At the beginning of Dr No we find Bond being chastised by M for having nearly being killed at the end of From Russia, With Love.
Author: Ian Fleming
Publication date: 31st March 1958
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Cover artist: Pat Marriott
His solution is to re-equip Bond with more a more suitable weapon to the Beretta he had been using until now and then sends him on a “holiday” assignment to Jamaica, where an agent has disappeared.
In common with Live And Let Die, the book is full of local colour derived from the Jamaican surroundings and luckily for the reader, Bond’s assignment turns out to be much more than the holiday envisaged by M. It also features one of the most memorable heroines, Honeychile Rider, who Bond first encounters naked on the beach of an island owned by the sinister Dr Julius No.
Bond takes a single room with shower in Blue Hills Hotel “a comfortable old-fashioned hotel with modern trimmings”, probably based on the Blue Mountain Inn. The balcony to his room on which he breakfasts overlooks a “riot of tropical gardens to Kingston, five miles below” and once again he spends most of his time with Quarrel, the Cayman Islander we first meet in Live And Let Die, who takes Bond to “The Joy Boat” restaurant, down on Kingston harbour.
The restaurant is owned by his friend Pus-Feller, named on account of his one-time fight with a big octopus and to “the throb and twang of calypso music” they eat broiled lobster, steak and native vegetables, washed down with a gin and tonic with a lime for Bond and a Red Stripe for Quarrel.
Bond spends the next day in Kingston at King’s House, where he meets the Governor and then the Colonial Secretary for information on the case. The following day Bond and Quarrel make an early start for Beau Dessert, taking the Junction Road to the North Coast. Bond is planning to pay a visit to Crab Key, thirty miles north of Galina Point in Jamaica and 60 miles south of Cuba.
Before setting off, Bond undertakes three days of training under Quarrel’s supervision and the two eventually set off in a small canoe destined for the mangrove swamps of Crab Key, where Bond eventually comes face to face with Dr No.
What we say
After his attempt at a straight espionage thriller, Dr No turned out to be rather more fantastic. Fleming based the book on an unused screenplay he had written for a proposed TV show. The book was famously attacked by Paul Johnson in the New Statesman in a review titled “Sex, Snobbery and Sadism”.
Once again Bond is sent to Jamaica where he looks into the disappearance of local station chief John Strangways and his assistant. Bond links the disappearance with their investigation into the activities of Dr Julius No and sets sail for Dr No’s private island, Crab Key, recognisable as the archetypal Bond villain lair.
There he meets a beautiful girl, faces a fire-breathing “dragon”, is held captive in a “mink lined prison” and dines with Dr No, who reveals he is in the pay of Russia. Finally Bond must endure an obstacle course that ends with him face to face with a giant squid.
Friends & foes
Once again Bond hires the Cayman islander who worked for him previously in Live And Let Die.
Quarrel runs errands for Bond and helps him get back into shape. Most importantly though he sails Bond from the north coast of Jamaica to Crab Key. Unfortunately it is to be his final voyage.
After a frosty reception from the acting Governor, Bond finds an ally in the Colonial Secretary, Pleydell-Smith.
As well as providing Bond with background information he arranges for the analysis of a basket of fruit Bond suspects is poisoned. Bond is right.
Bond’s first sight of Honey Rider is on the beach at Crab Key. She is there to collect rare shells and completely naked.
Orphaned at the age of five, she was brought up by her nanny in the cellar of the great house which belonged to her parents.
Unfortunately her arrival on Crab Key under sail has alerted Dr No. Soon his men are after Bond, Quarrel and the girl.
Dr Julius No
Born to a German father and a Chinese mother, Dr No is extremely tall, wears a kimono and has pincers in place of hands. He also wears contact lenses.
After becoming involved with the criminal Tongs in Shanghai, No later moved to New York. There he was eventually treasurer of a Tong and used his position to steal a million dollars in gold. Tracked down, he was tortured in an effort to reveal where he had hidden the stolen gold.
When he refused they cut off his hands and shot him in the heart. Fortunately for him, he was one of the few people to have his heart on the right hand side of the body and so he survived.
After spending time in hospital he decided to study medicine. After completing his studies he looked around the world for a base that would be safe from the coming war. Eventually he bought Crab Key where he set up his operations, including the industrialisation of guano.
But his real purpose is to interfere with the test flights of US guided rockets. It turns out Dr No is working with the Russians.
A freelance photographer for the Daily Gleaner, Annabel Chung twice photographs 007 for Dr No.
Bond is greeted by Quarrel when he arrives in Jamaica, who takes him to the Blue Hills Hotel. The Cayman islander takes him to a Kingston restaurant owned by his friend, known locally as “Pus-Feller.”
The next day, Bond meets with the Acting Governor at King’s House and finds little help. However, he forms an alliance with the Colonial Secretary, Pleydell-Smith, who takes him to lunch at the fictional Queen’s Club, likely inspired by The Liguanea Club. Afterward, Bond visits the Jamaica Institute and sketches a rough map of Crab Key. He returns to his hotel by taxi, expecting a quiet evening.
Also see: Dr No: locations from the novel
The following morning, Bond and Quarrel drive to the north of the island, passing through Stony Hill and Port Maria until they reach Morgan’s Harbour. A side road leads them to the ruins of the Beau Desert Plantation and the bungalow they rented in the past.
After a few days of training, Bond and Quarrel plan to sail to Crab Key under the cover of night. They rent a canoe in Port Maria and gather supplies. Bond outfits himself in suitable attire and spends the remaining time at the training camp, preparing physically for the mission.
Crab Key is located approximately thirty miles north of Galina Point on the north shore of Jamaica and about sixty miles south of Cuba. After arriving at night on a black sand beach, they hide their canoe and then Bond gets some sleep. Bond wakes a few hours later to see Honeychile Rider – “Honey” – on the beach, hunting for shells but her arrival has alerted Dr No to their presence. They manage to elude capture in the mangrove swamps but are eventually caught.
Dr No’s lair is built into the rock of the mountain and surprises Bond with its opulent and clinical appearance, resembling the reception rooms of large American corporations. Everything about the lair, from its furnishings to the treatment of its staff, gives the impression of a clinic rather than a prison.
Honey tells Bond that Bond discovers that Beau Desert was owned by her deceased parents. She invites Bond to dinner in the basement in which she still lives, insisting that he owes her “slave-time”.
Upon arriving at the Blue Hills Hotel in Kingston, Bond wastes no time and orders a refreshing double gin and tonic from room service. Squeezing the juice of a whole lime into the glass, he adds the lime halves and ample ice before topping it off with tonic. Enjoying the drink on his balcony, he savours both the beverage and the picturesque view before ordering a another.
Later, Bond dines at the Joy Boat, a waterfront restaurant owned by Pus-Feller, a friend of his companion, Quarrel. Bond opts for a classic gin and tonic with lime, while Quarrel prefers a Red Stripe beer. Their meal consists of broiled lobster followed by succulent rare steak and native vegetables. As they discuss their mission, the drinks continue to flow.
Also see: Dr No: food & drinks from the novel
The next day, after morning meetings, Bond has lunch with the Colonial Secretary at the Queen’s Club. Later, after returning to his hotel, Bond briefly speaks with Quarrel. Afterwards he relaxes on his balcony as the sun goes down. He orders a drink from room service and relishes it before dinner.
Moving on to Beau Desert, a beach house near Port Maria, Bond and Quarrel settle in for a period of preparation. Bond spends the time getting back into shape and lays off the tobacco and booze. However, before setting off for Crab Key with Quarrel, he does drink quarter pint of Canadian Club Blended Rye, served with ice and soda water, as he contemplates the sunset.
After arriving on Crab Key, Bond and Quarrel encounter Honeychile Rider on the beach. After being pursued through the mangrove swamps Bond and Honey are captured while Quarrel is burned to death. During dinner with Dr No, Bond chooses a martini with a slice of lemon peel, specifying that it be shaken and not stirred. This marks the first instance in the series where Bond makes this specific request. As the conversation progresses, Bond enjoys multiple drinks, including a glass of champagne that perfectly complements his meticulously cooked lamb cutlets.
After their harrowing escape from Crab Key, Bond and Honey return to Beau Desert. After some medical treatment Bond is back in his rented house, waiting for Honey to lead him across the cane fields to the basement in the great house. He is drinking his third bourbon on the rocks when she arrives.
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