In his fourth recorded adventure, James Bond 007 goes after some particularly vicious diamond smugglers in Ian Fleming's 1956 novel Diamonds Are Forever. (Click here to reserve a copy from us.) Along the way, Bond falls in love with one of the gang members, Tiffany Case, and is reunited with old pal Felix Leiter, in between doging various attempts on his life.
Assigned to track down a diamond smuggling gang operating in the UK (and wrecking the British economy) with ties to American organized crime, British Secret Service agent 007, James Bond, poses as one of the smugglers and makes contact with the aforementioned Tiffany, who relays orders to the gang from the mysterious "ABC".
Bond travels to New York to drop off the gems and, through a complicated series of events, discovers that the Spangled Mob, led by the nasty Spang brothers, are running things and, with the help of gay hitmen Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd, take out any opposition to their operation. The scene in which Wint and Kidd disfigure an errant race horse jockey in a mud bath is particularly unsettling.
Along the way, Bond meets up with Felix Leiter, now working with the Pinkerton's Detective Agency in NYC. Felix, despite having lost a hand and leg during the events of Live and Let Die two books back (click here to read my review), fills in Bond on how extensive the mob's influence is in the US.
The trail of the gang eventually leads Bond and Tiffany, who have fallen in love with each other, to Las Vegas (where they find themselves in the bizarre, wild west-like ghost town "Spectreville"), the Queen Elizabeth liner, and eventually to the pipeline's main source, French Guinea.
A solid, if not quite classic adventure, Diamonds Are Forever is an entertaining read. Characterzation is strong and Fleming's various descriptions of the places Bond visits are vividly depicted. Lots of good suspenseful moments too, like Bond's frantic search for Tiffany after she's kidnapped by Wint and Kidd on the Queen Elizabeth.
But the lack of a strong lead antagonist -the Spangs are just punks compared to Mr. Big and Sir Hugo Drax- hurts the narrative a little. Even Mike Hammer wouldn't have been put off by these dopes.
Anyway, Diamonds Are Forever is okay Bond. Check it out.
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