Year of Publication: 1954
Villain: Mr Big & SMERSH
Villain’s Plot: Smuggling gold coins to finance SMERSH activities.
Main locations: New York, New Orleans & Jamaica.
Live and Let Die remains one of my favourite James Bond novels. It is one of the many Bond novels which was (very) unfaithfully adapted as a movie.
Bond is sent on a mission to New York where he teams up with Felix Leiter once more in an attempt to stop SMERSH agent Mister Big from smuggling and making a big profit from recovered sunken treasures.
Along the way Bond meets Solitaire and rescues her from the clutches of Mister Big. In return the villain steals her back and sets a shark on poor Felix who looses an arm and a leg in the process. A note is left with the chilling message: “He disagreed with something that ate him.”
Bond is not to pleased by this turn of events and tracks down the man directly responsible at his warehouse.This sequence – unused in the movie adaptation – would turn up thirty-five years later in Timothy Dalton’s second Bond movie, Licence to Kill.
Bond tracks Mister Big to Jamaica and this gives Fleming the excuse for the first of many repeat visits to the island. The final showdown has Bond and Solitaire being dragged along behind Mister Big’s boat as shark bait. Again this sequence was also discarded from the movie adaptation, but would reappear in a future Roger Moore movie, the actually good For Your Eyes Only.