Biggles Makes Ends Meet by W. E. Johns was first published in 1957 by Hodder and Stoughton. It was the 57th Biggles book to be published. There have been two subsequent editions in 1957 and 1983. The events in the book take place in the late-1950s in and around the Nicobar Islands to the east of the Indian Ocean.
Biggles is asked to investigate a case of piracy on the high seas involving an aircraft. The facts do not seem to add up. Closer investigation reveals that it is not a case of piracy after all, but a bitter feud between two ruthless smuggling gangs. Biggles and his friends fly out to the Far East but find that their enemies are well-equipped and sophisticated, with agents and spies everywhere. But Biggles also has a secret weapon: Bertie, who again plays his role of the eccentric Englishman to perfection, enabling him to get right into the enemy's secret lair without being taken seriously.
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
- Bertie Lissie
Allies and FriendsEdit
- Carwell - ex-R.A.F., control officer at the airport in Jaffna. Tells Biggles there's "something in the atmosphere".
- Vandershon - Dutch, control officer at Kutaradja Airport, assist Biggles and gets stabbed for his efforts.
- Jurgens - Dutch, colleague of Vandershon, helps arrest one of the gang's agents at Kutaradja.
- General Cotter, U.S. Air Force - brings a detachment of U.S. marines to mop up the smuggling base.
- Mr Tidore
- Colonel Black - leader of the smuggling gang, also wanted by the U.S. authorities for fraud.
- The Count - the Colonel's chief lieutenant who manages operations in Jaffna
- Assorted agents and men of the smuggling gang
- Nakajima fighter - probably a Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa.
- Floridia - yacht belonging to the Colonel
- a Chinese junk - carried opium from China to the secret island
- an Arab dhow - carries opium and other contraband to points west
- Jaffna, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka)
- Jaffna Airport
- Tidore's residence
- Phuket Airport (called Puket), Thailand
- Kutaradja Airport, Kutaradja, Indonesia (Kutaradja is now known as Banda Aceh)
- Penang Airport, Penang, Federation of Malaya (now Federation of Malaysia)
- Kuala Lumpur Airport, Kuala Lumpur, Federation of Malaya (now Federation of Malaysia)
Other Research NotesEdit
1. London: Hodder & Stoughton, Feb 1957. 192 pages. Red boards with black titles on the spine and cover, and a vignette of diving plane and lugger on the front cover. Colour frontispiece and five colour plates by Stead. Book list before frontispiece lists to Biggles Takes Charge (same as on dustjacket rear). Price 8/6. Number 47 on spine. 19 cm.
- Dustjacket depicts a scene in Chapter 12 where Biggles is on the secret island and has just been discovered by a member of the smuggling gang. It is not clear if the figure giving chase is Biggles or Ginger.
2. London: Children's Book Club, . 192 pages. Green boards. 6 colour illustrations by Stead. 19 cm.
- Dustjacket is mainly yellow with a scene described towards the end of the book. Biggles, Algy and Bertie are being bombed by the Dakota belonging to the smuggling gang.
3. London: Armada Books, 1983. Paperback 192 pages, paperback. 18 cm.
- Cover art probably depicts a scene in Chapter 6. Biggles and Ginger have just left Jaffna and are flying by night towards Kutaradja. "With the ghastly glow of the luminous instruments reflected on his face he looked hardly human." One of the illustrations by Stead in the 1st ed. also depicts this scene.