Biggles Books

This is a list of all the Biggles books available, which I have reviewed and rated.


If you're interested in where Biggles travels have taken him just click on the graphic below. It's a map that shows all Biggles books and where they are set. It also shows all short story locations that take place outside of England.


Be sure to click on it to enlarge it to it's full size. It will take up the entire window. 

Biggles Books Locations map
Biggles Books Locations map


This is a list of all Biggles books in the order in which they were meant to have occurred not by date of publication:

The Boy Biggles
* * *

Entertaining enough accounts of Biggles as a child in India, usually involving some wild or deranged animal. Biggles is meant to be 12 years old in this book, but he comes across as more of an adult than a preteen, especially ordering other people around, including adults.


I did have to question the parenting of Biggles’ father though. He allows Biggles to go hunting  a man-eating tiger with Capt Lovell who has a heart problem. Biggles risks his life to get the guy his heart pills after he has a heart attack, coming close to be dined on by a tiger and a few chapter’s later, his dad is once again putting Biggles in the care of the Capt, this time to hunt a bear. HelLOOOO?  Wasn’t the first time enough to know that Capt Lovell is probably not the best guy to rely upon?


1968 (92)


Short Stories

Biggles Goes to School


Short stories. Boring. Probably just slung together quickly with no motivation from Johns except to meet the demand of readers wanting to know what Biggles was like at school.


1951 (39)


Short Stories

Biggles Learns to Fly

* *

Well written, but pretty formulaic short stories (taken from The Modern Boy magazine)  where Biggles starts out as a pilot, learns by some rookie mistakes and eventually becomes an experienced war pilot.


There are a couple of gems in this one though: "Ready for the Show" (The Show) and "Share this amongst you" (Dirty Work). Johns does a great job to show the stress and the horrors of war flying and how the pilots can become numb to the dangers.


1935 (5)


Short Stories

Biggles in France

* * * * *

Short stories involving Biggles at 266 squadron. We see him gain further experience and even get promoted to Captain despite making an ass of himself on a couple of occasions. We also see a budding rivalry between Biggles and Wilks of 287 squadron.


One complaint I have… and I have this complaint in every Biggles book I read, is the “author intrusion”, especially when Johns forecasts events before they happen and then proceeds to tell the story leading up to it. Eg, “He was going to regret his decision”… or “little did he know that a short while from now he would be bla bla bla”. Thus it takes away a lot of the anticipation, because you immediately know what’s ultimately going to happen.  One specific example in this set of stories where he completely ruins the experience for the reader is in “Out for Records”, where Johns writes “The occasion on which he (Biggles) scored four successes was…” and then proceeds to tell the story of how he shot down four enemy aircrafts in one day.  It’s like he’s just told us the end of the movie before we’ve watched it!


1935 (6)


Short Stories


With Algy.

Biggles of 266

Short Stories originally published in 1932. All these stories appear in "Biggles in France" 


1956 (54)


Short Stories

Biggles Flies East

* * *

Contains plenty of flying action.


Biggles, after being mistaken for someone else, ends up on a mission as a double agent in the Middle East where he meets his future nemesis Von Stalhein for the first time. 


Algy only makes cameo appearances.

1935 (7)


First appearance
of Von Stalhein.


Set in Israel

Biggles of the Camel Squadron

* * * * *

Classic Short stories of Biggles in 266 Squadron. Biggles is now a senior member of the squadron. We are also introduced to the Professor, an eccentric young Brit with a thing for Mathematics.


I do have a few questions thought after reading this lot of stories...


Why is it that Biggles insists the hun have little imagination, but yet when they do come up with something imaginative he considers it  “Devilment”?


Why is it when Biggles and his squad destroy secret German weapons (which worked really well) that the Germans never use any more of the same weapons again?


Why does Biggles godfather call him Biggles?


1934 (3)


Short Stories


With Algy

Biggles - The Rescue Flight

* *

Biggles plays a secondary role in this story about a couple of boys (Thirty & Rip) who manage to con their way into the RAF to try to rescue Thirty's older brother who was shot down and possibly captured by the Hun.


Biggles and Algy are the only ones who finds out who they are. I'm very disappointed in Biggles here. Even though he himself joined the RAF under-aged and even though he was no a stickler for the rules back in WWI HE really seems to have blatant disregard for the rules and the safety of the two boys in this one. You also have to suspend disbelief that Thirty and Rip can get away with pretending to be officers for so long without being discovered by those higher up. 


The initial rescue mission is over and done with in about 50 pages. Johns, not one for sentimentality in any of his Biggles books doesn't even include a poignant moment where the two brothers reunite. After that we get basically some interlinked short stories, (of no great caliber) mostly revolving around rescuing other escaped officers.


1939 (16)


With Algy

Biggles, Air Ace

Short stories already published in annuals and periodicals but not in actual book from. Minimal copies published

1999 (98)


Short Stories


The Camels are Coming

* * * * *

Some great short stories of Biggles in WW1. Starts from his early days and goes right through to the end of the war. This lines up alongside other Biggles books with WW1 short stories.


The highlights are definitely the first two Algy stories and also the tragic love story where Biggles meets his only ever love: Marie Janis.

1932 (1)


Short Stories


with Algy.


Biggles - Pioneer Air Fighter

Short stories, all of which are included in "The Camels are Coming" and "Biggles of the Camel Squadron"

1954 (51)


Short Stories


The Cruise of the Condor

* * *

Biggles joins Algy, Smyth and his uncle Dickpa to travel to Brazil in search of Incan treasure.


Pretty much action all the way through, without the longwinded introductions and info dumps that come at the beginning of most Biggles books, although the action is pretty much standard of boy’s books set in the Amazon.

1933 (2)


With Algy & Smyth.


Set in Brazil.


Biggles Flies Again


Short stories, which take Biggles and Algy from South America, to the Pacific, through the Orient, to Africa and then finally home to the UK.


Sadly, these short stories are only mildly interesting. Very few of them have any real twists or turns. For instance, “The Maid in the Mountains” which describes Biggles rescue of a damsel in distress has no real drama in it at all. It’s a routine rescue and nothing at all goes wrong.  


We also get the first standard W E Johns giant malevolent sea creature in “Beauty and the Beast”.  “Biggles & the South Seas” must have surely been inspired by this story.

1934 (4)


Short Stories


With Algy.


The Black Peril

* * * *

Fast moving book, right from the beginning. Biggles meets Ginger for the first time and they, Algy and Smyth travel to Russia to track down a mysterious Russian aircraft.


Does tend to turn into a game of Cat and Mouse through a large portion of it, but a fun read nevertheless.


1935 (8)


First appearance of Ginger


Also with Algy


Set in England & Russia


Biggles Hits the Trail

* * * * *

Biggles and his team once again join up with Biggles' Uncle Dickpa (and his friend Lord Maltenham), this time heading to the Himilayas to find radium.


This one has a an unusual sci fi element to it, with blue ray guns, invisible enemies and genetically modified centipedes controlled by electricity.


Fast moving from beginning to end.


1935 (9)


With Algy and Ginger.


Set in Tibet


Biggles & Co

* * *

Biggles sets up an airline to transport gold and diamonds for a client, finding that there are people determined to steal every shipment he makes. The enemy is led by Von Stalhein who is not as dead as Biggles thought. 

Takes Biggles to France and then ultimately to a castle in Germany.


1936 (10)


With Algy, Ginger & Von Stalhein.


Set in England, France & Germany


Biggles, Charter Pilot
* *

Capt Johns imagination (or is it Ginger's imagination?) runs wild in this set of short stories which any educated person would say were pure BS. The are narrated by Ginger to members of Biggles Squadron during WWII.  The stories take place between the wars where he, Biggles and Algy were charter pilots and were doing a lot of work for the eccentric Dr Duck.

1943 (27)


Short Stories


with Ginger & Algy


Biggles in Africa

* *

Takes a while to get going and can be slow moving in parts. Biggles and his pals fly to Sudan to find a missing pilot only to find there are people who don't want them around... As well as a lot of unusually malevolent wild animals that seem to be more aggressive than you'd expect.


Slightly anti-climactic ending.



1936 (11)


With Algy & Ginger.


Set in the Sudan

Biggles, Air Commodore

* * * *

Plenty of excitement in this one, much of which takes place on an island in the Bay of Bengal. And they also have their first encounter with a couple of very aggressive decapods, which Biggles and his team seem to regularly come across in their adventures on tropical islands... for some reason.


In this story, Biggles is temporarily assigned the rank of Air Commodore, so that he can run an operation to seek out who is sinking ships in the Bay of Bengal.

1937 (12)


With Algy & Ginger.


Set in the Bay of Bengal


Biggles Flies West 

* * * * *

Entertaining story about pirate treasure. Starts off with a great tale of ancient piracy and a cursed doubloon, which sets the scene for the rest of the story. Plenty of action and a finale with cannons and cutlasses. One of my personal favourites.


1937 (13)


With Algy & Ginger.


Set in the Caribbean


Biggles Goes to War

* * * *

Biggles and co are recruited to protect a fictional Eastern European country against another fictional Eastern European Country. I'm figuring Maltovia is supposed to be Moldavia. There is a Nieper River in the story. Moldavia has a Dniester River. (Ukraine, its nextdoor neighbour has a Dnieper River. )


Very riveting to begin with, especially with the treacherous General Bethstein. He brought tension to the story early on, but unfortunately Johns underutilized the character, neutralising him quite considerably by the half way mark and removing what could have been some great drama between him and Biggles.


Biggles shows a major character weakness yet again when he refuses to take the job at first, but then changes his mind after a poorly timed threat is made against him, just like what happened in "Biggles & Co". One way to manipulate Biggles? Just issue threats. A bit like calling Marty McFly "chicken" in "Back to the Future". Offer Biggles a job and if he refuses the job, simply phone him later as someone else and threaten harm if he dares take the job. Ouila! Biggles will take the job.

1938 (15)


With Algy & Ginger.


Set in Eastern Europe.


Biggles Flies South

* * * * *

Excellent story. Biggles and his companions find themselves in one hopeless situation after the other, when they head to Africa in search of a lost Oasis. You can just feel the heat and dryness of the desert as you read it.


1938 (14)


With Algy & Ginger.


Set in the Sudan.


Biggles Flies North

* * * * *

Couldn't put this one down. Had to keep on reading. Tension and drama all the way through.


Biggles and Co head to Canada to help their old war buddy Wilks with an airline operation and a competing airline run by a scumbag named McBain.

1939 (18)


With Algy & Ginger.


Set in Canada


Biggles in Spain

* *

Should have really been named "Ginger in Spain" as most of it involved him trying to rescue Biggles and Algy, not to mention finding himself in the Foreign Legion.


The story is just way too full of coincidences. Them being on a cruise when their ship is bombed, running into an old friend of Biggles in a Barcelona cafe who also happens to be in a perilous situation, which ends up with them getting involved delivering a message for him. Plus several other remarkable coincidences.


The story itself becomes even more ludicrous when Ginger ends up in the Foreign Legion for a couple of days (which kind of got summarized rather than described in detail) and no one even realizes that he's not actually one of them!  From there it continues to go down hill.


Some minor racism with comments like "typical Spanish slackness" and "Spaghetti Wallahs (in referral to the Italians)".


1939 (17)


With Biggles and Algy


Biggles in the South Seas

* * *

Once again Ginger is the main character in this so it should really be entitled "Ginger in the South Seas". He, Biggles and Algy head to the Marquesas to go pearl hunting and come across a really nasty villain named Castanelli, who they have to deal with as well as ultra aggressive sea life, including the obligatory giant sea creature. No creature is ever placid in a Biggles book!


I do have some issues with the character of Full Moon. She was definitely a breath of fresh air, especially considering Biggles books rarely contain female characters, but for a girl coming from a sexist primitive island society, I just don't see her being as dynamic as this. Even at her age, she would be spending the majority of her time doing work such as preparing food and cleaning. But here we are expected to believe she does the types of things that would be the domain of the male.


Warning; the "N" word is used a couple of times to describe islanders. 

1940 (21)


With Biggles & Algy.


Set in the Marquesas Islands.


Biggles in the Jungle

* * *

Biggles and his team head to the jungles of Honduras to deal with a gang of slavers who are using forced labour to mine gum. There is also treasure hunting involved. Biggles always seems to be the lucky one getting to go hunting for ancient treasure!


Very similar to "The Cruise of the Condor" and "Biggles Hits the Trail".

1942 (25)


With Ginger & Algy.


Set in Honduras.


Biggles in the Baltic

* *

I found this one difficult to get into. I felt it really needed a firm mission to start with, but instead it was just Biggles setting up a base to undergo various war missions at the whim of his superiors, much like with the earlier WW1 short stories. It didn't really start getting interesting until Ginger went exploring the caves and Biggles had his first run in with Von Stalhein.

1940 (20)


With Ginger, Algy & Von Stalhein.



Biggles Sees it Through

* * * * *

No long winded introduction in this story. Just straight into the action.


After volunteering to help out in a squadron over Finland, Biggles and Co end up on a side quest to find some research papers abandoned by a Polish scientist in the Russian snow. What's more, in Biggles' very small world, they stumble across Von Stalhein who is searching for the same thing!


Great story. Definitely one of the best. Nothing ever seems to go right for Biggles, Algy and Ginger. Has a great comedic scene where Biggles is pretending to be clumsy and exhausted as he marches along as a prisoner of Von Stalhein.


Seeing nothing at all wrong with this story apart from the coincidences, I can't see why this never made it to paperback.



1941 (23)


With Algy, Ginger & Von Stalhein


Set in Russia.

Biggles Secret Agent

* * * * *

Biggles and Ginger are sent to a fictitious country on the border of Germany and France to confirm whether a Professor Becklunder is dead or alive. The professor has created a new kind of explosive which would be disastrous if it got into the hands of the Germans.


Plenty of mystery and intrigue and a thrilling climax. Very well done. Mystifying why it never made it to paperback.

1940 (19)


With Ginger, Algy & Von Stalhein


Set in Germany



Biggles Defies the Swastika

* * *

Many people say this is one of the best Biggles books, but I don't think so. It was a good read, but nothing all that fantastic, especially considering the insane and lucky coincidences that occur in it, but then coincidences seem to be common in Biggles books.


In this one Biggles is in Norway and like in "Biggles Flies East" finds himself working undercover as a spy, working against the Germans (and Von Stalhein)


1941 (22)


With Algy & Ginger.


Set in Norway.


Spitfire Parade


Short stories about how Biggles Squadron started. Most are just stories from WW1 rewritten for WW2. Introduced the characters, but it's all the old stuff regurgitated.


1941 (24)


Short Stories


First appearance of Bertie

Biggles Sweeps the Desert

* * * * *

Also known as Biggles Defends the Desert.  Great story. Action from cover to cover and no long winded intro like many Biggles stories. Possibly one of his best. Set in WWII with members of Biggles Squadron.

1942 (26)


With Biggles' Squadron


Set in the Libya.


Biggles in Borneo


Very much similar to "Biggles in the Baltic" with Biggles setting up a base in Borneo to help against invaders (this time it's the Japs). Except this one was in the tropics rather than the more colder Baltic. Would have thought the location would make for a more exciting book too and it did at first, but come the second half, it completely lost my interest.


Like Baltic, it lacked a decent mission for Biggles and his team, and it also lacked a decent plot. In fact as I read the 2nd half I found myself just wanting to get to the end of the bloody thing and when I did get to the end it was a major anti-climax. I even felt that Biggles mission had kind of failed in a way because the base was discoverer by the Japs pretty quickly and so became useless to them. Sure they got the main villain, but I'm sure it never actually got rid of the Japanese altogether, did it?


This one hasn't been reprinted in decades. The cynical side of me says it's because of the reasons I have mentioned above, but the fact that the natives like to celebrate victories by putting their enemies severed heads on the end of spears, might have made people feel it wasn't really suitable for kids.

1943 (28)


with Biggles Squadron.


Biggles Fails to Return


Biggles has gone missing on a mission in Monaco aiding a princess and for some unknown reason Air Commodore Raymond has given up on him and now wants to pretend he no longer exists. Biggles closest allies are not willing to flag him away for dead as easily as the Air Commodore, so they head over to Monaco to find him.


Pretty dull story with Algy, Bertie and Ginger roaming around trying to find clues of Biggles whereabouts and conveniently ending up in the right place at the right time on a regular basis.


Bertie is now cemented as one of Biggles' main men.

1943 (29)


With Algy, Bertie & Ginger.


Set in Monaco.


Biggles in the Orient

* * * *

A great read. Biggles is sent to India to find out what is causing aircraft to crash. Is it a Japanese secret weapon?


Johns does a good job of creating a mystery while not divulging all of Biggles' thoughts and deductions on it so that the reader can solve the mystery along with Biggles. The mystery is actually easy to solve, but still doesn't take away the fun of solving it yourself and reading how Biggles rounds up the culprits afterwards. I'm just disappointed that Biggles didn't at least consider the true cause of the crashes after his first investigation of a crashed aircraft. He should have!

1945 (30)


with Biggles Squadron.


Set in India.



Biggles Delivers the Goods
* *

The first 50 pages or so are spent setting the scene and learning about the villains and allies in the story. It does finally hit its stride though, although the ending I felt was rather lackluster.


Biggles Squadron is sent to the Islands of Burma to help deliver supplies of rubber from out under the watchful eyes of the Japanese. The ironic thing is, by the end, Biggles has never actually delivered any rubber at all.


Some racist slurs, a high body count and a couple of beheadings, but somehow it still managed to get modern reprints done of it.


The last of the Biggles Squadron books.


1946 (31)


With Biggles Squadron


Set in Burma (Mergui Archipelago)


Comrades in Arms

Contains 1 Biggles short story; Thunder over Germany

The story is very average and hardly worth reading. I felt it was a little like a lesson on war flying for young readers. Johns puts the reader into the story as a young cadet named Peter who is leading Biggles to  a German fuel depot which he is to bomb.



Short Stories


Sgt Bigglesworth CID

* * *

The first of the Air Police books.


World War II is over and Biggles' Squadron has been disbanded. Biggles, Algy, Ginger & Bertie are invited by Air Commodore Raymond to join him in the CID. Their first mission takes them from Augsburg Germany to Africa in search of jewel thieves who are using aircraft to perform crimes. Their travels take them to Libya, the Sudan, Ethiopia and even over the Sahara Desert. We also see the return of Von Zoyton (from Sweeps the Desert) and Biggles' pal Wilks even lends a hand.


Takes a long time to get going, but once it's does it's a great read. More mature themes in this, including a description of a very graphic and gristly murder, most likely explains why hasn't been reprinted in recent decades.

1947 (32)


With Algy, Bertie & Ginger.


Set in North Africa.



Biggles' Second Case


Doesn't start to get interesting until half way through and then it's up and down the rest of the time. It's no wonder this one saw few reprints.


Biggles and Co are sent on a mission in the southern ocean to track down a submarine of Nazis who don't care that the war has ended.


1948 (33)


With Bertie & Ginger.


Set in the Kerguelen Islands.



Biggles Hunts Big Game

* * * *

A great read this one. Biggles and Co (and also former Squadron member;Tug Carrington) head to Central Africa to take down a counterfeiting ring, using a hunting tour operation (ran by a dodgy airline) as a cover.


My only complaint is the ending, when the Air Commodore and his men bailed Biggles out of trouble rather than Biggles finding his own way out.

1948 (34)


With Algy, Bertie, Ginger & Tug.


Set in Central Africa.


Biggles Takes A Holiday

* * * *

A really entertaining story where Biggles goes on a mission (in the guise of going on a holiday), to deepest darkest South America to rescue old squadron comrade Angus Mackail, as well as bring to justice a sleazebag who is conning people into funding his own little utopia (and secret weapons project) and pretty much keeping them as slave labour in the process. What's more, by some incredible coincidence, Von Stalhein is also involved! Poor old Von Stalhein gets to do lots of lamenting about how he can never seem to get the better of Biggles.


This one saw very few reprints, which was a pity, but the racism must surely factor into that one, with the natives being referred to as "Golliwogs" and even worse in a conversation between Ginger and Angus... "They're like a lot of animals, squeaking and grunting".  "That's just what they are... These forest Indians are dirty undersized little beasts... when I say animals, I mean animals and not much of an animal at that. A decent dog could teach them a lot..."

1949 (35)


With Algy, Bertie, Ginger, Angus & Von Stalhein.


Set in Argentina


Biggles Breaks the Silence

* *

Also known as "Biggles in Antarctica".


Biggles heads to Antarctica to find a wrecked ship which contains a stash of gold bars. The first 50 pages is just talking and info dumps. Nothing interesting happens until about page 70, with Ginger acting irrationally, which is very unlike his character. From there it's quite good, with Biggles running rings around the scoundrel Lavinsky.


What could have been a great ending with Biggles getting off the ice just in the nick of time is ruined completely with them instead being rescued by outside forces.


1949 (36)


With Algy, Bertie & Ginger.


Set in Antartica.


Biggles Gets his Men

* * *

The first three chapters are just talk and info dumps, but things improve a lot after that. Biggles and Co head to China to rescue some men who have been kidnapped to work as slaves. Yes similar to Biggles Takes a Holiday and yes the same amazing coincidence - Von Stalhein is involved!


Petroffsky is the definite stand out character in this, providing plenty of comic relief. High body counts and racial stereotypes may explain why this saw few reprints.

1950 (37)


with Bertie, Ginger & Von Stalhein.


Set in China.


Another Job for Biggles


Biggles heads to Yemen and the Rub' al Khali Desert, to put an end to the production of a dangerous drug that renders its victims incapacitated.


Little action, little drama and intrigue. No wonder it never went to paper back. Racist terms such as "Wog", "Sambo" and "dirty stinking Arab" probably didn't help. Going by other Biggles stories, printers seemed also to be reluctant to reprint any stories containing drug production or even talk of drugs (eg Combined Operation & Deep Blue Sea)


One thing that I'm scratching my head about this one, is how can wiping out one crop of drugs completely remove the threat of said drug, especially seeing as the drug is a native plant. Also note how they went about doing it. Remember "Biggles hits the trail?" De-ja vu.


Note: This is the 2nd book in a row where Algy has no real role to play. In fact in this one he doesn't even make an appearance.


1951 (38)


With Ginger & Bertie.


Set in Yemen

Biggles Works it Out


One of the duller Biggles books. It really failed to keep my interest. All talk and little action. Von Stalhein was underutilized, but I did enjoy his spot-on description of Bertie.


Biggles is out to track down a gang of robbers who use aircraft to perform their crimes, and travels to three different locations.


Marcel Brissac of the French Air Police makes his first appearance.


 1951 (40)


With Bertie, Algy, Ginger & Von Stalhein.


Set in Australia, Monaco & Algeria.

Biggles Takes the Case


Short stories. Mainly pretty boring.


 1952 (41)


Short Stories

Biggles Follows On

* * *

Von Stalhein has been seen in London and Biggles wants to find out what he’s doing there. He soon finds that his nemesis is trying to get soldiers to desert and join a cause in Czechoslovakia. It sends him to there, of course and then ultimately to North Korea where he “follows” the trail of  a young soldier who is working undercover for him.


Starts off really well, but it all petered away once they got to North Korea. Johns even brought in one of his other creations; Gimlet and his team to help mop up, but it just didn’t gel with me. Made me wonder whether Johns was desperate to get people interested in Gimlet, so decided to have him make a cameo at the last moment. The back covers of books around this time also had a blurb there about Gimlet, urging Biggles fans to read some of his adventures. Ironically, he only wrote one more Gimlet book after this, so I guess his attempt at luring in Biggles fans failed.

1952 (42)


With Bertie, Algy, Ginger & Von Stalhein


Set in Czechoslovakia & North Korea

Biggles Air Detective

* * * *

Entertaining short stories, which take Biggles and his friends to Bulgaria, Mauritania and also their own home turf. 

 1952 (43)


Short Stories


With Algy, Bertie & Ginger


Biggles and the Black Raider

* * *

Biggles is off to Uganda to track down a scumbag who is raiding settlements, slaughtering, stealing and rustling. His name is the Black Elephant and apparently his name strikes terror whenever it's mentioned. For me though, all I can picture is a big, fat, bumbling, mentally challenged black guy.


Interesting enough story and Johns finally takes us to an African location that is not just desert.

1953 (44)


With Bertie, Algy & Ginger.


Set in Uganda


Biggles in the Blue

* * *

Biggles and the boys head to Jamaica to track down some blueprints to some secret weapons that were held by a recently deceased former Nazi. Von Stalhein is also after the same blueprints.


Nothing particularly special, but an entertaining enough read.

1953 (45)


With Bertie, Algy, Ginger & Von Stalhein.


Set in Jamaica


Biggles in the Gobi

* * * *

Biggles and co head to China to the Gobi desert to rescue a bunch of Missionaries, desperately needing to get out of China, however it proves to be a little more difficult than expected.


An entertaining read. A lot of Biggles books lack a good climax but this one is built up nicely and we get an ending where Biggles doesn't need outside armies to rescue him.


I'm surprised this one has never made it to paper back, because I can't see anything really wrong with it. There is a massacre (although not really much in the way of graphic details), which may have been the reason for this. However no worse violence than some other Biggles books that have been reprinted. Perhaps it was simply the graphic description of bird blood and guts on Biggles's windscreen that was deemed too gristly for young boys?


In this one, Algy takes center stage while Biggles and Bertie take a back seat.

1953 (46)


With Algy, Ginger & Bertie.


Set in China


Biggles of the Special Air Police

* * *

The first half is short stories of Biggles time in Scotland Yard. Second half is stories from WW1 which are already published in previous Biggles books.


Reasonably good Air Police stories with the first one being the best: The Case of the Black Gauntlet.


1953 (47)


Short Stories


With Algy, Bertie & Ginger.

Biggles Cuts it Fine


Tediously dull stuff and full of deja-vu moments. Submarines in lagoons, landings in crater lakes, the enemy being foiled by their own weapons. Haven't I read this before? It seems like old Biggles books recycled.


Biggles and his men... and special guest Marcel Brissac head down south to out of the way islands (again) this time to track down an illegal base of operations run by the Russkies.


The lack of action and reused ideas are probably why this one was never reprinted in paperback.

1954 (48)


With Bertie, Ginger & Algy.


Set in the Crozet



Biggles & the Pirate Treasure

* *

Short stories of Biggles in the Air Police. One of my complaints about Biggles stories is the long introductions and scene setting before we get to the real drama. This is compounded still further with the short story, which means you have to slog through these openings with almost every one you read and often you are left with only a small percentage of actual fun story to read.


My favourites in this one were the title story (which was the longest) and "The Case of the Flying Clown"


1954 (49)


Short stories


with Biggles, Algy & Bertie

Biggles Foreign Legionnaire

* * * * *

Great story with Biggles and Ginger going undercover in the Foreign Legion to help Marcel Brissac deal with an organization trying to cause conflicts so they can sell arms.


Biggles and Ginger cleverly manipulate the enemy in a case that takes them to Algeria, Egypt and then finally Iraq and they even get to form an alliance with Von Stalhein on the way! Kept me entertained all the way through.


Algy & Bertie only make cameo appearances.

1954 (50)


With Ginger & Von Stalhein.


Set in Algeria, Egypt & Iraq


Biggles in Australia


Pretty slow going for most of it. I really had to wonder whether Australia was really like this even in 1955. The racism in this book also makes me wonder why it was ever reprinted. With references to the Australian Aborigine as "half civilized blacks", "savage inside" and "animal brains", Johns was certainly pushing his luck.

1955 (52)


With Bertie, Ginger, Algy & Von Stalhein



Biggles' Chinese Puzzle


Pretty formulaic and dull short stories. The most interesting is “The Case of the Secret Inquisitors” with the mad scientist, although it ended too quickly without any real drama.


Once again, I have a complaint about the long winded intros we get for most of John's short stories. Short stories need to get quickly to the action. Setting the scene should be done as quickly and as briefly as possible so as to avoid the reader losing interest. Johns seems to insist on long winded intros even in his short stories.  


For instance with “The Mystery of the Torn Parachute”, a piece of parachute is found in the top of a tree by a gamekeeper. Johns spends half a page describing a gamekeeper’s vendetta against a crow which results in him finding the piece of parachute in the tree when going to destroy the bird’s nest. All this description was totally unnecessary. All that was needed was a simple sentence like “A gamekeeper, trying to eradicate the nest of a nuisance crow, came across the piece of fabric”.  But oh no, Johns has to have his characters waffle on about the irrelevant stuff rather than just what’s necessary to set the scene.


1955 (53)


Short stories


With Ginger, Algy & Bertie.

No Rest for Biggles

* * *

Planes are going missing in Africa and Biggles finds that a secret weapon is being used to bring down planes and that the perpetrators are building up their own private army. As usual Von Stalhein is involved. What a small world Biggles lives in!


Fun to read, but kind of peters out nearer the end.

1956 (55)


With Bertie, Algy, Ginger & Von Stalhein.


Set in Senegal


Biggles Takes Charge

* * * *

Algy travels to France to La Sologne to drop off a key to an old acquaintance (Boris). Boris is missing and his nephew (Charles) turns up instead. And for some miraculous coincidence, so does Von Stalhein, after the jewels belonging to Boris.


This book is made up of two stories, each linked by Boris and Charles. The first one (the first 2/3s) has Algy trying to find Boris and outsmarting Von Stalhein in the process. Then Biggles comes along near the end to "Take Charge"


The second, more formulaic story, has Biggles and his team, along with Marcel Brissic, Boris and Charles, heading to Moldavia to collect Boris's jewels.


I really liked this book. I can only figure it never made it to paper back because the first story contained no flying and little action. Perhaps a slightly serious tone made it to be deemed less suitable for boys.


1956 (56)


With Algy, Bertie, Ginger & Von Stalhein.


Set in France and Moldavia.

Biggles Makes Ends Meet

* * * *

Biggles heads to Nicobar Islands near Sumatra to track down some modern day pirates, but ends up uncovering a smuggling operation instead.


Any story where Biggles gets to match wits with criminals and gets to meet them face to face, telling them what he thinks of them is always entertaining. Even Bertie gets to interact with the criminals and fools them into thinking he's a complete and utter buffoon. If only we'd got to read about the reactions of the criminals when they found out he wasn't.

1957 (57)


With Algy, Ginger & Bertie.


Set in the Nicobar Islands north of Sumatra.


Biggles of the Interpol

* *

As usual with Biggles short stories, the best story and the one that has had the most effort made on it, appears first and then it's all down hill from there.


There are two stories involving drug dealing in this one. It seems that whenever drugs are even so much as mentioned in a Biggles story, it ends up doomed to never make it to paper back. This one seems to be an exception, most likely because they were 2 short stories amongst a bunch of them.

1957 (58)


Short Stories


with Algy, Bertie & Ginger.


Biggles on the Home Front

* *

Biggles is recruited by Inspector Gaskin to track down a bunch of jewel thieves in England. In a story very similar to "Foreign Legionnaire", Biggles goes undercover as a jewel thief. The problem is this book is nowhere near as good as Foreign Legionnaire and in some parts is rather dull reading.


In this book, Biggles makes one of his biggest mistakes ever (but never really acknowledges it). He does make this comment though: "My big blunder, of course, was to assume that I wouldn't be sent for until a jewel robbery provided something to be flown across the Channel." No, Biggles your big blunder was thinking that your cover would be secure after Reverley recognized you. Did you not think that Laxter would do some investigating as to your true identity?? DUH!


This book never made it to paperback. I'm guessing that was because of the lack of action and flying. It was mainly a talky.


1957 (59)


With Ginger, Bertie & Algy


Set in England

Biggles Presses On
Short Stories, Special Air Police. Mainly boring

1958 (60)


Short Stories


Biggles on Mystery Island

* * * *

Biggles and his pals… as well as Marcel Brissic and another guy named Sven, head to the island of Oratovoa (in the Marquesas) to investigate the disappearance of some boats.   


This one is a bit of a rip off of “Biggles takes a Holiday”, with some bloodthirsty mutts and a volcanic island on the verge of eruption thrown in. Despite the unoriginality I thought it was a great read.


Mystery Island, by the way, is not the tranquil Mystery Island of Vanuatu!


1958 (61)


With Bertie, Ginger & Algy.


Set in the Marquesas Islands

Biggles Buries a Hatchet

* * * * *

Biggles and co team up with Von Stalhein’s nephew to rescue his uncle from a Soviet prison on the Russian Island of Sakhalin. Contains a similar character to Petroffsky from "Biggles Gets his Men" although this one (Miskoff) is not insane and perfectly sober.


Maybe it’s me, but I’m a sucker for stories where enemies become friends, because I loved this one. Not only does Johns paint a great picture of a bleak island full of hopelessness and despair, we get an entertaining jail break story with a satisfying ending.



1958 (62)


With Algy, Ginger, Bertie & Von Stalhein.


Set on the Island of Sakhalin.

Biggles in Mexico

* * *

Biggles & Ginger head to Mexico to track down some jewel thieves. A bit of a talky, with no flying involved, but it did a good job in keeping my interest, putting us in a different environment than many other Biggles books.


Von Stalhein makes a cameo appearance.

1959 (63)


With Ginger


Biggles' Combined Operation

* * *

Slightly darker tone than most Biggles books, with Biggles forming a combined operation with the French and US Police to track down some drug runners.  Their travels take them from France and around the Mediterranean and eventually to the islands of Southern Greece. Bertie gets to take center stage in part of this one where he goes on a mission that really Biggles should never have let him go on and Biggles knew it.


It seems any Biggles book that involved drugs in some ways was automatically shunned when it came to reprints. This one was a classic example.


1959 (64)


With Ginger & Bertie.


Set in France & Greece

Biggles at World's End


Biggles and his team head to the bottom of South America to Tierra Del Fuego to track down some missing botonists and a stash of gold. They have to deal with an official named Gontermann who is determined to make life difficult for them.


All talk and no action. The only interesting bits were when Gontermann was in it. Definitely no wonder it never made it to paperback.

1959 (65)


With Algy, Bertie & Ginger.


Set in Tierra Del Fuego


Biggles & the Leopards of Zinn

* * * * *

Biggles heads to Uganda to investigate  claims of a killer leopard terrorizing a peace loving tribe of African natives; The Zinn.


Great story. Such a pity it was never reprinted, because it was really good. Racism could definitely be the reason it was never reprinted. Biggles and his pals saw the Zinn as primitive, even like animals. Bertie even referred to one as a household pet. Otherwise it may have something to do with the cold blooded killings that were committed by both the bad and the good guys.

1960 (67) 


With Algy, Bertie & Ginger


Set in Uganda


Biggles Goes Home

* *

Biggles is sent bank to where he was born, to India to rescue a Chinese named Shit... I mean Poo who is hiding from the Chinese Army.


Very similar in ways to others, especially Biggles & the Pirate Treasure. Nothing new. Not much to it.


1960 (66)


With Bertie, Algy & Ginger


Set in India

Biggles & the Poor Rich Boy

* * *

Biggles and his friends head to Scotland to track down a rich kid who has been kidnapped by his uncle. They also have to deal with a couple of gangster who are also after them.


Biggles is on the track all the way but things seem to go wrong every time he gets within striking distance of getting to the kid. The story also takes them to Loch Ness. With Capt Johns fascination for giant sea creatures I'm surprised he didn't throw in an encounter with Nessie while they were there.


A good story, but perhaps with the lack of flying and action, it was never deemed good enough for reprints.

1960 (68)


With Ginger & Bertie


Set in Scotland


Biggles Forms a Syndicate

* *

Bertie & Ginger go treasure hunting in Yemen but their aircraft is found abandoned, so Biggles & Algy head over there after them to find them.


Capt Johns manages to take what should have been a short story and stretched it into a 150 page novel. The first 60 pages are nothing but waffle and scene setting and it doesn't get interesting until Bertie and Dizzy get to the cave.


Johns also seems to forget that Ginger has been with Biggles longer than Bertie has, when he refers to Dizzy as "before Ginger's time", but yet Bertie knew the guy. I wonder if he got Bertie mixed up with Algy?


1961 (69)


With Algy, Bertie & Ginger.


Set in Yemen

Biggles & the Missing Millionaire

* *

It seems that many of the later Biggles books took on a slightly more serious tone, moving away from the typical run ins with wild animals and things like that, to focus more on the threats of human enemies. This story was typical of that.


Biggles heads to the Bahamas to track down a missing millionaire and his luxury yacht.


Starts off slow, does ok in the middle and ends flat.

1961 (70)


With Ginger, Algy & Bertie.


Set in the Bahamas


Biggles Goes Alone

* * *

Something a little different here with Biggles going on holiday and ending up having to solve a murder case in the hotel he is staying in. A Whodunit with no flying and no action.


I first read this in the early 80s as a young teen and it bored me to tears. However, for some unknown reason it always left an impression on me. Back then I read it through the eyes of a kid. Over 30 years later, reading it through the eyes of an adult it was a much more interesting read and kept my interest all the way through, until the final revelation. I'd already solved the case about 30 pages before the big reveal, but then so had Biggles. 


Clearly the fact that it was a whodunit with all talk and no action is the reason it never got reprinted, not even once.

1962 (71)


Set in England.

Orchids For Biggles


Pretty dull going. Takes a long time to get going and even then it never really gets exciting. Seems very similar to other Biggles stories too.


Biggles & Bertie head to Peru to track down a traitor who has stolen military secrets and is blackmailing the government, demanding a million pounds for their return. There are two... yes two female characters in this book!


What really frustrates me about this one is that Biggles was a real dumbass when he decided not to burn the house down when he had the chance. Of course Bogosoff was going to return before morning to search for the documents. Geeze, Biggles are you getting senile in your old age?

1962 (72)


With Bertie


Set in Peru


Biggles Sets a Trap

* * * *

Excellent Whodunit. Possibly never published in paper back because it didn't involve any flying or action. Final chapter was an anticlimax and even Biggles makes that comment. Would have been a 5 star book if it wasn't for that.


1962 (73)


With Bertie


Set in England

Biggles Takes a Hand


All talk and absolutely no action apart from a minor show down at the end.


Von Stalhein offers a tip to Biggles about some political hit-men being in the country. Biggles finds out they are after a family, holding political secrets who are seeking refuge in England and Biggles has to stop them from doing their dirty deed.


 1963 (74)


With Bertie, Algy & Ginger


Set in England

Biggles Takes it Rough


Biggles and his companions are often bored in this story and so was this reader. Possibly the most boring in the Biggles series up until this point.

Biggles goes to a Scottish Island owned by a client to investigate some mysterious goings on. A great location which promised much but delivered nothing. Never once did it seem like Biggles and his friends were in any real danger.

1963 (75)


With Bertie &


Set in Scotland


Biggles' Special Case

* * *

Biggles and co are send on a mission to the Middle East to help organize an oil deal between two Middle Eastern states, but have to deal with a couple of difficult passengers in the process.


Entertaining enough story with enough to keep you interested all the way through.

1963 (76)


With Bertie & Ginger


Set near Turkey


Biggles & the Plane that Disappeared

* * * *

Biggles is searching for a missing aircraft, which turns out to be stolen. Seems similar to one or two Biggles short stories, just longer, but I found it to be an entertaining read, especially with Bertie taking a more prominent role. Takes a bit to get going, but then hits its stride.


For the life of me I can't understand why this one never made it to paper back. No drug dealers, no racism and only 2 dead bodies.

1963 (77)


With Bertie & Ginger


Set in England


Biggles Flies to Work


In this lot of short stories, Johns remembers that he's writing stories for boys and even adds in some supporting characters who are boys.  Then he throws in some drug dealing stories, which generally tend to result in the book not getting to paper back, but I guess, as with the case of  Biggles of the Interpol, the stories in question here were only a small subset of a larger set of stories, so they got through.


The only story I liked was "The Two Bright Boys". The others bored me to tears. I even felt a great sense of deja vu when I read "The Case of the Early Boy", which  had many similarities to "The Mystery of the Torn Parachute" in "Chinese Puzzle". What are the chances of  two separate people climbing a tree to destroy a bird's nest both finding something  that has fallen from a plane in the top branches?

1963 (78)


Short Stories


With Algy, Bertie & Ginger


Biggles & the Lost Sovereigns


Republished as Biggles & the Lost Treasure. Dead boring. All talk, no action


Biggles heads to Singapore to find some gold sovereigns which were aboard a boat that has gone missing.


1964 (79)


With Bertie & Ginger


Set in Singapore

Biggles & the Black Mask

* *

Biggles investigates a new airport which has been established by a dodgy former RAF guy who Biggles knew in the war and with the help of Ginger going undercover, finds a smuggling operation with the chief being a man in black mask - a man who by the end of the story you actually feel sorry for.


Starts of really well, but after we meet the Black Mask for the first time, it just kind of peters out.

1964 (80)


With Bertie & Ginger


Set in England and France


Biggles Investigates

* *

Short stories of Biggles in the Air Police. The first three are very good, getting into the action quickly rather than starting off with long winded intros as is usually the case, but then it's up and down from there on in. I have to say Biggles is very presumptuous on several occasions, but despite that still ends up making correct ones.


As with a lot of the Biggles books around this time, the stories mainly take place in England. It seems Biggles was getting a little too old to travel the world on a regular basis  as he had done in the past.   I just wonder how old Air Commodore Raymond is at this point!

1964 (81)


Short Stories


with Algy, Ginger & Bertie


Biggles Looks Back

* *

This is the last Biggles book that Von Stalhein ever appears in.


A bit of a talkie, with little action and no flying, but with enough intrigue to keep you interested. Biggles teams up with Bertie and Von Stalhein to rescue Biggles’ former love Marie Janus from a Bohemian castle.


I know this is meant to be a boy’s book, but I found the ultimate reuniting of Biggles with Marie a complete let down. It could have been so more poignant, but it just seemed like another example of Biggles rescuing say Bertie, Ginger or Algy, with them responding, “hi, glad to see you now let me tell you what happened to me”. Thumbs down on that, Capt Johns. This is Biggles first and only ever love! These two still have feelings for each other. Let them show some emotion at being reunited. It was almost as if this was meant to be a story about Biggles rescuing Ginger, but at the last moment Johns decided to change the character from Ginger to Marie Janus, but kept the character pretty much the same.


Ending was also very anti-climactic.


This book was only ever printed once, apart from some limited edition copies a lot later on. I would have to say that the lack of action is the reason it never went to paperback.  


1965 (82)


with Bertie & Von Stalhein


Set in Czech Republic

Biggles & the Plot the Failed

* *

Biggles, Ginger & Bertie (and no Algy again) stupidly risk their lives going to the Sahara Desert to find two missing guys, one of which most likely is a crook.


Many of these later Biggles books seem to steal their ideas from past Biggles stories. It seems that often Johns writes a short story and then decides to turn the basic premise into a large story later.


I had to chuckle a few times when it came to Biggles responses to some of Bertie's jokes. eg, "I'm not in a funny mood at the moment". Since when was he EVER in a funny mood?  And later when Bertie says "You're losing your sense of humour". WHAT sense of humour?

1965 (83)


With Ginger & Bertie


Set in the Egypt


Biggles & the Blue Moon

* * * *

Algy, "Browned off" and being left out of a lot of recent Biggles books, gets a key role in this story when he teams up with Biggles to rescue a Chinese Pearl Collector from his place in the middle of the Malaysian rainforest, which is surrounded by armies of villains looking to steal his collection. (amongst which is the very rare "Blue Moon" pearl.)


Great setting, great story, with eminent danger from all corners. On top of that is the urgency to get an airfield set up for an aircraft to land and then the knowledge of Biggles having to run the gauntlet through the jungle to get back to Kuala Lumpur.


A nail biting climax too, however it misses out on getting a 5 star rating from me due to the simple fact that Government troops come in at the last moment to deal with the enemy, thus making all Biggles and Algy's work completely redundant.


1965 (84)


With Algy


Set in Malaysia

Biggles Scores a Bull


You know you're in for a boring time when the plot of a Biggles story is about pedigree Bulls being rustled.


Dreary dull stuff with all talk and no action. I can vaguely remember reading this one a few years back and being bored out of my skull. This time around I found myself skimming through large chunks of it.


All I can say it's no wonder it never made it to paper back.

1965 (85)


With Bertie & Ginger


Set in England


Biggles in the Terai

* * *

Biggles & Bertie head to India to track down Algy who has gone missing on a mission investigating gold smuggling.


Entertaining enough book, but sadly with a very anticlimactic ending. Title is also a bit of misnomer because they hardly spend any time in it at all.


1966 (86)


With Bertie & Algy


Set in India

Biggles & the Gun Runners

* * *

Biggles, without the aid of any of his companions, is on a mission to take down some gunrunners. He pretends to retire from the Air Police and publicizes that fact, relying on the extremely remote chance that he might be able to lure the gunrunners into employing his services. In the amazing world of Capt Johns flukes and coincidences he manages to do just that!


The first chapter starts of exciting with Biggles being forced to land in the Sudd (400 miles of swamp) and then we get 5 chapters of back story before we finally get back there!


Once into the story though,  it turned out to be an enjoyable read with Biggles in conflict with Ducard and also Canson (from Black Mask)


The ending however, fizzles out completely without any real drama. In fact it had me scratching my head.

1966 (87)


Set in the Sudan


Biggles Sorts it Out


Dull, dull, dull. Nothing remotely interesting happens until about half way through.


Biggles and Bertie conduct a long-winded investigation which leads them to the Kalahari Desert to track down an apparent jewel thief. Once there they find an old abandoned fort, have a run-in with a wounded rhino and a dodgy guy named Connor, then they find the guy they're after only to learn he's not really a thief at all. Then they head back home. Investigation complete.


Couldn't this have been done as a short story?


1967 (88)


With Bertie


Set in Namibia

Biggles & the Dark Intruder

* *

Biggles has to investigate a mysterious plane flying over England at night.


Once again it seems Johns is getting his inspiration from short stories he has written in previous Biggles Books. I really struggled to maintain my interest with this one.


1967 (89)


With Bertie & Ginger


Set in England

Biggles & the Penitent Thief

* *

A guy comes to visit Biggles late at night to tell an intriguing tale of his son getting involved in a jewel robbery and of the jewels being hidden on an Island near Canada (yet another gem hunting job for Biggles!) The tale takes ten minutes to tell, but somehow translates to 4 hours in Biggles' world. (I'm sure glad we didn't get the 4 hour version as  most of Johns's intros are long winded enough as they are!)


Reminds me a little too much of "Biggles takes it Rough", but at least it was more interesting.


 1967 (90)


with Bertie & Ginger


Set in Canada

Biggles & the Deep Blue Sea

* *

Biggles is sent to a remote island in the Bay of Bengal to investigate what a man is doing there on his own.


Starts off well, with plenty of mystery and intrigue, but  all that is gone about half way through and then it all  becomes rather average. Biggles also has a close encounter with a decapod, just like in many other Biggles stories set on islands. They seem to be attracted to him!


I figure this was never reprinted due to the fact that there is Hemp growing involved. Not really suitable material for boy’s books.


1967 (91)


With Algy


Set in the Bay of Bengal


Biggles & the Underworld


Mainly a lot of talk and boring investigations, with only some interesting scenes.


Biggles is looking to capture an escaped prisoner from Dartmoor Prison. Not really sure what the underworld has to do with this story.

1968 (93)


With Bertie, Ginger & Algy


Set in England


Biggles & the Little Green God


Biggles and Algy head to Chile in search of an idol which may or may not have been stolen.


Nothing remotely interesting happens until about half way through, although I did enjoy the cynicism of Biggles in chapter 2.


Blatant racism in this one. We find out why so many of Biggles' villains are half breeds. It's because most half breeds... according to Biggles... have a chip on their shoulder.


What annoyed me most about this book is that Biggles solved the case of the missing green God, but did not pursue the scumbag who tried to blow up the plane. It seemed that the perpetrator was never brought to justice!

1969 (94)


With Algy


Set in Chile


Biggles & the Noble Lord

* *

Biggles has the job of busting a crime syndicate who are pulling off huge robberies of gold and gems in England and find themselves investigating a lord of the realm who has a "chip on his shoulder".


As with many later Biggles books, it is plagued with unnecessary and repetitious talk.


It also left me with some questions. Why do Biggles villains always opt to keep their prisoners locked up for days on end rather than just dispose of them quickly? And why would even a toff like Bertie carry nail scissors wherever he goes? People wonder how old Biggles was at this point. Was he really 70 years old? If so how old would Air Commodore Raymond be??


1969 (95)


With Algy, Bertie & Ginger


Set in England & France

Biggles Sees too Much


Once again another very dull tale in the very last completed Biggles tale. You'd think that a book aimed at boys would contain a lot more action, but like many of John's later tales its mainly a talky. When you have a an entire chapter later on in the book named "Algy Reports", you know you're in for a dreary time. I guess now that Biggles is supposedly in his 70s, he just can't handle too much excitement.


Biggles, while on holiday discovers that a shark fishing boat is really involved in smuggling illegal immigrants into England so he sets out on a case to bring them down.


Maybe feeling guilty about attempting to write out Algy from the series, this is the 5th Biggles book in a row with him in it.


We end up with a very anticlimactic ending in this book as well as the Biggles series. Biggles kinds of sums up the case (and in my mind the entire Biggles series) with these words: "unsatisfactory ending". Yes, tell me about it, Biggles.

1970 (96)


with Bertie, Algy & Ginger.


Set in England (plus a small stint in the Channel Islands)


Biggles Does some Homework

Unfinished. Written in 1968. Only 600 special edition copies printed.


Biggles is contemplating retirement and trains up a successor.

1998 (97)