|Cover artist:||Pat Marriott|
|Published by:||Jonathan Cape|
|Release date:||26 March, 1956|
|Moonraker||From Russia, With Love|
Diamonds Are Forever is the fourth novel by the English author Ian Fleming to feature his fictional British Secret Service agent Commander James Bond. Fleming wrote the story at his Goldeneye estate in Jamaica, and the book was first published by Jonathan Cape in the United Kingdom on 26 March 1956.
Much of the background research undertaken by Fleming also formed the basis for the non-fiction book The Diamond Smugglers, which was later published in 1957.
After the cold-open featuring the diamond smuggler in Africa who's the first link in the chain, James Bond is summoned by M for a new mission: to impersonate a captured diamond smuggler in order to investigate a diamond-smuggling operation and worm his way inside until he can get to the bottom of it. After investigating the House of Diamonds, a shop suspected of involvement and run by the suspicious Rufus B. Saye, Bond links up with his smuggler escort contact, Tiffany Case, a very attractive go-between who developed an antipathy towards men after being gang-raped as a teenager.
Case guides Bond into New York, where he turns the diamonds over to local middleman gangster Shady Tree and is told to go to Saratoga Springs, where he will take his pay covertly by betting on a fixed horse race. Bond meets up with a now hook-handed Felix Leiter, who is now working as a private detective for Pinkertons Detective Agency investigating the race-fixing done by the Spangled Mob, the gangsters behind the diamond smuggling.
Leiter reveals that Rufus B. Saye is in fact Jack Spang co-head of the ring, while his brother Seraffimo Spang runs their interests in Las Vegas. There's also a mysterious ABC who runs the diamond smuggling. Bond helps Leiter unfix the race, which gives him a reason to stay involved with the gang as he demands his pay. When Bond goes to pay the bribe, he witnesses two hooded homosexual thugs, Wint and Kidd, attack the jockey, boiling him in a hot mud sauna. Bond calls Shady Tree to enquire further about the payment of his fee and is told to go to the Tiara Hotel in Las Vegas. The Tiara is owned by Seraffimo Spang and operates as the headquarters of the Spangled Mob.
There, Bond meets Felix's contact Ernest Cureo, a cab driver, and takes his pay at the card tables, where Tiffany Case is his dealer. Bond deliberately provokes the gang by disobeying instructions to gamble no further, and takes the mob for a bunch of money. This gets Cureo shot and Bond kidnapped and dragged out to Seraffimo Spang's private ghost town, Spectreville, where he likes to reside in a "Wild West" setting.
Bond is tortured and exposed as a spy, only for Tiffany to spring him while he's recovering. They escape in a railroad inspection cart after Bond burns down the ghost town, but Spang emerges on their tail in his private locomotive. Bond and Tiffany get off, switch the locomotive onto a side track down into a mine, and Bond shoots Spang as he goes past.
Tiffany subsequently informs Bond of the details of the diamond pipeline. It begins in Sierra Leone, where a dentist would pay miners to smuggle diamonds to him in their mouths; he would extract the gems during a routine appointment. From there, the dentist would take the diamonds and rendezvous with a German helicopter pilot. Eventually the diamonds would go to Paris and then on to London. There, after telephone instructions from a contact known as ABC, Tiffany would then meet a person to explain how to smuggle the diamonds to New York.
They drag themselves through the desert to the road, where Leiter picks them up and sends them back to England aboard the Queen Elizabeth. Aboard ship, Bond romances Tiffany who overcomes her aversion to men, only to realize that the Spangs' hitmen Wint and Kidd are aboard after they capture her. Bond rescues Tiffany and shoots them, then sends her to London.
Bond then proceeds to Africa alone to close down the pipeline, having figured out where the diamonds are coming from and with Jack Spang, who is actually ABC himself, having flown the coop in London. Bond and the troops backing him up find Spang closing down the pipeline himself by shooting the smuggler with which we opened the book. Bond tries to arrest him, but Spang attempts to escape in his helicopter, which Bond shoots down with truck-mounted machine-gun.