BIGGLES IN AFRICA
Book First Published in August 1936 - 256 pages
This story was first published, in nine parts, as BIGGLES IN AFRICA in The Modern Boy, issues 443 to 451, dated 1st August 1936 to 26th September 1936
A rich businessman called Felix Marton visits Biggles. Marton's son, Harry, has disappeared on a solo flight to South Africa and Mr. Marton wants to hire Biggles to go and try to find either him, or his body. Flying in a Dragon aeroplane down to a remote aerodrome at Insula in Central Africa, Biggles, Algy and Ginger start their search. Insula was the last aerodrome where Harry Marton was seen. Here they meet the villainous Luke Sarda, the manager of the hardly used aerodrome, who immediately does his best to put them off staying. The next morning Biggles finds a deadly Mamba snake in his cockpit. Algy hears Sarda talking in his hut and they realise that Sarda has a telephone. Investigating this, Ginger speaks on the telephone to Harry Marton! Hiding himself at the aerodrome whilst Algy and Ginger conduct an aerial search, Biggles sees a mysterious man arrive in Harry Marton's aeroplane. This man is Leon Leroux. Leroux leaves before Algy and Ginger return. That evening, Biggles and Algy go and search for Sarda's telephone line, to see where it leads. Whilst doing this they hear their Dragon aircraft take off and find that Ginger has disappeared as well! Leroux has returned and stolen their plane. Ginger manages to stowaway on board, just before Leroux takes off. Leroux flies to a nearby emergency store and Ginger is left behind here. Ginger then finds Marton's Puss Moth aircraft and tries to fly back to Insula, but the engine is faulty and he is forced to land. Meanwhile, Sarda has offered Biggles and Algy some fresh milk and poisoned them with it. Splashing petrol around their hut, Sarda sets fire to it, planning to burn them alive. He walks out of the burning hut straight into Ginger, who shoots him. Ginger pulls the unconscious bodies of Biggles and Algy out of the burning hut just in time. When Biggles and Algy recover, they set off with Ginger to recover and fix the faulty Puss Moth. Here they have a confrontation with a bunch of savages in the pay of Leroux. Later, Leroux and his African natives attack Insula but our heroes escape in the Puss Moth and fly to Leroux's secret store, where Ginger originally found the Puss Moth. An unfortunate encounter with a Rhino sees the end of the Puss Moth and a long and thirsty walk for Biggles, Algy and Ginger. They follow the telephone line, which links Insula with the store and goes all the way to Leroux's base. Their long journey is rewarded by capture by hostile African natives and they face death in a primitive ceremony in the African village. Saved by the timely arrival of an Army Officer called Collison and his Seventeenth African Rifles, Biggles is arrested for the murder of Sarda. Biggles tells Collison the truth about what is going on. With Collison's help, a surprise attack is launched on Leroux's base and Harry Marton is rescued. Leroux had kidnapped him and forced him to act as mechanic to his own Puss Moth. Leroux is pretending to grow tobacco but really he is growing hashish and he was using the plane to transport the drug. Harry is returned to England to be reunited with his father.
Biggles in Africa
Publication Details - published by Oxford University Press
The spine and cover illustrations from the original Oxford first edition
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