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Mystery Monday – Casino Royale

 

Casino Royaleby Ian Fleming

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

 

This is the first James Bond novel, first published in 1953. A true Bond fan should read it with the caution that in some ways the main character is the Bond we know and like but in others he is not. 

We like the JB that is believable because he feels fatigue and panic. He makes mistakes. Due to cockiness, he lets down his guard and Vesper, the romantic interest, gets kidnapped. However, in this premier, he’s cold, merciless, and callous. His opinion on women spies is summed up as “Women were for recreation. On a job, they got in the way and fogged things up with sex and hurt feelings and all the emotional baggage they carried around.” 

Besides the stereotypes we hold in disapprobation nowadays, the violence in this one is about the hardest of the entire series. The torture scene is almost as cringe-inducing as Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer putting an icepick through a perp’s – well, never mind.

Like I said, a Bond fan should read it because Fleming’s action rocks. The bombing, car chase, and gambling scenes pack punch.  Fleming gives the impression he knows a lot about specialized technologies and the work of spies (he was in Naval Intelligence during WWII). Though Fleming runs low on synonyms by the end and the story drags a bit after the climax with Le Chiffre, read it. You know you want to. It’ll take a whole afternoon. 

 

 

 

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