"I am returning the Smith & Wesson catalogue and, since I am off to New York at the end of July, I propose to purchase a Centennial Airweight.
"Would this not, in any case, be the best weapon for Bond? There is no hammer to catch in his clothes.
"I am vastly intrigued by your own M & P model and by the way you have beautified it. Bond will certainly adopt your two-thirds trigger guard. I don't intend to go too deeply into the holster problem and I intend to accept your expertise in the matter of the Berns-Martin holster.
"Only one basic problem remains in changing Bond's weapon, and that is in the matter of a silencer. It would have to be an extremely bulky affair to silence a .38 of any make and I simply can't see one fitted to the Centennial. Have you any views?
"As a matter of fact, a change of Bond's weapons is very appropriate. In his next adventure, which deals with an intricate plot by SMERSH to kill Bond, he finally gets into really bad trouble when the Beretta—with silencer—sticks in his waistband.
"It is too late now to save him from the consequences, but in the book that follows, if I have the energy and ingenuity to write one, I shall start off with a chapter devoted entirely to his re-equipment along the lines you suggest.
"But in this chapter the matter of a silencer will have to be overcome and, in fact, in his latest adventure, which I mention above, he could hardly have used an unsilenced .38 in the room at the Ritz Hotel in Paris where he wrestles fruitlessly with his snarled gun.
"Turning to foreign weapons, have you by any chance got the article by Colonel Allen on the findings of the O.C. tests, or could you tell me where it appeared? It sounds most useful to my purposes.
"Once again, please accept my very warm thanks for your kindness in taking Bond's armoury in hand and sorting it out. As a small recompense for your trouble I am sending you a shiny and rather expensive book on Odd Weapons which has just appeared and which perhaps you do not possess. It is not exactly on your beat, but it may entertain."
BOOTHROYD TO FLEMING, JUNE 29TH