Reading the James Bond series of books, specifically the Ian Fleming ones, in a row, is getting to the point where there isn’t much more that can be said in a review, unless the book turns out to be awful. Goldfinger isn’t an awful book, in fact, it’s actually a really good read, a page turner if I must use some overused term to describe it. So, this review is going to be fairly quick. Yay!
Published: 1959 Pages: 264
Short nitty-gritty plot description from the back cover is as follows: Auric Goldfinger is the richest man in England—though his wealth can’t be found in banks. He’s been hoarding vast stockpiles of his namesake metal, and it’s attracted the suspicion of 007’s superiors at MI6. Sent to investigate, Bond uncovers an ingenious gold-smuggling scheme, as well as Goldfinger’s most daring caper yet: Operation Grand Slam, a gold heist so audacious it could bring down the world economy and put the fate of the West in the hands of SMERSH. To stop Goldfinger, Bond will have to survive a showdown with the sinister millionaire’s henchman, Oddjob, a tenacious karate master who can kill with one well-aimed toss of his razor-rimmed bowler hat.
Tatlock’s Quick ‘n Dirty Recap: Goldfinger starts off pretty similar to Moonraker, with Bond helping a guy, who appeared in Casino Royale as one of the card players, investigate whether the man he is playing cards with, Auric Goldfinger, is cheating or not. Of course, this is the main baddie in the book, so obviously he is cheating and Bond lets the guy be aware of that. Due to this little side adventure, Bond becomes interested in Goldfinger’s affairs and likewise for Goldfinger. Coincidentally enough, Bond speaks with M and M provides him a mission that involves him investigating Goldfinger even further, as he is suspected of being the banker for SMERSH (a deadly Russian organization). Bond starts on his deadly adventure, first with a thrilling game of golf and next an interesting turn of the tables for Bond, sees him helping out Goldfinger, but in way you wouldn’t call a mutual partnership.
Tatlock’s Opinion: Goldfinger has everything you want in a Bond book. It’s got an interesting bad guy, a deadly henchman by the way of Oddjob (deadly bowler cap and all), a few Bond ladies, one who doesn’t take to Bond’s romantic advances, but instead falls for the deadly, but beautiful Pussy Galore, a woman who runs an organized crime gang full of women. We also finally get to see Bond go head to head with the bad guy, Goldfinger and it results it a deadly fight aboard an airplane.
I will say, I’m a little disappointed in the overall scheme of Goldfinger’s plans, as it seemed a little farfetched and hard to believe, but alas, it’s what we come to love and cherish in a Bond story, a grandiose, over the top spectacle and one that sees Bond right in the midst of things.
Verdict: I really enjoyed reading/listening to Goldfinger again. It puts Bond on an exciting adventure and I have to say, I really enjoyed the golf parts, where Bond is facing up against a constantly cheating Goldfinger (the guys a real bastard and sore loser). I wouldn’t rate it as my favourite (so far, Casino Royale and From Russia, with Love get those honours), but it’s definitely worth it’s weight in gold.
Rating: 4/5 (-1 for a fantastical scheme, that seemed a little far fetched, even for Bond. +4 for saying screw it to worrying about the fantastical and just enjoying the action, fighting and sadly for Bond, unreciprocated romance.)