Ian Fleming’s niece dishes on his nutty spy days and creating James Bond

The name is Fleming. Lucy Fleming — and as Ian Fleming’s niece, she’s had a front-row view of the creation and continuation of Bond, James Bond, the most fantastic fictitious spy ever.

For now, her seat is on the stage, at off-Broadway’s 59E59 Theaters, where she and her husband, Simon Williams, are performing “Posting Letters to the Moon.” Running through June 2, her play consists of excerpts from the more than 500 letters between her mother, “Brief Encounter” star Celia Johnson, and novelist father, Peter, during World War II.

Both Fleming brothers were active in British intelligence, the 72-year-old actress tells The Post, and specialized in deception. Indeed, some of Ian’s proposed tactics were Bond-ian in their intricacy: One entailed dressing a dead body in a Nazi uniform, putting it on a plane and crashing it into the sea, where the Germans might rescue him, at which point Allied forces could board their ship and get their code-breaking “enigma machine.”

“That was a rather dangerous scheme,” she says. No wonder the British navy passed. But the brothers were very close, and her uncle’s visits were always an occasion.

“He usually came in some extraordinary car,” she recalls of him roaring up to their rural Oxfordshire home in a big, loud Thunderbird. “He loved cars.”

His other passions were “underwater swimming,” golf, gambling and “the ladies.” He didn’t get married until he was 43, to his longtime lover, a twice-married viscountess named Ann.

“Annie was quite a tough cookie,” Lucy says. “They probably shouldn’t have gotten married because they were quite different people.”

The couple had one son, Caspar, and it was for him that Fleming wrote “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” Lucy remembers Caspar as “precocious” but troubled, drifting into drugs and killing himself at 23. Which is why, after Ian’s death in 1964, his literary estate passed to Peter, who had always read Ian’s manuscripts before they were published.

“The Bond books used to arrive at breakfast wrapped up in brown paper, and my father used to take them straight upstairs,” Lucy says. “He called himself Professor Nitpick, and made some suggestions.”

Bond’s adventures, a kinky cocktail of subterfuge and sex, were considered “unsuitable” for children. Lucy used to steal her older brother’s copies and read them under her bedsheet with a flashlight, “which made them even better!”

Her favorite Bond book is the first, “Casino Royale,” because “it’s where Bond began!” It had a small first printing because her uncle worried that it wasn’t very good, she says. “He didn’t want his friends laughing at him. But they sold out so quickly!”

After Peter’s death, Lucy and her sister, Kate, oversaw the new Bond books, anointing other writers — Kingsley Amis and Anthony Horowitz among them — to carry on 007’s escapades. While the Fleming family doesn’t control the movie rights, she says they’ve been quite pleased with the men who’ve been Bond, she suspects her uncle would have cast David Niven, “but he thought Sean Connery was very good!”

She says the writer watched “Dr. No” being filmed near his home in Jamaica, and went to Istanbul for the making of “From Russia With Love.” Only his bad heart kept him from its premiere.

What mementos she has of him are his Rolex Submariner watch and “lots of bits and pieces,” including a knife he’d designed with a friend.

Where does she keep that? “I’m not going to tell you,” she says with a laugh. “Someone might come and kill me!”

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