A Tribute to Peter Janson-Smith, 1922-2016

Photograph courtesy of Diedre Smaje.
Peter Janson-Smith.  Photograph courtesy of Deirdre Smaje.

 

All at Ian Fleming Publications were sad to learn of the death of Peter Janson-Smith at the age of 93. Peter became Ian Fleming’s agent for foreign rights in 1956 on the recommendation of Eric Ambler.   His role gradually increased until, after Ian Fleming’s early death in 1964, he became Chairman of the company which held the literary rights to Fleming’s James Bond novels and to his children’s book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.   The company at that time was called Glidrose Publications, later renamed Ian Fleming Publications.   As Chairman, he oversaw and developed the early post-Fleming continuation novels featuring James Bond, the very first being Colonel Sun by Kingsley Amis.  He nurtured the subsequent books by John Gardner and by Bond expert Raymond Benson, while never losing sight of the original Fleming books as year after year they continued to be republished not only in the UK and America but in countries and languages throughout the world.   He protected the Fleming rights with fierce loyalty until, at nearly eighty, he retired.

Fleming’s niece, Kate Grimond, said ‘The news of Peter’s death is very sad.   His custodianship of the Fleming literary legacy was long and dedicated and impressive and as a man of integrity and easy company he formed close friendships with many writers, publishers, collectors and other significant people within the world of Bond, all of whom will mourn his death.   With his handsome head of hair and his somewhat angry bird looks, he cut a striking figure, but forbidding he wasn’t, and nothing was more enjoyable than spending time with Peter reminiscing about the early days.’