BIGGLES FOLLOWS ON
by Captain W. E. Johns
VI. MONEY TALKS (Pages 70 – 81)
Biggles thinks they have an hour before all hotels are contacted to find out where they were staying. Biggles wants to talk with Stresser. He thinks that he can be bribed to tell what he knows. Biggles and Ginger get a taxi back to their hotel. Going to Stresser’s room, Biggles asks him if he could use some money and offers him a thousand West Marks. Stresser asks who they are. Biggles tells him they are British Intelligence Agents. Stresser asks what do they want to know and he is willing to answer Biggles’ questions. Ross is on his way to Korea – “Well, not exactly Korea. Actually, its Manchuria. But it’s to do with the Korean war”. The place is called Kratsen. Stresser has told Ross he is off to Kratsen in Poland. Ross is going to be taken to the Soviet Zone of Berlin first, as he wants to see a friend of his called Macdonald. His friend is in Berlin, broadcasting propaganda. At Kratsen, Ross will broadcast to the United Nations Forces in Korea. Biggles asks where Ross will stay in Berlin and he is told it will be the Hotel Prinz Karl, in the Zindenplatzer. Biggles gives Stresser the money and advises him to get out of the country. “Try to double-cross me and I’ll remember it if we ever meet again”. Biggles and Ginger leave the hotel. Five minutes later, looking back from the end of the road, they see the police arrive. “I’ve an idea Stresser has left it a bit late,” Ginger tells Biggles. “If the police find that money on him, he’s had it”. Biggles tells Ginger to follow behind him at a distance as the police will be looking for two men. They trapse through the streets until Biggles reaches a shop with the name Johann Smasrik. A bell clanged as Biggles opens the door. (“A bell clanged” – is the first illustration between pages 96 and 97). The shop is “something between a jobbing tailor’s and a second-hand clothes store”. Biggles speaks in German and uses a coded phrase. The man asks if they are English and then speaks English to them in a cultured voice without any trace of accent. Biggles explains that they were recognised at the airport and they are now on the run from the security police. They need a place to lie low until they can arrangements to get out of the country. The man, who says his name is Smith, takes them to an attic room that is filled with lumber, cases, boxes, broken chairs, old clothes, curtains and pieces of carpet. Smith explains that he doesn’t think he is under suspicion, but if he is, the police may come and search his shop when looking for any fugitives. He has a foot operated buzzer down in the shop. If security police should come, it will sound a buzzer hidden in one of the boxes and they can use a table to get out via the skylight. Hidden in the nearest chimney-pot is twenty foot of rope which will enable them to descend to the yard of a nearby scrap metal merchant and from there, get out into the street. Smith takes their bags to put them in a safe place.