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For Your Eyes Only | Short Story Collection | Ian Fleming Book Reviews Continue…

The Living Daylights
This is the James Bond adventure of course. It also shows his skills as a sharp shooter. It is the kind of work which is not intended for an agent with 00 status. But as it was important, he was assigned the duty to perform the same. Which James Bond accepted willfully. He was then directly sent to the shooting range to practice for the same. The surrounding will be darker, there will be people and vehicles distracting the shooter and he might will get a glace of the target and in a few second he needed to shoot it. No failure ca be entertained. The reason, if he fails killing his target, his target was a shooter who was actually shooting an agent from Bond’s own secret service, referred as agent 272. So if Bond misses, the assassin will get his target, agent 272. (The sniper was a KGB assassin known as the “trigger”).

The guy at the shooting ranging, helping and overlooking the practice session of James Bond; not knowing anything about him, was impressed by him and tried finding out something about him. He even invited him to participate in the competition and he will be eligible to get medal from the Queen! In short, it tells that the practice session went well and Bond was ready for the job. He directly had to the airport and catch the plane and fly to Berlin in the chartered journey arranged for him especially.

At Berlin Captain Sender is the one Bond have to live with. He arranged the stuff there for him in a four story building. The double bedroom flat was a good place to keep an eye on the battle ground and do the final execution. Ian Fleming explores the surrounding via Captain Paul Sender’s mouth to us and it is a nice explanation of the stuff which makes us feel the surrounding. We also got to know that the agents keep some tranquilizers, vitamin pills etc to get fresh and energized and focused when needed. Captain explained James the entire setup and convey that he suspects that from the buildings other side, sniper will perform his job. And the windows where the lights are switched of could be the possible place the sniper will take position. It is obvious that he will not use the lit window and any one to capture his existence. An obvious thing for secret agents but rather unusual stuff for the reader! There are possible next three nights when they suspect that the execution will be done and they have to be alert.

Bond examined the entire scenario and got position with his rifle with telescope (they call it scope in short). It is challenging work to stay focused for long without making or sometimes even seeing a movement and they cannot risk skipping the focus for a moment. First night Bond weighted at the place. Lights of his place were also switched off by Captain. Bond see the traffic increased, people moving, darkness started falling. A band of around 20 girls were passing from the road. A girl with straight hairs till her shoulder and longer than the average girls, caught Bond’s attention. She was moving with a Cello, she is keeping it with as much dignity as much possible. And moving like there no weight there. Bond tried focusing his work by just eliminating her thoughts. After some time Captain asks Bond that there is a movement in the block of four dark windows they were keeping an eye on. They see appearance of a gun. Bond get the idea that it was Kalashnikov with good firing capacity of course. In order to fire the sniper have to show his existence it will be their chance to get him. They have waited and waited and nothing happen. One night go, two to come.

The next and then next to the next day they have do to the same? Ultimately Bond will able to catch the sniper and kill him? Will his mission a success? Who will be the sniper?

With the intent to not to be spoil-spotter, we just want to convey that the mission will be completed in Bond’s view but as he haven’t killed the sniper (just made sniper’s attempt fail); he thought M and the organization will consider it a failure. He was also thinking the heat coming from M and he might probably be expelled from the secret service? Did it happen? What made Bond changing his decision the last second ti just hit the rifle of the shooter instead of the shooter?

You will love reading this tale.


  1. Fleming wrote this story with the title “Trigger Finger” (which was of course suitable to the story based on its content)
  2. The story was first published in The Sunday Times colour supplement of 4 February 1962 with the title “The Berlin Escape”
  3. The story was made into a film with the same name in 1987, starring Tomothy Dalton in his first James Bond role. The entire movie was not based on the tale but simply a segment of the movie which came before the title starts in the Bond movie, was there made from this story.

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