Title: Live and Let Die.
Author: Ian Fleming.
Genre: Fiction, literature, spy fiction, crime, adventure, occult, romance.
Publication Date: April 5, 1954.
Summary: James Bond is not a superstitious man, but it’s hard not to feel unnerved in the presence of Mr. Big. A ruthless Harlem gangster who uses voodoo to control his criminal empire, he’s also one of SMERSH’s top American operatives. Mr. Big has been smuggling British pirate treasure to New York from a remote Jamaican island, and funneling the proceeds to Moscow. With help from Solitaire, Mr. Big’s beautiful and enigmatic Creole fortune-teller, and his old friend Felix Leiter, 007 must locate the crime lord’s hideout, sabotage his operation, and reclaim the pirate hoard for England. From the jazz joints of Harlem to the shark-infested waters of the Florida Everglades, Bond dives headlong into the exotic.
My rating: 8.5/10.
♥ “There’s no one to help you up there. And don’t stirring up a lot of trouble for us. This case isn’t ripe yet. Until it is, our policy with Mr Big is “live and let live”.”
Bond looked quizzically at Captain Dexter.
“In my job,” he said, “when I come up against a man like this one, I have another motto. It’s “live and let die”.”
♥ Bond’s nostrils flared slightly. He longed to get in there after him. He felt strong and compact and confident. The evening awaited him, to be opened and read, page by page, word by word.
In front of his eyes, the rain came down in swift, slanting strokes - italic script across the unopened black cover that hid the secret hours that lay ahead.
♥ The whole scene was macabre and livid, as if El Greco had done a painting by moonlight of an exhumed graveyard in a burning town.
♥ Bond gazed once more into the great grey face.
“Those who deserve to die,” he paused, “die the death they deserve. Write that down,” he added. “It’s an original thought.”
♥ She thought: how can one explain to someone with that certainty of spirit, with that background of common sense, brought up with clothes and shoes among the warm houses and the lighted streets? How can one explain to someone who hasn’t lived close to the secret heart of the tropics, at the mercy of their anger and stealth and poison; who hasn’t experienced the mystery of the drums, seen the quick workings of magic and the mortal dread it inspires? What can he know of catalepsy, and thought-transference and the sixth sense of fish, of birds, of negroes; the deadly meaning of a white chicken’s feather, a crossed stick in the road, a little leather bag of bones and herbs? What if Mialism, of shadow-taking, of the death by swelling and the death by wasting?
♥ Bond was careful to divulge very little of what he himself knew or guessed. His growing warmth towards Solitaire and his desire for her body were in a compartment which had no communicating door with his professional life.
♥ They were flying at fifteen thousand feet when, just after crossing Cuba, they ran into one of those violent tropical storms that suddenly turn aircraft from comfortable drawing-rooms into bucketing deathtraps. The great plane staggered and plunged, its screws now roaring in vacuum and now biting harshly into walls of solid air. The thin tube shuddered and swung. Crockery crashed in the pantry and huge rain hammered on the perspex windows.
Bond gripped the arms of his chair so that his left hand hurt and cursed softly to himself.
He looked at the racks of magazines and thought: they won’t help much when the steel tires at fifteen thousand feet, nor will the eau-de-cologne in the washroom, nor the personalized meals, and free razor, the ‘orchid for your lady’ now trembling in the ice-box. Least of all the safety-belts and the life-jackets with the whistle that the steward demonstrates will really blow, nor the cute little rescue-lamp that glows red.
No, when the stresses are too great for the tired metal, when the ground mechanic who checks the de-icing equipment is crossed in love and skimps his job, way back in London, Idlewild, Gander, Montreal; when those or many things happen, then the little warm room with propellers in front falls straight down out of the sky into the sea or on to the land, heavier than air, fallible, vain. And the forty little heavier-than-air people, fallible within the plane’s fallibility, vain within its larger vanity, fall down with it and make little holes in the land or little splashes in the sea. Which is anyway their destiny, so why worry? You are linked to the ground mechanic’s careless fingers in Nassau just as you are linked to the weak head of the little man in the family saloon who mistakes the red light for the green and meets you head-on, for the first and last time, as you are motoring quietly home from some private sin. There’s nothing to do about it. You start to die the moment you are born. The whole of life is cutting through the pack with death. So take it easy. Light a cigarette and be grateful you are still alive as you suck the smoke deep into your lungs. Your stars have already let you come quite a long way since you left your mother’s womb and whimpered at the cold air of the world. Perhaps they’ll even let you get to Jamaica tonight. Can't you hear those cheerful voices in the control tower that have said quietly all day long, ‘Come in BOAC. Come in Panam. Come in KLM”? Can't you hear them calling you down too: ‘Come in Transcarib”? Don’t lose faith in your stars. Remember that hot stitch of time when you faced death from The Robber’s gun last night. You’re still alive, aren’t you? There, we’re out of it already. It was just to remind you that being quick with a gun doesn’t mean you’re really tough. Just don’t forget it. This happy landing at Palisadoes Airport comes to you by courtesy of your stars. Better thank them.