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Not that it matters, but the Shirley Bassey song kept playing in my head while I was reading this, the seventh James Bond novel, the basis for that third movie.

The first weird thing is the opening uses the same plot device as did Moonraker: Bond is asked to find out how the bad guy is cheating at cards. It's only by sheer coincidence that Bond is later assigned to thwart the villain's evil scheme.

The bad guy here is, of course, Auric Goldfinger: not only a cheat, but also banker for the Russkies' SMERSH. After Bond forces a humiliated Goldfinger to forfeit his ill-gotten card winnings in Florida, he "accidentally" runs into Goldfinger on a British golf course. A hefty bet is made ($10000 US) and—whattya know?—Goldfinger also cheats at golf. And Bond humiliates him again!

And by this point, we're almost halfway through the book.

Eventually, as Bond continues to shadow Goldfinger, he discovers his truly audacious scheme: stealing billions of gold from Fort Knox. Goldfinger figures out that Bond is an enemy, gets him in his clutches, and then… to his eventual regret, doesn't just shoot him in the head.

I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue, and probably also the wrong year to purchase and read Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. The Ian Fleming estate released versions "for modern readers" last Februrary, letting the original versions go out of print.

But I picked up this original version of Goldfinger for a reasonable price from Amazon. (As I type, it's … no longer reasonable: $31.88 for the paperback.) So I read it with my eye open to what the estate might have ordered expurgated. My best guess: after Bond encounters every 007 fan's favorite lesbian, he speculates on the origins of homosexuality in a very 1950s way.

And Fleming's comments about Koreans (generally) and Oddjob (particularly) aren't very complimentary. (Bond addresses Oddjob as "Ape", for example.)