Biggles in the Terai
|Published||February 1966 - Brockhampton Press [H/B]|
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Algy, working with the Indian Security Police to assist them in a gold smuggling racket, has disappeared. Flying to Northern India, Biggles, taking Bertie with him, lands at Shara, just below Nepal, where a 12 mile strip of Jungle all along the Southern border of Nepal called the Terai, forms a perfect boundary with India. Assisted by an Indian mechanic called Ram Singh, Biggles and Bertie commence looking for Algy. They know he had borrowed an Indian Air Force Hunter aircraft from Calcutta and was flying in that when he disappeared. Approached by a sinister stranger with a wooden leg, called Holman Larta, Biggles is suspicious of his offers of help. Later an attempt is made to murder both Biggles and Bertie while they are asleep in their beds. Ram Singh is asked to sleep in Biggles and Bertie's plane, in order to protect it from sabotage during the night. This is a wise precaution because a man named Bula Din attempts to place a deadly snake in their plane but is stopped when Ram raises the alarm. Constant methodical aerial searching of the Terai jungle has revealed a hidden airstrip. Biggles lands and Bertie flies the plane away, leaving Biggles to investigate. The next day a mysterious plane tries to land only to be shot at by a hidden gunman. The plane flies away and the gunman disappears. Bertie returns and his plane is hidden. The mystery plane later returns only to be scared off by gunfire from the mysterious gunman again. This time Biggles sneaks up on the gunman and finds he is Subahdar Mahomad Khan. Khan asks if he is addressing Captain Bigglesworth and says that he is with Mr. Algy Lacey! Algy has crashed in the jungle a month ago and suffered a double fracture to the leg but Khan has found him and been looking after him. Meeting up with Algy, he tells Biggles and Bertie that the airstrip is being used by the gold smugglers as a dropping off point. Holman Larta is behind it and hides the gold in his wooden leg to get through customs. Unable to take Algy with him at this stage, Biggles and Bertie return to Shara and then have to return to fetch Algy before the monsoon breaks. Larta, Din and the other gold smugglers are all arrested. The dust cover shows two aircraft over the outline of a vulture sitting in a tree.