Fast Car, A Beautiful Woman and a Bomb…

As we move through the next few chapters of Casino Royale we get some of the history of the area and Casino, details that only Ian Fleming can provide with the his trademark aplomb. We also learn about Bond’s car for the first time, as he prepares to make a drive-by (without the shooting) of the villa that Le Chiffre has rented.

Bond’s car was his only personal hobby. One of the last of the 4 1/2-litre Bentleys with the supercharger by Amherst Villiers, he had bought it almost new in 1933 and kept it in careful storage through the war.

I often wondered what the significance of the Amherst Villiers supercharger was. Through the magic of Google, my curiosity of this was answered. This site of classic cars gives us an idea of what Bond’s car likely looked like. Here is also a look at the actual Amherst Villiers Supercharger. These small details certainly add to your overall appreciation of the world that Ian Fleming (and James Bond) lived in. Here, you see an advertisement for the Amherst Villiers line, dated from around 1929 or so.

After his little reconnaissance mission, Bond heads back to a bar where he has arranged to meet Mathis and also his number two for the mission. The girl doesn’t say much when the three of them finally get together. We’re treated once again to a Fleming word picture as he describes the actions of the girl.

The girl sat silent. She accepted one of Bond’s cigarettes, examined it and them smoked it appreciatively and without affectation, drawing the smoke deeply into her lungs and with a little sigh and then exhaling it casually through her lips and nostrils.

Bond is affected by her presence. I’m affected by her presence. As mentioned previously, I am not a smoker, but descriptions like that one certainly paint an extremely seductive and sexy picture. We get a description of her as seen through Bond’s eyes. He notes her very black hair, square cut, wide apart deep blue eyes, light suntan, no makeup, no polish on her fingernails, broad black belt and square toed shoes. These details are worth noting and remembering as we go forward through the series. We find many of these descriptions repeated for women in following Bond adventures.

Once Mathis leaves, the Bond and the girl find it easier to talk. Bond concludes that he wants “to sleep with her, but only when the job had been done.” Mathis returns and Bond leaves, with the agreement that he will meet the girl later in the evening at the Casino. After Bond leaves, an explosion is heard. Bond escapes with his life thanks to happening to be behind a large tree when the blast hits. Mathis rushes out of the bar and finds Bond, who is assisted to his hotel room. There is some mystery over the incident. Red cases, blue cases, two Bulgars. After Bond has a change of clothes, he orders some lunch. pate de foie gras and cold langouste (lobster) is his choice, and as the chapter ends, he is grateful to be alive and enjoying this meal.