Friday, November 23, 2012

James Bond - Goldfinger

Back to the complete Bond-thru with the seventh book, Goldfinger from 1959.

M assigns 007 to investigate the gold smuggling activities of one of Fleming's best villains, Auric Goldfinger. Before long Bond is catching him cheating at cards, beating him in a memorable golf match, and coming up against the definitive henchman, Oddjob.

This is Fleming at the height of his powers and of the Bond novel's popularity. The format is well established: we get not one but two sporting encounters, some racy Bond girls including Pussy Galore, and Bond is strapped to the table to be tortured with a circular saw (it was changed to the Laser for the movie version). There is quit a lot of dialogue to wad through with lengthy exchanges between Bond and Goldfinger, but these do include my favourite lines from any of the novels when Goldfinger declares: "Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

Having acquired his signature weapon in the last book Bond changes his Bentley for the famous Aston Martin in this one. Not that he gets to use either the gun or the car very much as once again he has to rely on his wits and his physical resilience to get him out of trouble. It's another cracking example of the 007 books, perhaps the best section is the golf match with Fleming demonstrating his knowledge of the intricacies, and the dirty tricks, of the game.

One memorable villain, no medical conditions (other than his lust for gold), one nasty henchman, several Bond girls, two sporting encounters and one torture scene. All this plus death by gold paint!

James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only.

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