Since Octopussy and The Living Daylights was published postumously, it allowed Chopping free reign, and so he filled the painting with his visual trademark, flies. The first edition, published by Jonathan Cape on June 23rd 1966, only contained the two titular short stories. Over the years, later editions have included two more short stories: The Property of a Lady and 007 in New York.
The cover particularly carried on the traditional motifs of beauty and death. This time the cover featured a clearly dead tropical fish, the exquisite but deadly eponymous fish from the short story ‘The Hildebrand Rarity‘.
The cover also prominently featured a conch shell, so often a metaphor for female genitalia, in this instance, grossly covered in Chopping’s trademark bluebottle flies.
The image is somewhat disturbing, but successfully mired Fleming’s ability to create beautiful , yet disturbing prose, such as the centipede encounter in ‘Dr. No’ and the bomb-bay full of octopuses in ‘Thunderball‘.
[Extract: Ben Williams, “Beauty and Death” mi6 confidential, January, 2012.]
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