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In The Case of the Haunted Island, Captain David MacDonald was the master of the freighter Belinda which was believed lost in a hurricane in 1952. In reality, the ship had been thrown over a reef and landed on the coral atoll of Oto-Via. Captain MacDonald survived the shipwreck and lived for a few months on board the Belinda, feeding on the canned goods in his cargo. According to Ah Song, the Chinese owner of the general store on Oto-Via, MacDonald was belligerent and kept people off the ship with his revolver. The islanders thought he was a "mad Englishman" but Ah Song believed that, in reality, MacDonald was drunk most of the time.

Later Captain Nathaniel Clark of the Mahina called at Oto-Via. Clark murdered MacDonald and stole the Belinda's cargo and marine instruments. Biggles and Marcel discovered the body of MacDonald on board the Belinda and found a piece of pipe which was believed to be the murder weapon. Clark's fingerprints were found on the pipe. A gold watch inscribed with MacDonald's name was also found in Clark's possession. These pieces of evidence eventually helped to convict Clark of MacDonald's murder.

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