While Dr. No was the first James Bond movie, it was the sixth in the series of novels by Ian Fleming. Most of the book is set in and around Jamaica. The book concerns Bond’s efforts to determine what sort of nefarious activity is going on at Crab Key, an island off Jamaica, which is owned by a man called Dr. No.
The book begins with the assassination of John Strangways, the Jamaica station chief of the British Secret Service, and his secretary by three “Chinese Negroes.” Their bodies are hidden so no one knows what has happened. Back in London, James Bond has been convalescing from the effects of the events from the previous book, From Russia With Love. He is assigned to the Strangways case by his boss, who thinks that the two disappeared people have simply run off together and that he is letting Bond have a sort, easy assignment.
Bond gets to Jamaica and is met by Quarrel, a Cayman Islander, with whom he worked five years previously when he was in Jamaica for the events of Live and Let Die. Bond is immediately followed by various Chinese and Chinese Negroes. Three attempts are made to kill him. He decides that Dr. No and Crab Key are at the heart of the mystery and he and Quarrel prepare to infiltrate the island (which is guarded and from which no one ever returns) to investigate.
On the island, Bond meets Honeychile (Honey) Rider, a beautiful young white woman who has been living alone and in seclusion in Jamaica since she was orphaned. She periodically goes to Crab Key to hunt for shells. The island’s security forces have detected Rider’s canoe sail on their radar and soon investigate them. The spray the area where the three are with machine gun fire, destroying Rider’s canoe and forcing her to come with Bond and Quarrel. In a second attack, Quarrel is killed and Bond and Rider are captured and brought to Dr. No.
In the last half of the book or so, we find the No has built his guano processing operation on Crab Key as a way to hide his real work, which is remotely tampering with missiles fired by the US and its allies. He is working for the Soviets in this effort. After telling Bond and Rider his story, he uses them both as test subjects to see how much pain they can endure before dying. Rider is taken to her fate and the book follows Bond through a sadistic obstacle course. Bond, of course, manages to survive the obstacle course. He gets free, meets Rider (who has survived her ordeal rather easily) and manages to kill Dr. No and escape. The book ends back in Jamaica with Bond and Rider in bed together at her home in the ruins of her family’s ancestral mansion.