Biggles Sorts It Out by W. E. Johns was first published in 1967 by Brockhampton. It was the 88th Biggles book to be published. There have been seven subsequent editions in the English language, with the most recent being the 2001 paperback edition by House of Stratus. The events in the book take place in the mid-1960s in England and Namibia (then known as Southwest Africa).
Biggles is asked to find some stolen rubies belonging to Lord Langdon but he is immediately confronted by some mysteries. Lord Langdon does not want any publicity and doesn't seem to be telling the whole truth about the circumstances of the loss. Lady Caroline, who will inherit the jewels, seems complicit in the crime. In the meantime, the prime suspect, Richard Browning, has been acting openly, selling a jewel under his real name, and flying to Southwest Africa on a trail that is all too easy to follow. Biggles and Bertie follow Browning all the way to the Kalahari Desert and discover some surprises.
The book begins with a geographical note about the Kalahari Desert.
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 Police and Scotland YardEdit
- Air Commodore Raymond
- Bertie Lissie
- Sir Basil Goodall
- Lord Phillip de Langdon of Ferndale
- Lady Caroline Langdon
- Richard Browning
- Mrs Smith
- Bunny Hale
- Bill Carter
- Mick Connor
- Mr Fornier - jeweler with a shop in Bond Street
- Mr Grey - airport manager at Windhoek.
- Merlin - the aircraft first seen in Biggles' Special Case. See this article with discussion on whether it is a Swearingen Merlin II.
- Martin - Browning's twin engine aircraft which he bought from the Mealing Flying Club. Originally intended for charter work.
- de Havilland Tiger Moth - belonging to Mealing Flying Club
- Fornier's of Bond Street
- Village of Ferndale, fictitious village near Dorking, Surrey
- Ferndale Manor
- Ferndale Village
- Mealing Flying Club - near Dorking
- Nova Lisboa (now Huambo) Angola - both Browning and Biggles refuelled here on the way to Windhoek
- Southwest Africa (now Namibia)
- Casablanca, Morocco - Browning made a transit stop here
- Dakar, Senegal - Browning made a transit stop here
- Brazzaville, Republic of Congo - Browning made a transit stop here
Other Research NotesEdit
References to the pastEdit
- In Chapter 2, Biggles tells Lord Langdon that he had been to the Kalahari before. "Once. A long time ago." When? Possibly in The Unknown Diamonds.
- In Chapter 5, Biggles doesn't want to take Algy with him to Africa because he is still recovering from his crash in India. See Biggles in the Terai.
- In Chapter 16, while talking to Browning about the folly of trying to forget one's past through whiskey, Biggles says, "But who am I to talk? I tried it once, when I was young, and got shot down. Never again."
1. Leicester: Brockhampton Press, 1967. 184 pages, illustrations by Leslie Stead. Blue boards.
- Dust jacket largely white, letters in dark blue, with a monochrome image of Biggles,a spear tip, and inserts of a leopard on a chain and a hand holding a bullet. Spine with pictures of excavating tools and a horse (knight chesspiece) logo with a number 77.
- The first edition is actually quite rare. Even examples without a dustjacket can run up to about US$150.
2. Leicester: Knight Books, 1970. 158 pages, paperback. ISBN 0-340-10432-5.
- Cover art shows a Beagle Basset climbing out above a fort. The fort represents the Fort Schwarz in the story but what is the Beagle Basset doing? It could the illustrator was trying to depict the Merlin. Or he was trying to depict the Martin, which is also plausible. In this case, it shows Browning trying to take his Martin off from inside the fort. He almost makes it but one of his propellers has been damaged by Connor's gun and the Martin will crash shortly.
3. Leicester: Knight Books, 1972. 2nd impression. Same cover with the Beagle Basset. ISBN 0-340-10432-5.
4. Leicester: Knight Books, 1974. 3rd impression reprint. New cover. ISBN 0-340-10432-5.
- New cover art showing Biggles and Bertie examining the wreckage of the Martin. Their Merlin is in the background but is a tail-wheeler.
5. Leicester: Knight Books, 1976. 4th impression. ISBN 0-340-10432-5.
6. Leicester: Knight Books, 1979. ISBN 10: 0-340-10432-5 ISBN 13: 9780340104323.
7. Leicester: Knight Books, 1981. 6th impression. ISBN 10: 0-340-10432-5 ISBN 13: 9780340104323.
8. Thirsk: House of Stratus, 2002. Paperback. ISBN 10: 0-7551-0727-6 ISBN 13: 9780755107278