Goldfinger is finished.
This’ll be the last Goldfinger update, as I have finished the book. I must warn you that we’re getting to the end of the book, and as such are wandering into spoiler territory, so if you have not seen the movie or read the book, and have any interest in doing so, stop reading now. Of course, you’ve had decades in which to do so already, so I have to wonder if it’s really that important to you.
So, when last we looked in on Mr. Bond, he and Tilly Masterton had just been hired on by Goldfinger to do criminal paperwork. Their first duty is to attend a meeting, wherein Goldfinger explains his criminal masterpiece to several crime bosses in hopes of bringing them in as partners. During the meeting, Masterton’s job is to take notes. Bond’s is to examine each of the crime bosses to see if he thinks they are trustworthy. Bare in mind that just the day before, Goldfinger was going to saw Bond in half lengthwise because Goldfinger didn’t trust him. The bosses are four two-dimensional crime boss type characters, and Pussy Galore.
If you’ve seen the movie, I am about to give you one of those bits of information that you get from time to time that irrevocably change your view of the world.
Pussy Galore is a lesbian.
I know, right? So much makes sense now! Especially the name. It’s not what she offers. It’s what she wants!
Anyhoo, Pussy Galore is the head of a gang that started as an all lesbian trapeze act. This, for some reason I don’t understand, was not successful, so all of the performers agreed to turn to cat-burglary.
Earlier Goldfinger made a passing comment about Miss Masterton’s “inclinations” which went right over Bonds head. Now bond understands, as Tilly is openly lusting after Pussy Galore on sight. It’s pretty awesome.
Goldfinger explains his plan to rob Fort Knox, which is pretty close to the plan from the movie, except that the sedative that knocks out every living thing at Fort Knox will be delivered through the water supply instead of by air, and that the gold will be hauled out of Fort Knox via train. Goldfinger goes on and on abut the trains.
After the meeting, the following thing happens. I find it to be the single most satisfying thing I’ve read in this entire book.:
“Bond found himself between Miss Pussy Galore and Tilly Masterton. He offered them champagne. Miss Galore looked at him coldly and said, 'Move over, Handsome. Us girls want to talk secrets. Don't we, yummy?' Miss Masterton blushed and then turned very pale. She whispered adoringly, 'Oh yes please, Miss Galore.'
Bond smiled sourly at Tilly Masterton and moved down the room. “
Later Bond and Goldfinger have a conversation about the plan. Goldfinger admits that the sedative they’re putting in the water supply is actually a poison that will instantly kill everyone in Fort Knox. He lied to the crime bosses because he thought they’d balk at murdering that many people all at once, which he thinks is silly, because more people are killed in highway accidents in that vicinity every year. (Statistics can make even mass-murder seem dull.)
All of the crime bosses, Goldfinger and Bond take a scouting flight of the Fort Knox area on a chartered plane. Bond does the most heroic thing he’s done in four chapters. He writes a note offering the finder a $5000 reward if they get the note to his old friend Felix Leiter at the Pinkertons Detective agency. He then hides the note under the toilet seat of the planes bathroom, and sits there for the rest of the flight panicking whenever someone uses the bathroom.
The day of the big heist comes. Bond, Odd Job, Tilly, Goldfinger, the crime bosses and Pussy are disguised as doctors and nurses rushing to help the people at Fort Knox who are mysteriously falling ill. (I nearly forgot! The main reason Pussy’s gang is involved is to wear nurses costumes to make the ruse of being a medical team more convincing.)
They travel by train (of course) to Fort Knox, and pass miles of people unconscious (or dead) along the side of the tracks. Bond has given up hope by time the reach the station where they intend to get off the train and head for the vault. Bond sees motion. He grabs Tilly’s hand and yanks her along with him as he leaps from the train and heads for cover. Soldiers and police pour from every opening in to station, but Tilly struggles against Bond’s grip. She yells that she doesn’t need his help.
“Pussy will protect me!”
She gets free, takes like three steps, and is hit in the neck by Odd Job’s hat.
Bond reaches cover. Goldfinger starts the train again and pulls away. Felix arrives, with a bazooka. Bond takes the bazooka and shoots Goldfinger’s train. It’s a direct hit, but it doesn’t even slow the train’s progress. Felix explains that modern trains have two engines. Glad he mentioned that after Bond aimed the bazooka.
The plan is thwarted. The gold is safe. Bond examines Tilly’s corpse and states that “she didn’t have much use for men.”
A week passes. Bond has received the full hero treatment from the U.S., and is on his way back home. Felix mentions, almost as if in passing, that Goldfinger, Pussy and all the other crime bosses got away.
Felix drops Bond off at the airport for his flight back to London. There’s a problem with his flight though. In order for Bond to get on the flight, he needs an inoculation. He argues lamely for a bit, then rolls up his sleeve and allows a stranger n an airline uniform to shoot him up with, well … whatever he wants.
Shockingly, Bond loses consciousness.
He wakes up on a plane, strapped to his seat, sitting next to Odd Job. Pussy Galore walks up dressed as a stewardess (It was the 50’s. Stewardess was the term back then) and gives him a drink. Then Goldfinger walks out in an ill-fitting pilots uniform, and they have a conversation about how Bond had foiled Goldfinger’s plans. Goldfinger explains that he works for the Russians (an organization similar to NATO called SMERSH, actually, but the Russians make up the biggest part of SMERSH. Bond has known this. I never mentioned it because … well, I didn’t find it funny.) and that he’s taking Bond to Russia to be interrogated. Pussy Galore passes Bond a note offering him help. Then everyone goes to their seats and tries to sleep.
Bond takes a knife he’s had hidden in his shoe, and stabs the window next to Odd Job’s seat, which results in Odd Job being sucked violently out of the plane. Then bond and Goldfinger fight. The fight ends with the two men wrapping their hands around the other’s throats in what amounts to a race to see who can strangle the other first.
Bond wins. He unfastens Pussy’s seatbelt and gives her CPR to make sure she’s breathing. He leaves her unconscious and goes to the cockpit, where he holds a gun on the pilot, copilot and navigator, and makes them ditch the plane near an oil rig.
Here comes the happy ending.
Bond and Pussy survive, but the three men in the cockpit are killed. Once they are safe on the oil rig Pussy throws herself at Bond. He is surprised that she’s interested in him. She explains that she was a lesbian because she had been sexually abused as a child, and that she hadn’t been interested in men before Bond because she hadn’t met a real man before she met Bond.
He kisses her “ruthlessly.” The end.