In The Case of the Obliging Tourist, Alice Hall was an ex W.A.A.F. who used to work in Biggles' squadron orderly room. After the war, she got a job with Parkes, a furnishing firm in Holborn. At a chance meeting with Biggles and Ginger, she told them about her recent holiday in Nice. There, while staying at the Hotel Ruhl, she had met a stranger who had asked her to post a parcel for him on her return to England. As a reward, the stranger gave her a handbag for which she paid 17 shillings duty.
Alice had been instructed to post the parcel to one Mary Jones care of one Mr Cermak. Visiting the address, Biggles found that Cermak ran a tobacco shop which also served as an accomodation address. Biggles met Mary Jones and later identified her as the Contessa di Malliori. From a detailed description Alice provided of the stranger in Nice, Biggles identified him as a Sicilian named Carlo Antonio Barrosa. Biggles was angry that decent and honest girls like Alice were being duped by this smuggling racket and set out to destroy it.