BIGGLES FLIES WEST
Book First Published in September 1937 - 255 pages
This story was first published, in twelve parts, as BIGGLES’ TREASURE ISLAND in The Modern Boy, issues 490 to 501, dated 26th June 1937 to 11th September 1937
The original first edition dust jacket. Note the original price of 3/6.
I believe this dust jacket to be a later example. Note how the same book titles on the back cover are presented in a different style and with a different surrounding border.
This jacket has been overpriced with a 4/- sticker. One presumes the original price of 3/6 is below. Also, the wording on the front flap is set out in a different way.
The 1942 reprint dust jacket showing the increased price of 4/- net. Again, the wording on the front flap is set out in a different way. Here, the surname ‘Hebblethwaite’ is hyphenated.
Click on any chapter for a summary of the events in that chapter or see the general story summary below
Biggles, Algy and Ginger are walking through a street in Wapping, London when a young lad of 15 runs into them. He is being pursued by a mysterious stranger who is trying to rob him. The lad is Dick Denver and he has recently received word of the death of his father, who was a sailor. Dick's father sent him a letter before he died. The letter contained a gold doubloon and a map. Although they don't yet know it, the doubloon has been cursed and brings bad fortune to all that touch it. Dick's father claims in his letter, to have discovered an old pirate ship where he believes there is a vast haul of doubloons. However, a treacherous shipmate of Dick's father, who was the one who stabbed him, is now after Dick, knowing that a letter has been sent to him and suspecting it to contain details of where the treasure is. Biggles agrees with Dick that he will finance an expedition to try to recover the doubloons. After deduction of expenses, Dick will take half of any profit and Biggles, Algy and Ginger, the other half. However, the mysterious stranger has overheard their plans. Flying in a Sikorsky amphibian to Marabina, Biggles, Algy Ginger and Dick are arrested by a corrupt official called Mallichore. The mysterious stranger, whose name is Deutch, and three other villains called Harvey, 'Frisco Jack and Pedro Martinez, then proceed to steal Biggles' plane. Biggles buys another from the Pan-American Company and attempts to follow after them but they are caught in a hurricane and crash just as they reach the island they are looking for. In the confusion Biggles and Dick are separated from Ginger and Algy. Ginger and Algy are then captured by the baddies. Dick attempts to rescue them but is chased by Pedro Martinez who is going to cut his throat with a razor. Biggles shoots Pedro just in time. Biggles kicks the cursed doubloon into a nearby hole as he realises that it brings nothing but back luck to whomever has it. Biggles and Dick return to rescue Ginger and Algy and Biggles then takes them to an old pirate fort that he has found on a small islet. It still has old cannons, muskets and even clothing, which everybody uses as they have lost all of their supplies when their first aircraft was stolen and their second aircraft crashed. On a trip to the main island to look for the pirate ship, Biggles loses his balance and falls through the rotten moss covered deck into the ship itself. Here is found the skeleton of Louis Dakeyne, the pirate captain, still at his desk where he died, violently. Back at the old pirate fort, Dick is on watch at night when he decides to go back and get the unlucky doubloon from the hole where Biggles kicked it. This he does, only to discover a whole hoard of doubloons in the hole - the treasure! He also hears Deutch kill 'Frisco Jack. The following day, Biggles, Algy, Ginger and Dick move the gold to the pirate fort and stock up on supplies. Deutch has now obtained soldiers from Marabina and attacks the pirate fort in strength. Using all the old pirate weapons, together with gunpowder taken from the pirate ship, our heroes fight them off in true pirate style. Deutch and Harvey are both killed. Winning the battle, Biggles sees a Royal Navy destroyer arrive, attracted by all the noise. With the help of the Navy, Biggles is able to recover his original plane and see the matter to a successful conclusion.
Biggles Flies West
Publication Details - published by Oxford University Press
The spine and cover illustrations from the original Oxford first edition
The original first edition had a gold doubloon from 1717 embossed onto the front cover – making it unique amongst Biggles books
(A photo of W.E. Johns’ personally owned original gold doubloon from 1717 was in the book and can be seen at the illustrations link above)
Click on the above to see it in more detail
The “Hampton Library” reprint – click on the above picture to find out more details