In Biggles in the Terai, Holman Larta was a member, and probably the organiser of the gang which was smuggling gold into India. A wealthy Eurasian businessman with business interests from, it is said, Bombay to Calcutta, Larta cut the impression of one of those cosmopolitan business types, according to Biggles. "You'll find them wherever there's money," he told Bertie. "The world is their oyster." Always well-dressed, with a diamond ring on his finger, speaking English without a trace of accent, Larta frequently passed through Shara and was generous with his tips. He owned a Daimler as well as his private aeroplane, a de Havilland Dragon Rapide. At the same time, he was a ruthless and formidable adversary for Algy and later, Biggles and Bertie.
Larta met Algy soon after his arrival in Shara and almost immediately tried to poison Algy by sending up a bottle of Scotch. Algy pour his peg into a plant (which soon died) but a houseboy who sneak a drink was promptly ill and had to be sent to hospital. Larta might well have directed the sabotage of Algy's Hawker Hunter which resulted in him crashing into the terai.
When Biggles arrived with Bertie to look for Algy, Larta imposed himself on them at the guest house and tried to find out more about their business but without introducing himself. This was something which, according to Biggles, no self-respecting person would do. Earlier, Biggles had heard from Ram Singh about Algy asking whether he had ever seen a man with a wooden leg. Sensing that Larta was "a phoney", Biggles edged neared to Larta and tapped his leg and discovered that he did in fact have a prosthetic leg. This, as Mr Kama Akbar told them later, was the result of an accident. Larta's prosthetic was a modern one, a hollow structure made of steel tube and canvas.
It is probable that Larta was the one who arranged for an assassin to murder Biggles on the first night after he and Bertie arrived in Shara. This failed because Biggles and Bertie had taken the precaution of moving to a different room. When Biggles and Bertie appeared for breakfast in the morning, the waiter at the rest house, obviously in the pay of the gang, must have called Larta, who came hurrying to see what had gone wrong. Biggles and Bertie pretended that nothing unusual had happened, preferring to keep Larta guessing.
Larta must also have directed Bula Din, Akbar's secretary, to plant a snake in Biggles' Auster aircraft. This also failed because Biggles had arranged for Ram Singh to sleep in the plane and keep watch.
Later, when Biggles had found Algy, Algy described Larta's role in the smuggling operation. The gold was apparently brought in from a foreign country by an unknown aircraft and dumped at a jungle airstrip in the Terai. Larta, whose business interests justified flying about in his Dragon Rapide, would land shortly after to pick up the gold, transferring it into his hollow prosthetic leg. He would then fly to Shara and perhaps continue the rest of the journey by road, confident that no customs officer would ever ask to examine his prosthetic leg.
Towards the end of the book, Larta decided to make one more gold run before the monsoon. Unfortunately for him, this coincided with the Indian customs authorities who wanted to raid the airport at Shara based on the evidence submitted by Algy and Biggles. Larta picked up the gold at the jungle airstrip. Arriving at Shara in his Dragon Rapide, he was arrested together with his pilot and Bula Din. The case against him must have been overwhelming since the gold was found inside his false leg and it can be assumed that he ended up with a long prison term.