In the first segment of reviewing the short stories from the book titled “For your eyes only”, we have covered 4 stories:
- A View To A Kill
- For Your Eyes Only
- Quantum of Solace
Now let us move ahead.
The Hildebrand Rarity
This story is named after a rare to find fish – The Hildebrand Rarity. The plot is James Bond has to visit the islands of Seychelles for some work. His contact there is Fidele Barbey. He is a very well connected guy who have really good contacts locally. The met an uncouth American Milton Krest, it is better to call him millionaire. He was having his own way to live the life and in fact manage (or even earn) the money too. He was wisely running a foundation which works in the scientific and research segment and for that he doesn’t only be able to save the tax but even get various grants too :). So he live life king size on the money provided by government. When the tax assessments are done he have to bribe the officers. But when the situation is out of control that way also. He needed to produce some proofs that he actually uses the money and the ship he have which is as per the official records sails the deserted areas to find the rarest species and thus do the actual work for which it is permitted.
He in fact gives James Bond an example that by money anything can be bought. For example a specific kind of bird is banned keeping or hunting a crime in the area of Seychelles. And he needed it. So what he did is he found the major requirement of the city. It is a library. Then he met the official and offer him a few thousand dollars as the donation for the same. And after that he convinced him to allow him to have the bird. There are other stuffs also mentioned by him which let us know that he is have excellent skills to get done whatever needed for his personal benefit. Milton does that in his personal life too. Elizabeth Krest – Liz – a British citizen is his fifth wife! Which he introduced to Bond as “Fellers, this is Mrs. Krest. The fifth Mrs Krest. And just in case anybody should get any ideas, she loves Mrs Kest. Don’t you treasure?“. It show is showing-off and dominating nature. Later we know that why despite of trying to show warm feeling about Mr. Krest, Liz have un-found coldness in her eyes. Which a very sharp man can get a glance of. Milton used to beat her whenever her behavior found going a very little unexpected by him!
Anyway challenged by Milton to dare help him in his adventure to find the Hildebrand Rarity Bond and Fidele joined him (and Liz). Bond and Fidele’s genuine efforts gone into vein as they were unable to find the fish. But then Milton himself comes out and when Bond and Fidele were resting he tried searching for the Hildebrand Rarity and bingo, he found it within 15 minutes! He then conveys the plan to grab her to Bond. James need to be underwater (which is not deep at all) for while so the under-water-world get used to him and then The ildebrand Rarity will come again, he have to signal then and after receiving the signal Milton will drop in the special poison he have in the water, making the creatures dead or unconscious. Bond at the heart was against this mass (or even single) killing of the creatures. But can do nothing. When he found the Hildebrand Rarity coming he tried sending it away with various efforts and all. But ultimately the mass killing was done!
Later that night in a course of event Mr. Milton was killed. Bond found various proofs which signals towards his fellows. He was not sure that who was the killer his friend or Mrs. Krest. He rather cleaned up the mess help to get the case the other direction. The final note was Mr. Krest was found drown.
We can say that this is not a Bond adventure fully. Neither he succeed saving Hildebrand Rarity. Which readers may find disappointing. But he knew that based on the persona and behavior Milton got what it was deserved by him and thus shades the investigation procedures. This story thus explores Bond’s humanitarian side and qualities. His sense to judge the right and wrong. His dislike towards unnecessary killing.
Ian Fleming have vast knowledge of the nature and human-nature both. He explains the surrounds of the locales and even the under-water or sea-oriented stuff also pretty well. Ditto for the characterization of the protagonists and antagonist.
Overall a balanced story having its pros and cons.
- Ian Fleming visited Seychelles to report for The Sunday Times on a treasure hunt. He used a lot of details from that experience when explaining the island and its environment.
- The Hiderbrand Rarity was first published in March 1960 in Playboy Magazine!
- The Hiderbrand Rarity was aslo published as a comic strip from 29 May 1967 to 16 December 1967. The illustrator of the strip was Yaroslav Horak and Adaptator was Jim Lawrence.
Next story… on… next page…