Goldfinger Cover

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

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.

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.

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Paperback: Amazon UK | Amazon US

Kindle: Amazon UK | Amazon US

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