‘You only live twice’
Of all the things to have in a ‘Bond’ novel, a garden being used as a weapon. ‘A garden of death’, pronounced Tiger, the head of the Japanese national secret service.
Okay, to set it into context, Bond is widowed and falling apart. Bunkered off to the Far East by a beleaguered M, Bond is trying to turn himself around. And that means Sake. Lots I of it. At least eight flasks, for one double martini.
But the horticultural aspect is amusing. Gardening is meant to be good for you. With a whole litany of positive effects.
My money, as I swiped the pages, was of course on Blofeld reoccurring. Swiss fella with an ugly wife, you start adding these things up. It does help if you read these books in order. As the reader, you are not as naive as bond; you can grasp the omniscience of Fleming as the writer. For all his braincells, Bond doesn’t seem to clock on.
He does eventually, as Tiger gives him an education and makes Bond a honorary Japanese. There is of course, a Bond girl. This one is not naive, having courted Hollywood and met the lovely David Niven.
There is of course the show down with the villain; bond having figured out who it is. All well and good, this appears to be a Fleming device. A laboured, protracted build up and wham. An episodic window where bad guy and bond meet.
The tail end, I did not see coming. It does however lend itself to the next book, ‘The man with the Golden gun’. What I did not see coming, were the words attributed to M and Mary Goodnight. A reminder, within context, of Bond’s human frailty. Summed up neatly by Blofeld terming Bond a thug directed by dolts in authority. Then there is the Bond girl, her actions are described in a vignette that makes you smile. All because the lady loves bond. Since he dressed as a ninja, that famous sales slogan seems apt.
Three more to go.