by Captain W. E. Johns


First published June 1952


List of Other “Biggles” Books by Captain W. E. Johns – Page 2 – featuring 14 books.  There is also a list of Worrals Books, featuring 5 books and reference to ‘A collection of short stories’ Comrades in Arms


TITLE PAGE – Page 3 – This page has a small vignette of a man, presumably Biggles, on a telephone




ILLUSTRATIONS – Page 7 – (eight illustrations by Stead between pages 32 and 33, between pages 64 and 65, between pages 96 and 97 and between pages 128 and 129)



I.                      GINGER BRINGS NEWS  (Pages 1 – 10)


Air-Constable “Ginger” Hebblethwaite bursts into Air Police Headquarters at Scotland Yard.  “Hold on to your seats,” he said tersely.  “You’re going to take a bump”.  Ginger tells Biggles, Algy and Bertie that he has just seen Erich von Stalhein outside Victoria Station.  He saw him go into the Grosvenor Hotel.  Algy and Bertie speculate he must be spying.  Biggles says “Don’t forget that when I first collided with von Stalhein (referring to the events of Biggles Flies East, although we are not told that) I was a spy in his country, although that was not from choice.  I acted under orders.  But I was still a spy, although I would have called myself a soldier.  So was von Stalhein a soldier in the first place.  Because he was efficient, he was seconded to the Wilhelmstrasse for top counter-espionage work.  He suspected me from the start.  Had he been given a free hand I wouldn’t be here now.  As I said a moment ago, what has happened to him since was largely the result of Germany losing the war.  The shock of that knocked him off the rails, and he’s never got on them again.  He’s been fighting a sort of one-man war against this country ever since”.  “For heaven’s sake!” cried Algy indignantly.  “Are you making excuses for him?”  Biggles shrugs “Up to a point”.  Biggles says the proper course would be to tip off M.I.5 that von Stalhein is here, but he would prefer to find out what he is up to before he puts the matter on official record.  He determines not even to tell the Air Commodore as he could only act through official channels “and that would cramp our actions”.  Biggles asks Inspector Gaskin of C Department to come and see him and explains the situation to him.  Von Stalhein knows all of Biggles team so they can’t follow him.  The Inspector agrees to place von Stalhein under surveillance for twenty-four hours.  When the Inspector reports back the following day, he is able to say that, following his enquiries, von Stalhein is claiming to be either an American citizen, born in New York or a Czech, born in Prague.  He has passports in both nationalities in the name of Jan Stalek.  He has been here four months after coming from New York.  According to his papers he’s a salesman for an American firm of general merchants.  Yesterday, von Stalhein went to a café called ‘Stand Easy’ and talked with a soldier, Guardsman Ian Ross, aged eighteen, for about twenty minutes.  Biggles decides to go to the Guardsman’s barracks at Caterham in the morning and speak with his adjutant with a view to being able “to get a slant on this lad Ross without alarming anybody” as he doesn’t want von Stalhein alerted to their interest in his activities.