Auric Goldfinger is a man who loves gold so much that he only makes love to women painted in gold, drives a gold Rolls Royce and hatches a scheme to rob America’s gold reserves at Fort Knox in order to corner the world bullion market.

Goldfinger Cover

Author: Ian Fleming
Publication date:
 23rd March 1959
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Cover artist: Richard Chopping

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James Bond is sent on his tail, first encountering him cheating at cards and then on a golf course. On the way Bond encounters Goldfinger’s henchman, a Korean karate expert with steel rimmed bowler hat designed to break a person’s neck and a team of lesbian pilots led by Pussy Galore.

By the time Fleming came to write Goldfinger, he had tired from what now seemed a yearly ordeal in producing yet another Bond adventure and at times this shows; after a good build-up, with plenty of interest in Florida while he discovers how Goldfinger is cheating at cards and an exciting round of golf in England, the end of the book seems rushed, almost as if Fleming just wanted to get it out of the way.

As well as rushing the ending, Fleming does not manage to convince the reader that most of the gold from the US reserves held in Fort Knox could be removed so quickly and ultimately Goldfinger remains the only book that has been bettered by the film version.

Goldfinger must be one of the best-loved films and features the memorable Aston Martin DB5 fitted with an ejector seat and other additional extras. It deviates from the plot of the book in changing Goldfinger’s plan from stealing the gold from Fort Knox to planning to make it worthless by irradiating it with a nuclear device, in fact increasing the plausibility of the story.

What we say

Goldfinger is probably the most iconic Bond title of all, mainly because of the 1964 film that united James Bond with the Aston Martin DB5.

After a chance encounter in with Auric Goldfinger in Miami, M sends Bond to investigate his suspected gold smuggling activities and links to SMERSH. After beating Goldfinger at golf, Bond trails him across Europe but is kidnapped and flown to the United States. There Goldfinger reveals his plan to steal the Federal gold reserves from Fort Knox.

Ian Fleming seems to run out of steam towards the end of the book, which feels a bit rushed. But Goldfinger starts well, with Bond meditating on a recently completed mission at Miami Airport. The round of golf is good too, easily matching Fleming’s descriptions of card games.

Friends & foes

Pitted against Auric Goldfinger and his Korean assistant, Oddjob, Bond is aided by a number of allies, although it is not always clear whose side they are on.

Pussy Galore

A memorable Bond girl and a key character in the story, Pussy Galore is perhaps the quintessential Bond girl. Pussy Galore is a skilled pilot and leader of a criminal organization known as “The Cement Mixers”, a group of female aviators who assist Auric Goldfinger in his illicit activities. Initially aligned with Goldfinger, she later develops a complex relationship with Bond. With her alluring beauty and air of confidence, Pussy Galore exudes an aura of power and independence.

Jill Masterton

Although she has a minor part in the novel, Jill Masterton’s role is pivotal to the story. Working for Goldfinger, Bond encounters her while asked to expose a card cheat during an unscheduled stay in Miami. However, Bond is indirectly involved in her death.

Tilly Masterson

Tilly is a determined and strong-willed woman, fuelled by a fierce determination to confront Goldfinger and seek justice for the wrongs committed against her family. In her quest for vengeance her path crosses with Bond with the shared objective of bringing down Goldfinger.

Felix Leiter

Although he has a minor role compared with other Bond adventures, the Texan appears towards the end of the novel.

Auric Goldfinger

The primary antagonist of the novel. Goldfinger is a wealthy and enigmatic gold trader who has amassed a vast fortune through illegal activities. Bond suspects him of smuggling gold internationally and embarks on a mission to gather evidence against him.


Goldfinger’s henchman and a formidable adversary. Oddjob is a Korean bodyguard known for his immense strength and deadly skill with a razor-edged bowler hat. He serves as Goldfinger’s loyal and ruthless enforcer.


Bond’s journey commences with double bourbons on the rocks, which he enjoys at the Miami Airport’s departure lounge, contemplating his most recent mission. There he runs into with wealthy Junius Du Pont, who buys him another drink and invites him to dinner.

Also see: Goldfinger: food & drink from the novel

At Bill’s on the Beach, Bond and Du Pont drink double vodka martinis garnished with a lemon peel. The meal that follows features stone crabs paired with Pommery ’50 pink champagne. As Bond contemplates the dichotomy between his yearning for a simpler life and his attraction to the high life, he accepts Du Pont’s proposal to uncover Goldfinger’s cheating methods in a card game.

Bond’s investigative efforts lead him to a train journey with Jill Masterton, where he savours vintage champagne and caviar sandwiches.

Sent by M to investigate Goldfinger, Bond checks into an inn in Kent. At the bar, he orders a vodka and tonic along with ham sandwiches generously garnished with mustard. Afterwards, goes to Royal St Mark’s golf course, where, he once again meets Goldfinger.

After facing him on the golf course, Bond heads back to his room and receives a message from Goldfinger inviting him to dinner that night. Beforehand Bond drinks another vodka and tonic.

After arriving at Goldfinger’s house his host excuses himself for half an hour as he needs to attend to a staff issue. Instructed to help himself to the drinks tray, Bond serves himself a strong gin and tonic. When Goldfinger returns Bond serves himself another drink and they sit down to a starter of curried shrimp and rice accompanied by a bottle of Piesporter Goldtropfchen ’53, a Riesling.

The host reveals his preference for non-alcoholic beverages, cautioning Bond against Napoleon Brandy and gin. Bond, in response, divulges his recent transition to vodka due to the perceived impurities in gin, echoing author Ian Fleming’s own preference. For the main course they have roast duckling with a Mouton Rothschild ’47.

Tailing Goldfinger’s Rolls-Royce through France, Bond stays at the station hotel in Orléans. In the restaurant, he eats oeufs cocotte à la crème, a generous portion of sole meunière, and camembert. Accompanying his meal, Bond enjoys a pint of chilled Rosé d’Anjou, followed by a Hennessy’s three-star alongside his coffee.

After wrecking Tilly Masterton’s car in Mâcon, Bond instructs her to buy some Lyon sausage, bread, butter, and a half-liter of Mâcon with the cork removed and whatever she wants. After continuing to Geneva, Bond drops Tilly at her hotel. Later he goes out for dinner at the Bavaria restaurant, where he drinks Enzian and Löwenbräu beer beer. Afterwards he orders another Enzian and eats choucroute,  Gruyere and Pumpernickel washed down with carafe of Fendant.

After being captured and sedated, Bond wakes in a grey cell. He orders Oddjob to being him food and a bottle of bourbon with soda and ice. The meal is excellent. While enjoying a bourbon and soda in his cell, Goldfinger enters and reveals his plan to raid Fort Knox. Following this encounter, Bond visits Tilly and arranges some food for her too then pours himself another bourbon and soda. After the hoods’ meeting, Bond enjoys a meal of caviar and champagne.

In the aftermath of thwarting Operation Grand Slam, James Bond finds himself onboard a hijacked BOAC plane. Once again he demands a bottle of bourbon, ice, soda water, and a packet of Chesterfield cigarettes. As he sips his drink, Bond notices a handwritten message on the coaster attached to the bottom of his glass. Pussy Galore is on his side.

After defeating Goldfinger Bond notices an unbroken bottle of bourbon in the wreckage of the galley. He uncorks the bottle and takes a swig, which burns his throat. After ditching the plane in the Atlantic, Bond is drinking whisky in a cabin aboard Weathership Charlie when Pussy joins him.

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David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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