Reviewed by Guest Contributor, Joyce Sparrow
Ian Fleming (1908 -1964) set three James Bond novels in Florida: Live and Let Die (1954), Goldfinger (1959) and Thunderball (1964). At the time of publication, book reviewers did not favor the Bond novels; however it’s fun to read them today to see how the Sunshine State welcomes Bond, James Bond. The opening of Goldfinger is set in Miami; Thunderball involves Emilio Largo, the head of the black market in Naples. Live and Let Die is all about St. Petersburg and the gulf beaches. So, for a bit of fun and frivolity, I encourage reading the novels.
In Live and Let Die St. Petersburg is called a “sort of pleasure resort near Tampa”. The Bond yacht is tied in the Port of St. Petersburg near Ourobouros Worm and Bait Shippers, Inc. There is mention of Tarpon Springs and Sunset Beach at Gulf Boulevard, as well as Kids and Kubs baseball. Fleming identifies St. Petersburg as the town of the Old Folks Home of America, but we can forgive Fleming for his misunderstanding. Bond mentions 4th Street as the road to Tampa, explains that he has to pay a toll to use the Gandy Bridge, and mentions the shallow waters of Boca Ciega Bay. A fun read—just remember the book was first published 58 years ago.
Joyce Sparrow writes “Florida Reads” the book review column for the Florida Library Association’s publication, Florida Libraries. She also publishes book reviews in Library Journal. Contact Joyce at ReadFlorida@gmail.com.
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