Honeychile Rider was a girl who had lived in a large house in the middle of a sugar cane field in the Beau Desert on the North coast near Morgan's harbour, Jamaica. When she was five, her parents were killed in a fire that burned down their home. After that, she lived in the cellars of the ruin's with her black nanny. Once when the cane was harvested, some of the snakes, scorpions and other animals who had lost their homes, came into the ruins and after a while they became like family to Honey, who fed them and looked after them. They would leave when the cane grew back and return to her when it was harvested again.
When she was 15, her nanny died and she was left to fend for herself. A man named Mander, who owned the cane field came into the ruins drunk one day. Honey tried to stab him, but he was too strong. He punched her, knocking her out and breaking her nose and then raped her. Honey got her revenge by putting a black widow spider in his bed one night when he was sleeping.
Ryder is an independent and very beautiful woman, with the minor imperfection of a broken nose. She became a shell diver near Crab Key in order to make enough money by selling them to American collectors, so that she can then have a nose operation. She made mistakes of the trade at first such as acquiring pretty, but common shells rather than the uglier, but rarer varieties and polishing the shells rather than leaving them be. Honey Ryder also felt one with nature. She told Bond that she had read the encyclopedia from A to the middle of T and she expressed great value for life, animals, and humans.
One day on Crab Key, she emerges from the sea with some very rare shells only to meet the gaze of James Bond. Honey was naked, save for the belt holding her knife, and is startled by him at first, but is quick to warn him not to interfere with the sea shells. Bond takes her with him and the two develop a mutual attraction towards each other. Honey says she would like to be a call girl as she heard the money was good, but Bond quickly told her she would be foolish to pursue such a degrading "career".
The pair meet up with Quarrel and are later ambushed by armed patrolmen. She and Bond are later captured by Dr. Julius No. He holds here in his facility with Bond for days. Dr. No later attempts to kill her by tying her to some rocks and allowing crabs to eat her alive. However, she is aware that the crabs do not like human flesh and they won't attack her as long as she is still and unprovocative. She manages to escape, meets up with a badly injured Bond and they leave the island.
It is implied in the book that she and Bond will later take a vacation to New York City, where Bond plans to help her find work in a museum and also plans to get her nose fixed. He also asks for someone on Jamaica to "keep an eye" on her.
In later novels, Bond divulges that Honey Ryder moved to Philadelphia, where she worked as an actress. She married a doctor by the name of Wilder and had two children with him.