Literature / Diamonds Are Forever

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/diamonds_are_forever_novel.jpg

The fourth James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, published in 1956.

Bond is tasked to investigate an organization called The Spangled Mob, who are in charge of a lengthy diamond smuggling operation. Posing as a career criminal, he finds his way to Las Vegas, the heart of their operation.

The book was the basis of the seventh James Bond film.

This novel has the examples of:

  • Anti-Air: Bond uses a Bofors anti-aircraft gun to shoot down Jack Spang's helicopter.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: Wint and Kidd use code based on American Football signals when they decide to break the Mexican Standoff with Bond.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: Knowing that trying to save Tiffany by charging through Wint's and Kidd's door would only get her killed, Bond rips his bedsheets to form a ladder to get into their cabin below through their window.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Jack and Serrafimo Spang although Jack is the dominant one, being ABC.
  • Book Ends: The first and last chapters of the book take place in Africa, where the Spangs' diamond pipeline begins and where it ultimately comes to an end.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: During his flight to United States, Bond notices a man who's scared out of his mind of the experience, and has the text "My blood type is F" written on his suitcase. That man turns out to be Wint, one of The Spangled Mob's killers.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Courtesy of Wint, Kidd, and two sturdy pairs of football boots. Unlike in previous books, Fleming immediately skips to the aftermath and leaves most of the details to the reader's imagination.
  • Continuity Nod: When Bond is out cold after getting the crap kicked out of him, he has flashback dream to his diving mission in Live and Let Die.
    • Bond also encounters his pal Felix Leiter for the first time since the latter was attacked by a shark in Live and Let Die.
  • Cool Train: Seraffimo Spang's refurbished Highland Light locomotive, which Bond finds to be the "most beautiful train in the world".
  • Cut Phone Lines: Bond visits a mud bath to pay a horse jockey for cheating when he notices that the phone line is dead. The novel states that this should have been a warning for Bond, but he did not react and could not when the responsible pair of henchmen came and tortured said jockey for his betrayal.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: The key reason Bond is able to recognize Wint and Kidd, and rescue Tiffany from them above the Queen Elizabeth is because the former participated in the ship's auction pool (an event where the passengers gamble on how far the ship will travel in the next 24 hours), drawing attention to himself. The "cheating" part comes in because Wint and Kidd planned to kill Tiffany and dump her overboard, and the ensuing man-overboard alarm was sure to guarantee a low mileage.
  • Drive-In Theater: When Bond's cab is being pursued by a pair of gunmen, its driver (a Pinkerton Detective) attempts (unsuccessfully) to shake them by going to a drive-in where a movie is playing.
  • Fan of the Past: Seraffimo Spang is a fan of The Wild West, and has refurbished a train and an entire town from that era. He is also wearing a cowboy attire when Bond comes face to face with him.
  • Fixing the Game: How the Spangled Mob pays most of its hired hands, so all parties can maintain Plausible Deniability about where the sudden cash came from. Of course, they tend to look rather dimly on people who try it with them.
  • Ghost Town: The appropiately named Spectreville, which is Seraffimo Spang's base of operations.
  • Hook Hand: Felix Leiter has acquired one of these (as well as a prosthetic leg) since his near-fatal shark attack in Live and Let Die.
  • Indy Ploy: Despite his usual cold and professional demeanor, Bond eventually gets sick of playing nice with the Spangs and deliberately crosses Seraffimo to speed up the investigation. Several improvisations later, most of the Vegas branch is dead, Seraffimo's Old West playground is an ash-heap, and the entire pipeline is on its last legs.
  • It's Personal: The mission becomes personal for Bond when he witnesses the brutal punishment on a jockey who didn't do as told by The Spangled Mob, and he decides that such ruthlessness isn't right.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The reader is meant to assume that Seraffimo is the dominant Spang brother, what with him being at the very end of the pipeline and being the one with a supervillain lair. Jack meanwhile is written off as a non-threat pretty early on when it turns out he actually doesn't know much about diamonds despite smuggling them. Nope; Jack's in charge!
  • Pinkerton Detective: Felix Leiter is now employed as one of these, and Bond's cab driver in Vegas is also working as one undercover.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: Our heroes are fleeing Spectreville on a gasoline-powered handcart. Then Bond has to ask about the gas. Then Tiffany has to proclaim those things can run forever on just a gallon.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: While Fleming was never the most socially-conscious writer, even for The '50s, this was probably the intended effect with how brutally Wint and Kidd treat the Black attendant at the Saratoga mud-baths. It's taken Up to Eleven with the Spangs' inside man at the diamond mines, an Afrikaner whose "hatred for all black things" extends even to insects.
  • Punny Name: Tiffany Case was named after a literal case of Tiffany-brand perfume, which her father gave to her mother before walking out on her.
  • Rape as Backstory: Tiffany Case was the daughter of a madame who stopped paying protection money to the mob; the mob chased out the hookers and gang raped Tiffany at a young age. It has left her distrustful of men, but she warms up to Bond.
  • Red Right Hand:
    • Shady Tree is a redheaded hunchback, whose glassy eyes are described to be like corpse's.
    • Downplayed with Wint and Kidd; Wint has a wart in his right thumb, which he is constantly sucking, and Kidd, despite his young age, already has white hair. Their "homophilia" is probably is meant to be a case of this as well.
  • Road Sign Reversal: Bond manipulates the direction of a set of train tracks to redirect Seraffimo's locomotive to get clear shot at him.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: When Jack Spang personally goes to collect the final batch of smuggled diamonds from the dentist in Africa at night, narration notes how moonlight causes this effect on his flying goggles.
  • Shout-Out: When Bond and Tiffany escape from Serrafimo's town via a railroad handcar, at one point she tells him "That was quite an exit. Like something out of an old Buster Keaton film."
  • Those Two Bad Guys: The Fat and Skinny mob enforcer duo Wint and Kidd. They always work together, and they are probably a couple as well.
  • Title Drop: Bond comes across a jewel store window which has a product that uses the title of the book as its marketing slogan.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: Where most of the book's second half takes place. Bond himself becomes thoroughly disenchanted with the place after a few days, noting that it's clumsy, boorish, and altogether soulless next to the classier casinos of Europe.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/DiamondsAreForever