Biggles Hunts Big Game by W. E. Johns was first published in 1948 by Hodder and Stoughton. There have been 9 subsequent editions in the English language, with the most recent being the 1983 Armada paperback edition. The events in the book take place just after World War 2 in Africa.
There is a powerful international gang of counterfeiters at work, producing near-perfect forgeries of currency notes and postage stamps and causing havoc in the economies of many countries in Europe. Air Commodore Raymond is convinced that aircraft are involved and asks Biggles to investigate. However the enemy is well-informed and makes the first move to try to buy Biggles off just hours after Biggles is assigned to the case. Biggles' attention is drawn to an airline, Stellar Skyways, which organises expensive, ultra luxurious, big game hunting holidays. The trail takes Biggles and his friends to a remote hunting lodge in Central Africa. Biggles wins through, with friends old and new, ranging from his old squadron mate now taxi driver Tug Carrington to an Egyptian burglar.
Note: The sections below contain spoilers. In particular, the plot subpage (click here) has an extended summary of the narrative in the book
The Special Air PoliceEdit
- Air Commodore Raymond
- Algy Lacey
- Ginger Hebblethwaite
- Bertie Lissie
Friends and alliesEdit
- Tug Carrington
- Squadron Leader Crane
- Johnny Crisp
- Crasher Doyle
- Jimmy Carter
- Major Grattan
- Abdullah ibn Abu
- Air Marshal Laggan
- Mount Street
- Delmar, Hertfordshire
- Beverley, hotel near King's Cross Station
- Regency Hotel, Piccadilly
- International Pilots' Club, the Laurels, Upper Purley Walk, near Croydon.
After Biggles burns the £1000 pound note given to him by Robinson, he tells Algy, Ginger and Bertie that he had memorized the serial number and intended to get a replacement from the Bank of England. He intended to donate the sum to "St. Dunstan's". St. Dunstan's refers to the charity founded in 1915 to assist veterans who had lost their sight in service. The charity was at one time based at St. Dunstan's Lodge in Regent's Park, hence the name. It is today known as "Blind Veterans U.K.".
References to the pastEdit
- Wilks and Johnny Crisp were colleagues in the past. Both have brief mentions here. Wilks was running a cargo airline and Crisp had just quit flying for Stellar Skyways.
- Major Grattan tells Biggles he has heard of his work in the "Abyssinian affair", meaning the events in Sergeant Bigglesworth C.I.D.
- It is easy to forget how large a continent Africa is. Johns locates Kudinga very precisely, 1800 miles from Cairo. His geographical details are accurate but the great distances place extraordinary demands on the aircraft types involved. The Parkington Pacemaker must have exceptional performance to do what it did which probably explains why it was a fictional type. It is almost impossible for the Bristol Bombays to get to Kudinga when they did. See the respective articles on these two aircraft types for details.
(see also table at Timeline of the Biggles Stories)
- Colonel Dupray was from the G.H.Q. Indian Army. India became independent on 15 August 1947. Many British officers were employed by both the governments of Indian and Pakistan in their respective armies in the years following independence. However, the months following independence were attended by severe internal unrest and inter-racial strife and also the outbreak of the First Indo-Pakistan War. It would have been extremely unlikely for a G.H.Q. officer to be granted a month's leave to go big-game hunting at that time. Therefore a more plausible scenario is that Dupray is a member of the British Indian Army, which existed before 15 August 1947, and the events in the book took place in early 1947, or late 1946, before Indian independence.
- In the last chapter, Biggles mentions that it is winter in London and this matches the point above, giving a date range of about November 1946 to March 1947.
- Tug Carrington was mentioned as age 25 in the book. If this is 1947, then he would have been 18 in 1940 during the events of Spitfire Parade.