In Murder by Thirst, Mr Farlow was an elderly English man who decided to spent his retirement living out an ambition to prospect for gold. He had gone to Western Australia and had then advertised for a partner, with the idea of tying up with someone who knew the practical side of prospecting while he supplied the capital.
Unfortunately, Farlow chose Black Jack Barnes, an ex-convict with a bad reputation, for his partner. By the time people heard about this and thought of warning Farlow, the two had departed into the Western Australian desert. The pair was posted missing after some weeks had past with no sign of them. An extensive air search was conducted which found their abandoned jeep bogged down in soft mud in desert country southwest of the Musgrave Ranges. But of Farlow and Barnes there was no sign.
It was not until some weeks later, when music students John Murray and Sally Dunn spotted Barnes on their plane traveling from Darwin to London and reported this to Biggles that the truth emerged. Biggles, following up on their report, found that Barnes had come to London to tie up with the Antipodes Mining Corporation. He had returned to Western Australia with a mining engineer and surveyor in a plane belonging to the company. Following on their trail in cooperation with the Australian police, Biggles subsequently located the body of Farlow in a clump of mulga. In Farlow's pocket was a letter he had written describing what happened. According to Farlow, he and Barnes had found a rich vein of gold. Driving back to register their claim, Barnes had, either by design or accident, stuck the jeep in deep mud. They started walking but on the first night out, while Farlow had been asleep, Barnes had abandoned him, taking all the remaining water. With nothing left to do, Farlow had written the note and then crept into the shade of the mulga bushes to die. Farlow however did not die in vain. His note led to Barnes being arrested by the Australian police for an act which was tantamount to murder.