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Dearest James

(This was a writing group activity – the same event from the points of view of the two people involved in a case of mistaken identity)

Dearest James,

Normally I’m the one who listens to your exploits, but this time I have something to tell you.
As you know, I took advantage of my annual leave to soak up some sunshine. (But then again, maybe you didn’t even notice I was gone. * sigh * )
I was reclining gracefully on my deck chair on the ship, the book I’d been reading turned over while I sipped my drink, when I realised there was a young man standing by my side. Not as good looking a man as you, James, but a little younger. He was staring at my book and frowning a little as he did so. Then he looked from it to me and smiled. There was something about that smile I didn’t like. It’s the same sort of smile you have sometimes. Predatory, I think. Sexy, but predatory.
“An interesting book,” he observed, in slightly accented English. “Are you enjoying it?”
“Hmm.” I put my glass down and shrugged. “I actually bought it for my nephew, but decided I’d read it first. But I am finding it a bit juvenile. I prefer the writer’s other books, that he wrote for adults.”
I was unprepared when he looked almost relieved.
“Excellent. Here – “ He reached into his pocket and pulled out an envelope which he handed to me. “Take this home with you and give it to your employer.” So saying, he swung around and walked off rapidly, before I had the chance to tell him he must have mistaken me for someone else. There wasn’t anything else I could do, so I returned to my reading and stuck the envelope in as a bookmark.
Shortly afterwards it was time for dinner and a dance and of course, the whole matter slipped my mind. I was so busy that I even forgot to finish the book and it wasn’t until I was unpacking that I remembered the envelope. It puzzled me. I started wondering if perhaps the stranger had recognised me from the business. He could have been someone in your line, James.
So I brought the envelope to work and handed it over, telling our employer what had happened. 
You’ve been wondering, I suppose, just how it was we were able to crack that code and find all those foreign agents so easily? All the information we needed was in that envelope. And I brought it in.
I have a feeling that I wasn’t the person who was supposed to have received it. Looking back, I recall seeing an exotic looking lady wandering around, clutching another copy of the book I’d been reading, almost as if she were trying to show it to everyone. Seemed odd at the time, but I hadn’t really thought all that much about it. After all, many adults like kids’ books and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was fun!
With all my love

Jane Moneypenny


I really have made the most dreadful mistake.
Oh, I am in a lot of trouble.
The envelope I carried contained vital information that I was meant to pass on to one of our agents. The rendezvous had been arranged weeks earlier –  who would have expected a spy to take an ocean cruise, really?  It should have been so simple – but it wasn’t.
It wasn’t entirely my fault, really, comrades! I saw the young lady reading; she had the correct book and she even made the correct response. How was I to know she really did have a nephew and the book really was for him?
So of course I gave her the envelope. If only I’d known who she was! But while we have lots of information on the field agents, we seem to have rather less on their support staff.
Yes, I am ashamed and mortified to admit I handed over our secret codes and lists of agents to Miss Jane Moneypenny.
She is the woman who works for M.
And M, of course, is 007’s boss.
It’s Siberia for me, I guess.
Ah well, we all make mistakes.