By Captain W. E. Johns



XIV.                        THE TRAP  (Pages 138 - 150)


Half an hour later, Biggles returns to Jangpur.  He pretends to be unsteady and ill and says that his engine is giving trouble.  Watching airmen and native porters think he is drunk.  "Tight as an owl" says one.  An ambulance takes Biggles to sleeping accommodation that he had previously arranged.  Biggles appears to fall asleep.  Even Bargent says "I'd swear he was three sheets in the wind".  As soon as he is alone, Biggles gets up and opens his window and then slips his automatic pistol into his pocket and waits on the bed pretending to be asleep.  Time passes.  Then a native in a loin cloth creeps into the room through the window and puts a rag over Biggles lips and nostrils.  Biggles grabs the native but he is covered in oil and Biggles can't get a grip.  The man stabs Biggles in the arm in the struggle and then gets out the window and Biggles has to shoot him.  Frayle arrives and sees Biggles is wounded.  "It's only a scratch" says Biggles.  "Send for the M.O., Frayle, to have a look at that fellow outside.  Tell him to bring his needle and cotton - my arm may need a stitch".  The man outside is identified as Kong Po, a dhobi-wallah (laundryman) and he's dead.  "He's Chinese according to his station identity card".  Alter it to Japanese," says Biggles.  Biggles explains the man came to the room to strangle him and he explains how Sergeant Gray was murdered in precisely the same circumstances and for the same reason.  "Some of your fellows thought I was drunk.  Only the spy, who was pretty certain to investigate, would know the truth - or what he thought was the truth.  That I had been drugged.  It was up to him to see that I didn't come round, so he came to do me in.  I was waiting, with the result that he got it, not me".  Biggles asks Frayle how he came to employ Kong Po.  Frayle says he was telephoned by a wealthy merchant:  A man called Larapindi.  Biggles searches Kong Po's room and finds a box of chocolate and chewing-gum from Charneys of London.  In Kong Po's loin-cloth is found a thousand rupees.  "Too much for an honest dhobi-wallah" says Biggles.  Despite his injury, Biggles flies back to Dum Dum ("I don't fly with my left hand").  Biggles sees Raymond and gives him the rupees and asks if he can find out which bank issued the notes, and to whom.  Algy reports that a man calling himself Lal Din's brother turned up and Algy followed him to the warehouse of Tahil and Larapindi.  Raymond confirms the rupees were issued to the same firm.  Algy is instructed to get a light truck.  Biggles is going to take the members of 666 Squadron with him to break into the warehouse.  But first he is going to call in at the home of Mr. Larapindi.