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Literature / Goldfinger

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The seventh James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, published in 1959.

Returning to London following a rather unpleasant mission of destroying a drug business in Mexico, Bond finds himself stuck in Miami for a day due to a cancelled flight. By chance, he meets an old acquitance named Junius Du Pont, and through him he also meets Auric Goldfinger, the richest man in England. When he eventually returns back home, he learns that Goldfinger is on SMERSH's payroll and is tasked to get him arrested and his gold confiscated.

The novel became the basis for the third James Bond film. One of the continuation novels, Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz, takes place immediately after this one.


This novel has the examples of:

  • Amazon Brigade: Pussy Galore's entire criminal organization was enlisted from female acrobats, which Galore then transitioned into cat-burglars.
  • Antagonist Title
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: Branching into Interchangeable Asian Cultures, karate, a Japanese martial art, is described to be "a branch of judo" with Chinese origins, and how there are "only three practitioners with Black Belt" in the world.
  • Book Safe: Bond hides his Walther PPK inside a hollowed out copy of The Bible Designed to Be Read as Literature during his Mexico assignment.
  • Bury Your Gays: Tilly Masterton is revealed to be lesbian, and becomes sexually obsessed with Pussy Galore. She later dies during Operation Grand Slam because her devotion to her. Pussy herself survives the book because she isn't really gay, just mistreated .
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  • Busman's Holiday: Bond's little stopover in Miami turns into this once Du Pont hires him to spy on Goldfinger and learn how he cheats at cards.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: When Bond and Tilly are captured, Goldfinger subjects Bond to Oddjob's handling to get answers out of him.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Junius Du Pont, whom Bond helps in Miami, is in fact the guy who sat next to Bond during the big game in Casino Royale.
    • When Bond is being lectured about gold business and Goldfinger's background, he notes to himself how one can become infatuated with it just like diamonds, the smuggling of which he had investigated a while ago. (And among the mobsters Goldfinger enlists to help him with Operation Grand Slam is a representative of the same Vegas outfit which had carried out said smuggling.)
    • When Bond goes to St. Marks golf course to play against Goldfinger, he thinks to himself about how he has never played there, even during "that accursed Moonraker business".
    • After Bond concludes that he is in the afterlife, he ponders what Vesper will think of the other women he's become involved with since their parting.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The man Bond is assigned to follow on his new case is the same man — Goldfinger — who he'd just been involved with in Miami. Bond himself lampshades this by bursting out laughing when M mentions Goldfinger's name. It's even the basis of the three-part structure of the novel, based on the aphorism "Once is chance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action." Goldfinger encounters Bond, naturally, three times.
  • Cool Car: Bond's new Aston Martin DBIII, and Goldfinger's Rolls Royce Silver Ghost.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Poor Jill Masterson slowly suffocates to death in a hospital after being completely painted over by Oddjob, and nothing can be done to save her.
  • Dastardly Dapper Derby: Worn by Oddjob, which has a leadlined brim, making it a lethal throwing weapon. Using it for that purpose however damages the felt around it, forcing him to always repair it afterwards.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Goldfinger, who is referred to be comparable to Cellini and Einstein in his expertise in planning crime.
  • The Dragon: Oddjob, Goldfinger's chaffeur and main enforcer.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Bond gets stuck behind an irritatingly slow driver who later turns out to have been Oddjob.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Goldfinger hires mostly Germans and Koreans, and his associates are American gangsters including at least one all-lesbian gang.
  • Evil Redhead: Goldfinger has red hair and blue eyes, which leads to Bond to guess (correctly) that he's of Baltic extraction.
  • "Help! Help! Trapped in Title Factory!": Bond leaves a note on the underside of the toilet on a plane, telling of Goldfinger's plot and saying that delivery of the note to Felix Leiter of the CIA will result in a reward, hoping that the cleaning crew will find it; but doesn't know whether or not it got found & delivered, or thrown out, or found by the bad guys.
  • Henchmen Race: Auric Goldfinger considers Koreans to be his henchman race. Bond agrees, because he considers them to be lower than apes.
  • Hollywood Density: Moving the thousands of tons of gold contained in Fort Knox would take a lot more time than Operation Grand Slam allows (Goldfinger had accounted for how to ship the gold out of town, but not how to get the gold out of the vault and into the transports). This is actually pointed out in the film version.
  • I Am A Humanitarian: Goldfinger implies that Oddjob also likes to eat people along with cats.
  • It Never Gets Any Easier: The book opens with Bond with a glass of whiskey in hand, thinking about the Mexican killer whom he was forced to kill in self-defence, and tries to rationalize about it by telling himself that he was very likely a very bad person. His initial big plan for the evening is to drink himself so silly so that he can stop thinking about it and that his inevitable one night stand has to carry him into bed.
  • Kick the Dog: Goldfinger disposes the Convenient Decoy Cat Bond used to get out of trouble by giving it to Oddjob, and telling him that he may eat it.
  • Loves Only Gold: Goldfinger is obsessed with gold, going so far as to have yellow-bound erotic photographs, and have his lovers painted head to toe in gold so that he can make love to gold. He plots Operation: Grand Slam; a scheme to rob the US Bullion Depository at Fort Knox.
  • Mister Big: Goldfinger
  • Moe Greene Special: As Goldfinger has Bond on the gunpoint while he tells him what is his plan for him, he notes that while he rarely has to use the thing, he never misses and usually shoots in the right eye.
  • The Napoleon: When Bond takes note on Goldfinger's short stature, he wonders if his moneyhoarding is a case of Napoleon Complex, and continues the train of the thought with note that "smallest men cause the worst problems".
  • Neck Snap: Tilly Masterton has to unwittingly demonstrate the lethality of Oddjob's hat.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Bond delivers one to Goldfinger and ends it by strangling him to death.
  • Only Sane Man: Bond is the only person in Goldfinger's team that thinks Operation Grand Slam will fail. Tilly is too busy adoring Pussy Galore to care about it too much, and the other gangsters were convinced well enough by Goldfinger.
  • Operation: [Blank]: "Operation Grand Slam" is Goldfinger's code name for the plan to knock over Fort Knox.
  • Rape as Backstory: Galore was molested as a child by her uncle, which created her preferance for women over men.
  • Rape Portrayed as Redemption: As opposed to the film's Questionable Consent, Bond literally rapes Pussy out of her lesbianism.
  • Red Right Hand:
    • Goldfinger is very short in height (four feet and eleven inches), has fiery red hair, very pale skin which he tries to hide with a tan, and has features that are described in narration like "he had been put together with bits of other people's bodies."
    • Oddjob's rigorous training has left the skin on his hands and legs extremely hardened (and former is described to be without nails), he has a cleft that makes his talking hard to understand to everyone except his master and lastly, all his teeth are blackened.
    • Billy Ring, one of the criminal leaders who are part of Goldfinger's Evil Plan, is missing his lower lip, and his right eye twitches in rhythm with his heartbeat.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: It is noted that Goldinger has gotten out many a jam by throwing money at it.
  • Screw Yourself: Bond tells Goldfinger to do this to himself, though through Narrative Profanity Filter, when he refuses his second offer to let him and Tilly go.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Bond is briefed on the intricacies of the global gold market by one Colonel Smithers, leading to this line:
    "Colonel Smithers looked exactly like a man named Colonel Smithers."
  • Shoot Out the Lock: The ultimate version of this trope. Goldfinger plans to blow open the vault with a stolen tactical nuclear weapon!
  • Spanner in the Works: Tilly Masterton interrupts Bond's mission to recon Goldfinger by trying to assassinate him, which leads both of them getting caught.
  • Taking Over the Town: Goldfinger's plan to loot Fort Knox involves killing everyone in the town next to it by poisoning its water supply.
  • Technicolour Eyes: Pussy Galore apparently has the only violet eyes Bond has ever seen. (No doubt Fleming based this on the popular perception that Liz Taylor's eyes were violet - in reality they were just a deep blue that appeared a beautiful violet on old film stock.)
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Bond introduces himself this way to Jill Masterson after surprising her in Goldfinger's suite.
  • Thrown from the Zeppelin: One of the people attending the briefing for Operation Grand Slam decides to opt out. He and his bodyguard then have an "accident" on the stairs on their way to their car.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Common cats for Oddjob, who acquired the taste for them during a time of famine in his homecountry Korea.
  • Tuckerization: Ian Fleming named Goldfinger after his neighbour.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: Bond takes note on the Mexican killer's cheekbones before he attacks him.
  • Wealth's in a Name: Goldfinger has, unsurprisingly, a substantial hoard of gold.
  • Wham Line: After a lengthy speech about his plan for the greatest criminal undertaking ever, Goldfinger reveals what exactly he has in mind:
    Goldfinger: Mr. Bond, we are going to empty Fort Knox.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: The very beginning of the book dwells on this — see It Never Gets Any Easier. Later, however, the villain makes it explicit that he doesn't see his own henchmen as anything but transient "extras" in a production.
  • You Can't Make an Omelette...: The mobster Billy Ring says this to Bond, when they see that the entire population around Fort Knox have been killed dead in their tracks by the poison Goldfinger introduced into the water supply. Or so they think.


Example of: