In this article we continue our look at Jamaica, where every winter Ian Fleming sat down to write his next James Bond adventure. In Live And Let Die: The Jamaica Version we followed 007 on a road trip across the island. This time we take a look at what happened when he returned a few years later in Doctor No.
Although James Bond’s room at the Blue Hills Hotel – a single room with a shower – seems to be modest, the balcony on which he enjoys his breakfast the morning after flying into Kingston is quite spectacular, overlooking as it does a “riot of tropical gardens to Kingston, five miles below”. The hotel itself was fictional, but almost certainly based on the similarly named Blue Mountain Inn, although it is no longer open. Located on a former eighteenth century coffee plantation, the hotel was traditionally British in style.
Just as his previous visit to the island, 007 spends most of his time with Quarrel, who takes Bond to a restaurant on Kingston harbour. The restaurant is called “The Joy Boat” and owned by his friend Pus-Feller, who earned his nickname after once fighting a big octopus. Descriptions of island life are Fleming at his most colourful and we read that the pair eat broiled lobster, steak and native vegetables to “the throb and twang of calypso music”.
Bond has been sent to Jamaica by M supposedly on a “holiday” after messing up at the end of his previous assignment, From Russia With Love. The head of the Caribbean section – John Strangways, who Bond met in Live And Let Die – has gone missing with his assistant.
He therefore spends the day at King’s House in Kingston to meet the Governor and Colonial Secretary for more background on the case. Bond finds he gets on well with the Colonial Secretary, Pleydell-Smith, with whom he afterwards lunches at the Queen’s Club. More importantly he learns about Doctor No and his secret island hideaway, Crab Key.
Thinking that Doctor No may have something to do with Strangways’ disappearance, Bond plans on visiting Crab Key. However, beforehand he knows he needs to get back to full fitness and so Bond and Quarrel once again head for Beau Dessert on the same route as in Live And Let Die, where once again Bond again undertakes a training programme under Quarrel’s supervision.
Crab Key lies thirty miles north of Galina Point in Jamaica and 60 miles south of Cuba and to get there requires sailing at night until just outside radar distance; after that they have to paddle the small canoe ashore. However, their plans are thrown slightly the morning after arriving; they are not the only people on the beach.
And despite lowering their own sale to avoid detection, the same was not true of Honeychile Rider, who frequently sails to the island to collect valuable shells. Her sail was detected by Doctor No, and they soon find themselves in deep trouble when the Doctor’s men come looking for them…