right on the fence of the 3 or the 4, in order to avoid thinking too deeply about these fun little thrillers, I guess what I will do is confirm [b:Live or Let Die|16294753|Live or Let Die?|J Rgen Wallner|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1356064969s/16294753.jpg|22422529] at the 4, and with Casino Royale at 5, On HM's Secret Service at 3, and Murder on the Orient Express From Russia With Love at 4, would round out Ian Fleming's top 5 books at an average of 3.8, which sounds about right. Goldfinger, #7 in the series, seems to bring to its top degree the best and worst about the Bond franchise, over-the-top cartoony villains (here with especially over the top action), but of course the true literary theorist wonders if this is exactly it's best point, rather than simply dismisses the accomplishment as pure fluff.
(arguably the philosophy being, if you're going to Go Big, GO BIG... GO VERY VERY BIG)
to avoid the spoiler, suffice to say that I think people even back in 1959 would agree that the mechanics of the proposed bad guys' operation would be pretty much an act of war. I guess I'll have to just leave it to readers to read what exactly was proposed, but at least, in any case, we get Odd Job, we get Pussy Galore, we get the famous "here is how we are going to punish you, with this slowly rotating saw moving at 1 centimetre per minute, now excuse while I leave the room, Mr. Bond, to serve myself a cup of tea...)
ha... check out tvtropes.org if you like this sort of deconstruction...
is this book a 4? well... the argument sometimes goes, well, the 'classics are what we know,' viz., childhood jokes that have been baked so thoroughly into the pop culture are that way for a reason, it's odd to fifty years later say, hey, this is cheesy 3/5, because the very fact that the book baked itself into pop consciousness is because of its stylish, debonair cheekiness. Speedbirds and gold paint and villainy villains, and behind it all, the machinations of Soviet terror. hmm, how can you resist
argument for 3: cartoony is cartoony. compared to the morally-gray, sexually submissive, broken personalities of John LeCarre, how could you consider this anything but Rocky and Bullwinkle vs. Elbonia. nice descriptions of golf don't quite add up to the sexiness of the Fleming treatment of skiing, gambling, or European car chases.
I'll probably look again, but for now the 3