Sunday, May 24, 2020

My Washington Times 'On Crime' Column On Richard Hughes, The Foreign Correspondent Who Inspired Ian Fleming And John le Carre

The Washington Times published my On Crime column on the late Richard Hughes (seen in the above photo), a foreign correspondent and the author of Foreign Devil: Thirty Years of Reporting in the Far East. Both Ian Fleming and John le Carre based fictional characters on him in their novels. 

Later this year Casemate will publish Edward Abel Smith’s “Ian Fleming’s Inspiration: The Truth Behind the Books.”

“James Bond is possibly the most well-known fictional character in history,” Casemate Publishing notes. “What most people don’t know is that almost all of the characters, plots and gadgets come from the real-life experiences of Bond’s creator — Commander Ian Fleming.

“In this book, we go through the plots of Fleming’s novels explaining the real-life experiences that inspired them. The reader is taken on a journey through Fleming’s direct involvement in World War II intelligence and how this translated through his typewriter into James Bond’s world, as well as the many other factors of Fleming’s life which were also taken as inspiration.”

One friend who inspired Fleming was the late Richard Hughes, who was a foreign correspondent for the British Sunday Times. He was the inspiration for the fictional character Dikko Henderson in Ian Fleming’s 1964 James Bond novel “You Only Live Twice.” 

“He is a giant Australian with a European mind and a quixotic view of the world,” the late Ian Fleming said of Richard Hughes

In 1959, Fleming, then the foreign manager of the Sunday Times, was asked by the newspaper’s editor to travel to foreign cities and write about them, as Fleming notes, “through a thriller-writer’s eye.” The newspaper articles were compiled into a book called “Thrilling Cities” in 1963. 

While visiting Hong Kong and Tokyo, Fleming’s guide was Richard Hughes, whom Fleming called “Our Man in the Orient.”   

Ian Fleming later wrote “You Only Live Twice,” which featured a character named Richard Lovelace Henderson. Henderson, based on Hughes, was the British intelligence chief in Japan. He was a big, boisterous and profane Australian who understood the way of the Japanese. Fleming described him as looking like a middle-aged prize-fighter who retired and had taken to the bottle.

In the late 1970s, John le Carre visited Hong Kong while doing research for his novel “The Honorable Schoolboy,” the sequel to his novel “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.” Mr. le Carre met Richard Hughes, and like Ian Fleming, he based a character on him.

In the novel, the assembled journalists at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club in Hong Kong were discussing the closing of the local branch of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). Mr. le Carre wrote that William Craw, like Hughes, was the doyen of Asia’s foreign press corps.

You can read the rest of the column below or via the below link:

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