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In Biggles Sorts It Out, Mr Fornier was the owner of "Forniers", a jeweller with premises on Bond Street. Lord Phillip de Langdon had seen one of his rubies being offered for sale in Fornier's shop window, leading Langdon to discover its theft and asking for a discreet Scotland Yard investigation. When approached by Biggles, Fornier told him that the ruby had been sold by a man named Browning. Fornier had taken the usual precautions--he had asked the man to leave the jewel with him while he valued it. During this time he had checked against lists of stolen property and he had also spoken personally to Inspector Gaskin and confirmed that there had been no report of the jewel being stolen or lost. Fornier then offered Browning four thousand pounds for the ruby and paid for it by bank draft payable to bearer, which Browning subsequently cashed. According to Fornier, Browning had been quite frank and had said that he was acting on behalf of a lady who wished to remain anonymous because she did not want it known that she was forced to sell her jewels to meet financial obligations. As this was quite common, Fornier saw nothing strange about it. Shown a photograph of Richard Browning, Fornier readily identified him as the man who sold the ruby.

The information Fornier gave to Biggles proved puzzling at that time--why should a thief act so openly, using his real name, and abiding by all the usual procedures for the sale of jewelry? Biggles would have to follow Browning's very obvious trail all the way to South West Africa before finding out.

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