In Biggles Works Overtime, Eustace Bowden was an ex-R.A.F. officer who later became a flying instructor at a flying club in Gatwick. While at Gatwick, Bowden departed on a flight on an Aircom Owlet aircraft, with a view to breaking the London-Cape Town solo light plane record.
When an aircraft was later founded crashed and burnt northeast of Atbara in Sudan, it was widely believed that the Owlet had crashed and the body in the wreck was Bowden's. Biggles was however both suspicious and sceptical as an experienced pilot would not have been so far off course, and in any case, Bowden had chosen an aircraft which could not have broken the record even if he had flown at full throttle throughout the flight.
Although the wreck was confirmed to be the Owlet, comparisons of the bowden's R.A.F. dental records with the body showed that the body was definitely someone else, a younger person. Moreover, this person had been murdered, having been shot in the head at close range. This murdered person was later thought to be Anthony Renford, a young student pilot in Bowden's club. Enquiries into Bowden's background revealed that he had resigned from the R.A.F., having been deeply in debt. During the time of his service, he had served for a time at Suakin and had once forced landed at El Bishra across the Red Sea and was a guest of the local sheikh, Sheikh Ibn Usfa for a few weeks.
As Suakin and El Bishra were in the vicinity of the crash, Biggles next proceeded to El Bishra where he learnt that the Sheikh had been murdered and his pearl collection stolen. Reasoning that the culprit was probably Bowden, Biggles theorized that Bowden would try to sell his pearls to raise some money. He therefore followed his trail, going next to a local Greek pearl dealer at Suakin named Janapoulos who confirmed that Bowden had tried to sell him some pearls but they were too expensive for him. Instead, he had given Bowden a note of introduction to Monsieur Corton, of Corton et Cie in Paris and he had watched and confirmed that Bowden had boarded a French boat, the Charbonniere bound for Marseilles.
Biggles next headed for Paris, determined to beat Bowden to his destination. With Marcel, he arranged a trap for Bowden at Cortons. The trap was sprung according to plan, but Bowden proved alert and pushed past the waiting policemen, dashing into the Paris streets outside where he was run down by a lorry.