by Captain W. E. Johns


9.     CHAPTER 9 – (UNTITLED)  (Pages 111 – 120) (84 – 90)



“Ginger and Minnie, having been dropped off by Bertie a little way short of the drive leading to the big house, walked on towards it.  Lotton Hall, as they could now see – or the upper part of it, was a fairly modern red brick mansion standing in extensive gardens, as do most such establishments.  There was a good range of outbuildings more or less adjacent which may have originally been stables and coach houses but were now probably garages.  No doubt they were also used as the kennels for the dogs that the owner of the place was said to breed”.  Just what Ginger and Minnie were going to do had not been decided, but they started by making a careful reconnaissance from the road.  One side of the house has the open and flat field seen earlier, the other had been subject to “what is commonly called landscape-gardening”.  A car comes out of the drive, neither the taxi nor the Cortina, but it turns the other way, so they can’t see who is driving.  They continue their walk and meet Police Constable Murray on this bike.  Stopping to chat with him, they are able to ascertain the driver of the car they just missed was Doctor Grey.  There had been an accident at Lotton Hall.  A friend of the family was cleaning a small-bore rifle and it went off.  It grazed his forehead and knocked him out.  The policeman says he will have to have a word with Mr. Zolton.  “Speaking from memory I don’t think he has a firearms certificate.  As you know we’re strict on that sort of thing nowadays”.  When the policeman has gone, Ginger climbs a low grass bank to look over the hedge and reports back to Minnie that four men are on their way to the spinney now.  They agree a plan that Ginger will go to see if Bertie needs any help and Minnie will go and explore the outside of the Hall for any clues that would help to confirm Biggles’s suspicions that in some way it was involved in the mail robbery.  Ginger sets off for the spinney.