It goes without saying that one of the biggest influences of O.L.D. — A Good Way to Die was the granddaddy of secret agents himself: Ian Fleming’s James Bond. As a topic, there’s a lot of cool rabbit holes we can jump down and explore: there are the war-time experiences of Ian Fleming (hint: they’re badass), the cool details of how (the late) Sean Connery was cast (hint: he was a badass), but today, let’s focus on an object that’s both synonymous with the character AND also serves as a significant plot device in O.L.D. — A Good Way to Die: the Walther PPK.
Bond gets his first PPK in Fleming’s Dr. No. Though this is considered “the first” James Bond film in popular canon, it was actually the character’s sixth novel. And up to that point, Bond carried a Beretta. But, in a very poignant moment in both the book and film, Bond is assigned the PPK at the behest of M, the head of MI6. In that scene, the armorer, Major James Boothroyd, hands the weapon to Bond and, in an oft-quoted line of dialogue, tells him: “Walther PPK, 7.65 millimeter, with a delivery like a brick through a plate-glass window. The American CIA swear by them.” — from then on, this was the weapon most associated with 007.
Now, as I alluded to earlier, Fleming had plenty of espionage experience himself. During World War 2, he worked for the British Naval Intelligence Division. And the Beretta was a small, compact weapon often carried by agents in the field. But it was fan mail that convinced Fleming to make the change. Through numerous correspondence, Geoffrey Boothroyd criticized the Beretta and suggested the German-made PPK — a slightly larger weapon that packed a heftier punch. It was enough to convince Fleming. In fact, Boothroyd became such a trusted, go-to weapons expert that the author named the book’s armorer after him — and it was this character that evolved into the beloved Q.
So with that said, let me just get this out there: I am always open to suggestions from readers. And I would LOVE to hear from you. And who knows — I might even name a character after you! Thanks for reading!