Here's something sinister:
"In 1946, Phyllis Bottome writes a James Bond book," West says. "He's not called James Bond, he's called Mark Chalmers, but he has every characteristic of James Bond."
Chalmers, the hero of Bottome's novel, is a 36-year-old, dark-haired master at Eton who is signed up to work for British intelligence by a friend, Reggie, who works at the Foreign Office.
After a meeting with "B", the head of British Intelligence, he is despatched to the continent with a mission to communicate with a British sleeper agent and a suicide pill in case it all goes wrong.
Chalmers is a keen aficionado of mountain sports, enthusiastic about fine food and wine and has an eye for a pretty girl. He also speaks fluent French and German.
Seven years later, the world would be introduced to a character named James Bond.
He's in his late thirties. He is sent to the continent after a meeting with "M", the head of British intelligence.
He is a keen aficionado of mountain sports, enthusiastic about fine food and wine and has an eye for a pretty girl. He also speaks fluent French and German.
There's nothing necessarily sinister about two books appearing some years apart with similar characters and themes.
But Fleming knew Phyllis Bottome. Indeed, the summer after The Life Line was published, Bottome and her husband Ernan Forbes Dennis holidayed in Goldeneye, Fleming's Jamaican villa.
We're not saying it's sinister ... but it's definitely sinister.