) whilst Bond tucks up with Eric Ambler – but only because his current squeeze is in a narcoleptic stupor on the top bunk. As it turns out Tolstoy’s novel is actually cunningly disguised heat, the barrel of which is aimed at JB’s heart (a small target even for an expert assassin). Happily, 007 outwits the turncoat and kills him with his own literary device. The west is saved for pulp fiction.