Casino Royale the book. The first James Bond thriller

Robert Pimm
Robert Pimm
The book Casino Royale contains the best Martini recipe of all time.  It also contains a key truth about caviar

I am enjoying Ian Fleming’s book Casino Royale in the Folio edition, a welcome Christmas gift. Bond certainly is a dated, post-war creation. But he does have magnificent attributes, many associated with his lifestyle. Take this description of the Martini he orders:

“Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?”

I checked Kina Lillet – it’s a defunct aperitif whose main ingredient, quinine, was removed in 1985.

As Felix Leiter says: “Gosh, that’s certainly a drink.”

But I’m inspired to go into print by Bond’s comment to Jesper Lynd (after whom he decides to name his previously un-named Martini recipe, which I have been drinking regularly since reading the book) at dinner, after she has ordered caviar as a starter. Bond asks the waiter for extra toast.

“The trouble always is,’ he explained to Vesper, “not how to get enough caviar, but how to get enough toast with it.”

So true, so true.

Robert Pimm
Robert Pimm at “Spectre” premiere in Istanbul
For: undeniable style, economy with words, terrific internal monologue.  Bond is a creation to die for.  In the books, he has feelings, makes mistakes, and has self-doubt.
Against: dated, sexist and often stereotypical.
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One Response

  1. Now that really is a First World Problem, and can be just as much an issue with pâté as with caviare. The café at the Pallant House gallery in Chichester tried to charge me £1.90 for a slice of bread to go with my crab salad, but waived the charge when I protested. What would Bond have done?

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