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Bond, Detective Bond,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: James Bond, Diamantenfieber (Taschenbuch)
For his fourth 007 novel, Fleming drew inspiration from a real-life international diamond smuggling ring which would also be the subject of a non-Bond book, The Diamond Smugglers, a year later. The premise here is that an American mafia family is running an elaborate operation to smuggle diamonds out of the British colony of Sierra Leone (it didn't win independence until 1961), the British don't like it, and Bond is inserted as a courier to try and discover who's behind the scheme. While this setup remains exceedingly topical almost 50 years later (indeed, the latest Bond flick features the laundering of diamonds from Sierra Leone), however it's not likely to engender much enthusiasm in the contemporary reader. Hmm, someone is smuggling diamonds out from the under the noses of the imperialist colonizing British, gee, that's too bad... so why does this warrant sending a government assassin into the mix?
However, if one is willing to overlook the rather small potatoes of the setup, there's a decent enough potboiler to found if you don't examine it too carefully. The pages turn quickly enough as Bond is partnered with the hard-boiled beauty Tiffany Case (like so many of Fleming's women, an underdeveloped character with lots of potential), and then heads to the horse races at Saratoga, the casinos of Las Vegas, a desert ghost town, and the staterooms of the Queen Elizabeth. There are some nice set pieces (especially the mud bath scene and the casino action), but Bond seems to be distracted the whole time. One could mark it down to his being overconfident about his Mafia adversaries, but he's throughout the book he's missing clues, botching basic spycraft, and most importantly, impatient and sloppy. In several places it's hard not to think that if he were this bad an agent, he'd have been killed long ago.
It also doesn't help that the Mafia dons Bond is up against are totally generic and unmemorable, and more than a little ridiculous as major villains. The semi-climactic railroad chase scene is borderline farcical for example. Nor are matters aided by Felix Leiter rather improbably crossing Bond's path as a Pinkerton's agent. Still, the homosexual hitmen, Wint and Kidd are memorable characters who bring a great deal of menace and (for the time) exoticism to the story. More of a detective story than a spy thriller, it's not your normal Bond book.