Midsummer Night’s Doom (1999) – Raymond Benson

Jame Bond has had a long history with Playboy and for the magazine’s 45th anniversary, novelist Raymond Benson penned a short story to be featured in the celebratory issue. In fact, this time around 007 interacts not only with some Playmates from the previous years but also with Hugh Hefner himself.

It seems there’s going to be trouble at the annual Playboy Mansion Pajama Party, someone is selling secrets to the Russians, and the handoff is going to take place at the party. Bond should be right in his element as M points out.

Arriving in California, Bond is ready for the evening and enjoys a meal, a drink and some company, but thanks to some tech Hef has on hand (and who recalls an earlier encounter with 007) Bond is set to catch his man.

It’s a fun, fast-paced read, which works so much better than Benson’s previous 007 short story, Blast From the Past, which had a terrible ending.

This version of Bond leans into not only his own history, but that of the magazine he’s being featured and it works delightfully as a quick one-off mission for our hero before he jumps into his next adventure (Benson’s next novel High Time to Kill came hot on its heels, the story being published in January, the novel in May).

There’s a minor round of violence, some romance and flirting, and a look inside the Playboy Mansion in California and the bevy of beauties and celebrities that Hef filled it with.

Benson has shown that he not only understands the character, but how to write him as well, and while he may make occasional nods to the cinematic version of Bond (and adapt the films to novels) this version of 007 keeps very much in line with Ian Fleming’s original idea of the character.

And it’s always good to know that whether in film or written word, James Bond will return…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s