Biggles Takes a Hand by W. E. Johns was first published in 1963 by Hodder & Stoughton. Since then there have been at least 4 subsequent editions. This is a typical Cold War story. The events take place around the early-1960s in Britain and Berlin.


Biggles receives an anonymous note inviting him to a lunch in a Kensington restaurant. As Bertie said, "You can't come to much harm in Kensington." Biggles accepts the invitation and it turns out to be von Stalhein warning him that a trio of professional assassins, usually employed by the authorities behind the Iron Curtain, have arrived in Britain. But who are they targeting?


Note: The sections below contain spoilers. In particular, the plot subpage (click here) contains an extended summary of the narrative in the book


The Special Air PoliceEdit

  • Air Commodore Raymond
  • Biggles
  • Algy
  • Ginger
  • Bertie Lissie



  • Vickers Viscount - Biggles and Ginger took the scheduled BEA Viscount service between London and West Berlin.



Research NotesEdit

References to the pastEdit

  • Von Stalhein suggests the at it was Karkoff's team which had been assigned to kill Biggles in Biggles Buries a Hatchet. This means they were probably also responsible for the stabbing of Fritz Lowenhardt. Von Stalhein had been asked to help them but he refused and this has resulted in him being arrested, tried for treason and sent to Sakhalin.


  • According to von Stalhein in Chapter 3, Hans Roth was "purged" by East German authorities three weeks before the events in the book. Frau Roth and her two children escaped into West Berlin very shortly thereafter.
  • Anna explains in Chapter 5: "This, you must understand, was before the concrete walls were built." The concrete walls (what would later become the "Berlin Wall") were put up very suddenly after 13 August 1961. After this, the border was closed and escape to West Berlin became almost impossible.
    • If the statements of von Stalhein and Anna are to be consistent, then the purge ("before the concrete walls") must have taken place just before 13 August. Three weeks later, when Anna met Biggles, the walls had already gone up and that's why she spoke of their erection in the past tense.



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