Title: Never Send Flowers
Publisher: Putnam Pub Group May 1993
Publication Date: 1993
Book Condition: Fine (F)
Dust Jacket Condition: As New
Edition: First Edition.
Very collectable condition. Appears unread, crisp, clean, bright and tight. Now protected with Durafold unattached to jacket. Near fine book/Near Fine Dust Jacket. BEAUTIFUL copy. Illusion leads to murder as 007 pursues the wrong killer, in John Gardner's twelfth addition to the classic James Bond. Bookseller Inventory # 20080906102742
Synopsis: On leave from the British Security Service, Laura March is mysteriously murdered in Switzerland with a poison pellet shot from a powerful air rifle. James Bond and Swiss agent Fredericka "Flicka" von Grusse are immediately called in to investigate.
While at Laura's funeral, Bond notices among the wreaths a perfect white rose, its petals tipped blood-red and an ambiguous note wired to the stem. His investigation reveals an identical rose and note at the funerals of four high-profile personalities, all assassinated within a week. With no group claiming responsibility for the deaths, Bond focuses on Laura's case. He uncovers her recently dissolved love affair with the world-famous actor David Dragonpol, now an eccentric collector of theater memorabilia living in a castle on the Rhine. So Bond and Flicka go undercover to search the castle for clues, and in the garden find roses just like the ones at each of the funerals.
Their startling discovery leads to a harrowing manhunt in which the hidden identity of the serial killer is revealed.
Review: Four high-profile public figures have been assassinated in the space of a week. A fifth murder, which takes place in the Swiss Alps, brings 007 into the field and onto the case of MI5's now very much deceased, former agent. Not that MI6 is in the business of helping out "blundering" MI5--far from it, according to Sir Miles Messervy ("M").
To Bond's rotten luck, he is forced to work with an opposite number in the Swiss Intelligence Service--Frauleine Freddie von Grusse or simply "Flicka"- -a five foot eleven inch "sexual knockout". Not that Flicka is all legs and smiles--she also happens to be a very effective agent who travels with Bond through Switzerland, Germany and Milan on the trail of the assassins. The finale takes Bond to Eurodisney in Paris, where he faces the killer himself, mano e mano (shades of Scaramanga in The Man With Golden Gun?).
The strength of the main support characters, Flicka von Grusse and the furtive Dragonpol, an ex-actor who resides in a Castle in Rheineland, contribute significantly to the strength of this novel. The plot is an unusual one and somewhat slow to get off the ground, with Bond himself admitting that he is acting merely as a "super-detective" for much of the time. However, the finishing chapters are suitably interesting and make Never Send Flowers a worthy read for those who enjoy a hearty 007novel--despite its terrible title. --Julian Broster
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