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"When Ian Fleming dismissed his books in a 1956 letter to Raymond Chandler as 'straight pillow fantasies of the bang-bang, kiss-kiss variety' he was being typically modest. In three short years, his James Bond novels were already spearheading a boom in thriller fiction that would dominate the bestseller lists, not just in Britain, but internationally. The decade following World War II had seen Britain lose an Empire, demoted in terms of global power...
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