BIGGLES 'FAILS TO RETURN'

 

A Biggles adventure

 

by Captain W. E. Johns

 

Published in October 1943

 

 

CONTENTS Page 5

 

ILLUSTRATIONS Page 6

 

I. WHERE IS BIGGLES? (Pages 7 - 22)

 

Biggles has disappeared (so it is Algy who we are introduced to in the opening line of the book as "Flight Lieutenant Algy Lacey, D.F.C.". The first mention of Biggles is when Algy says "I'm very much afraid that something serious has happened to Biggles"). Last Thursday week Biggles had a telephone call from the Air Ministry and on the Friday said he was taking the week-end off, which was a rare surprise. Ginger and Flight Lieutenant Lord "Bertie" Lissie are told by Algy that he has been promoted to Squadron Leader, which must mean that Biggles isn't coming back. His three concerned friends go off to see Air Commodore Raymond of Intelligence to try and find out more details. Raymond tells them, in the strictest confidence, as much as he knows. A certain Princess has escaped from Mussolini's Italy to Monaco. Here she stayed with a wealthy Italian friend at the Villa Valdora and got word through to the British and Biggles went to pick her up. A Monegasque serving with the free French called Henri Ducoste dropped him by parachute but Biggles walked into a trap as the Italian friend had betrayed the Princess, presumably for the big reward on offer. Somehow Biggles got out the trap, rescued the Princess from prison and raced towards a meeting with Ducoste at an agreed landing ground. Biggles holds off the pursuing Italians with his pistol as the Princess gets on board (and this is the picture on the cover of the book). Biggles falls as he dashes for the plane, presumably shot, and Ducoste, who has seen the Princess in the cabin of the plane, is forced to take off. When he gets back to England, she is not onboard! The cabin door is open. Has she fallen out during the flight? No one knows. "It is my opinion that Biggles is dead" asserted the Air Commodore. However, Algy, Ginger and Bertie are not having that and ask for permission to go and find him. "Think of a reasonable scheme and I'll consider it". Algy, Ginger and Bertie go for lunch to formulate such a plan and will return in the afternoon.