Biggles Makes Ends Meet by W. E. Johns was first published in 1957 by Hodder and Stoughton. It was the 57th Biggles book to be published. There have been two subsequent editions in 1957 and 1983. The events in the book take place in the late-1950s in and around the Nicobar Islands to the east of the Indian Ocean.


Biggles is asked to investigate a case of piracy on the high seas involving an aircraft. The facts do not seem to add up. Closer investigation reveals that it is not a case of piracy after all, but a bitter feud between two ruthless smuggling gangs. Biggles and his friends fly out to the Far East but find that their enemies are well-equipped and sophisticated, with agents and spies everywhere. But Biggles also has a secret weapon: Bertie, who again plays his role of the eccentric Englishman to perfection, enabling him to get right into the enemy's secret lair without being taken seriously.


Note: The sections below contain spoilers. In particular, the plot subpage (click here) has an extended summary of the narrative in the book


The Special Air PoliceEdit

  • Air Commodore Raymond
  • Biggles
  • Algy
  • Ginger
  • Bertie Lissie

Allies and FriendsEdit

  • Carwell - ex-R.A.F., control officer at the airport in Jaffna. Tells Biggles there's "something in the atmosphere".
  • Vandershon - Dutch, control officer at Kutaradja Airport, assist Biggles and gets stabbed for his efforts.
  • Jurgens - Dutch, colleague of Vandershon, helps arrest one of the gang's agents at Kutaradja.
  • General Cotter, U.S. Air Force - brings a detachment of U.S. marines to mop up the smuggling base.


  • Assorted agents and men of the smuggling gang



  • Floridia - yacht belonging to the Colonel
  • a Chinese junk - carried opium from China to the secret island
  • an Arab dhow - carries opium and other contraband to points west



  • Singapore


Other Research NotesEdit

  • Chronology.


Biggles Makes Ends Meet-Hodder and Stoughton 1957

The 1st ed. cover depicts an action scene to be sure but hardly the most evocative.

1. London: Hodder & Stoughton, Feb 1957. 192 pages. Red boards with black titles on the spine and cover, and a vignette of diving plane and lugger on the front cover. Colour frontispiece and five colour plates by Stead. Book list before frontispiece lists to Biggles Takes Charge (same as on dustjacket rear). Price 8/6. Number 47 on spine. 19 cm.[1]

  • Dustjacket depicts a scene in Chapter 12 where Biggles is on the secret island and has just been discovered by a member of the smuggling gang. It is not clear if the figure giving chase is Biggles or Ginger.

Biggles makes ends meet-cbc-1957

This Children's Book Club edition cover again goes for action.

2. London: Children's Book Club, [1957]. 192 pages. Green boards. 6 colour illustrations by Stead. 19 cm.

  • Dustjacket is mainly yellow with a scene described towards the end of the book. Biggles, Algy and Bertie are being bombed by the Dakota belonging to the smuggling gang.

Biggles makes ends meet-1983

The 1983 Armada cover tries for a more atmospheric effect but it is not clear that it succeeds.

3. London: Armada Books, 1983. Paperback 192 pages, paperback. 18 cm.

  • Cover art probably depicts a scene in Chapter 6. Biggles and Ginger have just left Jaffna and are flying by night towards Kutaradja. "With the ghastly glow of the luminous instruments reflected on his face he looked hardly human." One of the illustrations by Stead in the 1st ed. also depicts this scene.


  1. British Library Catalogue UIN BLL01001883565