This was published in 1959; it is more dated than the film, it is darker and cruder and more human than the film, and it is better than the film. Iam Fleming is a very good thriller writer.
It starts with James Bond sitting in an airport departure lounge and thinking about the man he has just killed. He philosophises. You don't get that feeling in the books. Then he is recognised and his adventures start. All the key elements are there: the womanising (although the literary Bond is a lot less casual about sex than his cinematic counterpart), M and Moneypenny, the Aston Martin (with a lot fewer and less fancy gadgets), Goldfinger, Oddjob and Pussy Galore. Yet it is also a lot simpler and starker than the film. Oddjob drives a Ford Popular! Goldfinger's house is in Reculver. The Aston's armaments are a hidden compartment containing a long-barrelled Colt .45.
There are attitudes that immediately set the book before the modern world. A maitre d' is described as "a pansified Italian"; later Bond 'turns' lesbian Pussy Galore straight because, she says, "I never met a man before" (although she comes from the South where the definition of a virgin is a girl who can run faster than her brother!). Du Pont reveals that Goldfinger is not a Jew; if he had been he wouldn't have got into Du Pont's hotel. Bond earns just over 4,000 dollars a year.
But some things never change. Goldfinger is "dressed for the beach by Abercrombie & Fitch".
A delightful book from a master thriller writer.
September 2009, 264 pages.
- Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57