by Captain W. E. Johns



IX.                   ZAHAR SOLVES A MYSTERY  (Pages 110 - 122)


Biggles and Zahar reach El Moab.  Biggles finds that it is effectively in a shallow basin that the huts and tents of El Moab have been erected.  The site has obviously been selected on account of the trickle of water that runs through it.  A dam has been built, about twenty feet high, and behind this is a fairly extensive quantity of water.  Biggles and Zahar can smell the hashish.  In one area the land has been cleaned and tilled and a new crop planted.  The plants are gurra seedlings just a few inches high and about a foot apart. The area covers about half and acre.  Biggles needs to come up with a plan to destroy every single pant so that no gurra remains.  The thing to do is to destroy the water supply and the burning sun would then consume the seedlings.  All they need is explosive from the Royal Engineers' Depot at Aden.  Biggles and Zahar return to where they left Ginger only to find that he has disappeared.  "He would not go away because I told him to remain here, and he obeys my orders," Biggles tells Zahar.  Zahar works out that Ginger has been sick because he has eaten hashish.  He recognises the smell of it.  Zahar also sees footsteps into the desert and works out that the water hole contained hashish.  In the water has been washed the sheet on which the hashish was dried.  For two hours, Biggles and Zahar search for Ginger and then they are forced to give up.  Biggles decides to return in daylight with the plane.  Biggles and Zahar return to the old abandoned aerodrome at 137 where Biggles is surprised to be fired upon.