But Thunderball, the ninth Bond book, feels tired. The first few chapters cover a subplot in which James is sent to a health farm; this has tenuous connections with the main plot which therefore only gets going on page 55. I can only presume that it is the level of detail. Felix Leiter spends two pages describing the profit margins when barmen add water and olives to gin in mixing a Martini. Ships are described in the sort of obsessive details that you get in manuals, so are cars. I have issues as to whether the electric chair method of execution would actually work (electrodes that are "concealed" are probably also insulated which means that the current created by the 3000 volts might have been sufficient to cause a heart attack but scarcely enough to kill in the manner described; to achieve this in the real electric chair requires careful attachment of electrical contacts to a prisoner). But on the whole Fleming has done meticulous research. The trouble is that he writes it all down. I mostly skipped those pages but I guess that many readers find them the best.
- "She [Bond's Bentley] went like a bird and a bomb and Bond loved her more than all the women at present in his life rolled, if that were feasible, together." (p 92) At least that's funny although 'bird and a bomb' doesn't work for me.
- "Bond's stomach crawled with the ants of fear and his skin tightened at the groin." (p 237)
Much of this book seems like Fleming ranting against health farms and the outrageous prices in Nassau restaurants. June 2017; 354 pages