James Bond creator Ian Fleming originally wanted to call his hero James Secretan when on secret missions, an early draft of Casino Royale has revealed.
Perhaps sensing that “Secretan… James Secretan” didn’t have quite the same ring as the iconic introduction, “Bond… James Bond”, he disposed of the idea before the first Bond novel’s publication in 1953.
An extract from the 1952 draft version is to be made public to coincide with the book’s 60th anniversary this weekend.
In the manuscript, a CIA man introduces himself to 007 at the Hotel Splendide casino by saying: “My name’s Felix Leiter. Glad to meet you.” Bond replies: “Mine’s Secretan. James Secretan.” The word “Secretan” is scrawled out in blue ink, with “Bond” written in its place.
The author’s niece, Kate Grimond, told The Sunday Times of Fleming’s potential reasons for dropping the idea.
“Ian must have realised it would cause confusion if he had Bond known as Bond to his friends and the security services in London, but as Secretan for his cover name to strangers or people he didn’t want to know he was a spy.”
Grimond said the name Secretan was probably inspired by the 19th century Swiss philosopher Charles Secrétan. “I’ve no proof but I do know Ian was interested in philosophy,” she said. “He also often chose names from people he knew or had heard of – sometimes an amalgam of more than one person.”
In the draft, Miss Moneypenny was originally called Miss Pettavel, while an additional letter released this weekend shows that Fleming argued with his publisher that the book’s recommended price was too low.