"Silencers. These I do not like. The only excuse for using one is on a .22 rifle using low-velocity ammunition, i.e., below the speed of sound. With apologies, I think you will find that silencers are more often found in fiction than in real life. An effective silencer on an auto pistol would be very ponderous and would spoil the balance of the gun, and to silence a revolver would be even more difficult due to the gas escape between the cylinder and the barrel. Personally I can't at this stage see how one would fit a silencer to a Beretta unless a special barrel were made for it, as the silencer has to be screwed on to the barrel, and as you know there is very little of the barrel projecting in front of the slide on the Beretta.
"This business of using guns in houses or hotels is a very strange one. So few people are familiar with what a gun sounds like that I would have little hesitation in firing one in any well-constructed building. This remark is only regarding the noise or nuisance value. I would not fire a pistol in a room without some thoughts on the matter, as bullets have a bad habit of bouncing off things and coming home to roost. I have fired .455 blanks at home on several occasions, even in the middle of the night, without any enquiries being made. The last time was at Christmas when I blew out the candles on the Christmas cake with a pistol and blanks. To conclude, if possible don't have anything to do with silencers."
FLEMING TO BOOTHROYD, EXTRACT FROM A LETTER DATED 12TH JULY
"I sympathize with you about not liking silencers, but the trouble is that there are often occasions when they are essential to Bond's work. But they are clumsy things and only partially effective, though our Secret Services developed some very good ones during the war, in which the bullet passed through rubber baffles. I have tried a Sten gun silenced with one of these and all one could hear was the click of the machinery.
"I rather like the picture of you going through life firing bullets 'in any well-constructed building'! But I agree with you that one could probably get away with a single shot in a Paris hotel bedroom. Your Christmas trick would, of course, be helped by its association in a listener's mind with cracker-pulling."
The late summer is the time of year when, spurred on by Mr. Michael Howard of Jonathan Cape Ltd., my publishers, I put the final corrections to the typescript of the current James Bond adventure, usually written in January and February. Michael Howard wants to get the typescript into page proofs, to which I must give a last polish in September so that he can go to print for publication six months later, around Eastertime. Late summer is also the time when he and I get our heads together about the design of an appropriate jacket for the book. The volume I was working on at the time of my correspondence with Geoffrey Boothroyd was From Russia with Love, and, with the correspondence in mind and remembering the excellent trompe-l'oeil jacket for Raymond Chandler's The Simple Art of Murder, published by Hamish Hamilton Ltd. in 1950, my idea for a jacket was a gun crossed with a rose. So I decided to approach Dickie Chopping, who is probably the finest trompe-l'oeil painter in the world and for whose work I have a great admiration.
Dickie Chopping having agreed in principle, the next requirement was a suitable gun. I at once thought of Geoffrey Boothroyd's favourite—the S & W .38 Special M & P whose barrel he had sawn to 2� inches, and whose trigger guard he had cut away for quicker shooting, and I wrote asking for the loan of the gun.
Geoffrey Boothroyd agreed. His beautiful gun came down to me by registered post and was sent on to Dickie Chopping, who at once set to work, commenting in a letter around the middle of September, "It has been the very devil to paint, but fascinating."
And then fate stepped in via an urgent trunk call from Geoffrey Boothroyd.
On the night of September 16th, 1956 there took place in Glasgow a multiple crime, later to become famous as the "Burnside Murders." Three people were murdered on this bloody night—wife, daughter and sister-in-law—and recovery of the bullets from the corpses revealed that they were of .38 calibre.