Biggles and the Black Peril

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Ginger brings the energy and daring of youth to these and many of their later adventures. Between the wars Biggles and his friends mix their own escapades with ventures on behalf of British Secret Service. The changed setting forced Johns to update his material with references to new flying slang and aeroplanes, unsuccessfully at first but later with more realism. Biggles returns to his rooms in Mount Street, Mayfair and assumes a role as head of the new Special Air Police division with Algy, Ginger and Bertie making up the flying squad.

The group takes on criminals who have taken to the air, both at home in Britain and around the globe, as well as battling opponents behind the Iron Curtain. Johns continued writing Biggles short stories and novels up until his death in ; in all, nearly Biggles books were published. A final unfinished novel Biggles Does Some Homework shows Biggles at last preparing to retire and meeting his mixed-race replacement; Johns died while writing this novel. The 12 completed chapters were issued privately in Despite initial misgivings, the two soon become very close friends and eventually Algy adopts the role of Biggles' second in command.

In the books set in the s, Algy, Ginger and Smyth become Biggles' regular companions.

Biggles Black Peril by Johns

Algy starts off in the books as an irresponsible youngster but later on as he ages he becomes more sarcastic and pessimistic. Ginger his real forename is never revealed first appears in The Black Peril as a teenage runaway found hiding in a railway shed. Ginger left his father, a mineworker in Smettleworth, after an argument about Ginger's determination to become a pilot. Biggles immediately calls him Ginger because of his red hair. He proves his worth by rescuing Biggles from some enemy agents. He becomes one of the regular team and is often Biggles's chosen companion.

He is a talented mechanic and his speech is peppered with youthful slang and Americanisms , learned from the cinema. Flight Sergeant Smyth is Biggles' trusty mechanic and logistic organiser since they first worked together in Squadron during the First World War. Smyth, aside from being a mechanic in both world wars in Biggles's squadron, also joins them on some journeys to act as mechanic, like Cruise of the Condor and Goes to War.

An eccentric former racing driver, who flies with a hunting horn and a monocle , Bertie joins Biggles in the Air Police in most of the post-war stories.


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He is a brave and talented fighter, an expert shot and he has a lot of handy knowledge on a range of unusual subjects. A counterpoint to Lord Bertie, Tug is a boxer from the slums of London. His parents being killed in the war, Tug is out for revenge and can be a very risky person to have around. He scorns alcohol, much to the amusement of his fellow squadron members.

In return for Biggles setting him up for a job as a London cabby, he occasionally helps Biggles and his gang on their missions after the Second World War. Biggles' greatest opponent is the German intelligence officer Erich von Stalhein, [1] a member of an old Prussian family of soldiers. As the Cold War begins, Stalhein enters the services of the Communist bloc , until his new masters imprison him on the island of Sakhalin , from where Biggles helps him to escape in Biggles Buries a Hatchet. It is from Stalhein that Biggles learns that Janis see "Female characters" below survived the Second World War and was imprisoned in Czechoslovakia , from where Biggles rescues her and goes on to support her in England.


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  • First appears as a major later colonel in the British Intelligence service during the First World War, in which capacity he organises secret "special" missions in which Biggles takes part. In later books, he reappeared as an air commodore. In the Biggles stories, female characters appear infrequently. Despite brief affairs, Biggles and his chums remain steadfastly single. Biggles suffers a disappointment in the First World War, when he falls in love with German spy Marie Janis in the short story Affaire de Coeur set in Rather than being considered asexual or a repressed homosexual, Biggles' relationship with Janis suggests he is a romantic hero , "tragically loyal to the only woman he ever really loved".

    Stella Carstairs, the daughter of the man Biggles helps, turns up. A pilot herself, she is concerned for Biggles's safety and tells him more than once not to take on her father's request. In Biggles Flies Again , Algy becomes close to Consuelo, the daughter of the President of Bolivia, but is dissuaded from continuing the relationship by Biggles, " In the s, a popular Australian radio version of Biggles, The Air Adventures of Biggles , [9] was made under licence.

    Another female character appears in the form of Worrals Flight Officer Joan Worralson , eponymous heroine of a related series of books featuring this resourceful and "plucky" member of the WAAF. A further Johns creation, the commando Captain Lorrington "Gimlet" King , also features in a series of books that intersect with Biggles at times. The settings of the Biggles books are spread over more than 50 years; this produces a number of credibility difficulties, especially for older readers. Though Biggles and his friends age in the books, they do so much more slowly and inconsistently than is historically credible.

    For instance, Biggles with some of his First World War "chums" , who by now should be well into their forties, are still relatively junior squadron officers flying Spitfires during the Battle of Britain. In the stories set after the end of the Second World War Biggles and Algy, in particular, are, by the rules of arithmetic, passing into their fifties and early sixties, while retaining levels of activity and lifestyle more typical of people at least thirty years younger.

    Even within a group of stories set in the same time frame there are some chronological inconsistencies:.

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    It is doubtful whether a careful rearrangement of the various First World War stories could result in a coherent sequence. When W. Johns started the Biggles series, he can hardly have anticipated that he would be called on to write so many Biggles stories to short editorial deadlines , so that such inconsistencies are perhaps inevitable. The author succeeds reasonably well in chronicling developments in aviation technology, but social and cultural changes are much more difficult. The cultural and social world of Biggles whether in the s or some earlier period does not persist completely unchanged through the whole series — for instance, in an early book, the evidence points to an English nobleman as the perpetrator but Biggles dismisses this out of hand as the gentry would never commit a crime; in a later novel, one of the gentry is the villain.

    Biggles Black Peril by W E Johns

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    Product description The fifth advenutre featuring Biggles, Algy and Ginger. Sold Out We're sorry to say this item has now sold out. There are over , more items in stock. Start browsing with our suggestions below. Browse Oxfam's Online Shop Charity gifts. About this item.


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    The fifth advenutre featuring Biggles, Algy and Ginger. We offer a no quibble returns policy as follows:. Excellent collectable quality. There may be some rubbing or creasing on spine. All pages are intact and binding is tight. Some older books may have age yellowing, browning and foxing. Still very good collectable quality. Cover, pages and spine will have noticeable marks, blemishes and or creasing, including writing on front or back pages.

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    Endpapers may have been removed. Pages may be browned and foxed.

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