Biggles Goes Alone

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Re: Biggles Goes Alone

Postby VickersVandal » 16 Jul 2015, 01:39

Kismet wrote:45 posts, only 4 (and I'm being generous here) of which are relevant to the title, must be some kind of record. I'm impressed, folks.


Yeah, I'm certainly....something.....impressed is probably not the word I'd use.

Anyway, I am almost finished this book.


SPOILER ALERT


I held off commenting until after the reveal. I have to say it was a surprise - I didn't necessarily see it coming. I expected it to be something incidental (a toxic gas perhaps) but didn't expect there to be malice behind it (even if not directed at the victim).
I have to say that the character of the doctor was a little preposterous though. I could accept the poisoning of the roses but the sudden attempt on Biggles' life was a bit over the top. The plot reminded me a bit of the Simon Pegg movie Hot Fuzz - small town with genteel but homicidal old chap willing to kill for the sake of a flower show.

Overall, I found the book to be pretty dull though. Like a less interesting Agatha Christie (as someone else alluded to) but the incredibly slow pace and total absence of any aviation element meant that it was one I plowed through just to see it to the finish. I thought the only vaguely interesting character was the fisherman.
It really would have been much better to have condensed into a short story for one of the collections. As a full length book it really dragged.

I chose this book to take on a weekend away with my better half in case there was reading time, which was a good choice because it meant all my attention was focused on spending time with her and enjoying the scenery because I had NO urge to open the book at any point :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: Biggles Goes Alone

Postby Kismet » 16 Jul 2015, 12:39

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy Goes Alone, VV. It's always been one of my absolute favourites. I like that it is a straight forward detective story and has no aviation (I like Sets a Trap, too): the books where WEJ tries something different are usually ones I like.

Spoiler Alert

I agree that the character of the doctor was rather preposterous, and the assassination attempt excessive, but these touches I find amusing and endearing rather than annoying, and as over the top as they are, they are less so than the plot devices used by many of the thriller writers contemporary with WEJ (such as Edgar Wallace or the Saint books by Leslie Charteris.)

I'm glad that your other half benefited from your lack of engaging reading material, though.
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Re: Biggles Goes Alone

Postby VickersVandal » 16 Jul 2015, 13:16

We're not all going to like the same thing ;) :) . I'm glad you enjoy it but I couldn't really. Given you enjoy early detective fiction, that makes perfect sense that you would like it more than other stories.

I suppose the thing that gets to me is that Biggles is first and foremost a pilot (not a homicide detective), which is what I read the books for, and this story and many other book-length stories from the Air Police stories are (to me) just very average whodunnits. If I wanted Agatha Christie, I would read it. I expect WEJ to be able to provide an interesting take on crime or espionage where flying is a key element. Many of the Air Police short stories are excellent for this where regular police are baffled by a crime until Biggles brings his expertise to bear or is able to cover ground that no other law enforcement can.
Similarly, I find any AP stories somewhat dull that contain aircraft only as mundane transport to and from the scene of action (especially where flying isn't really necessary anyway).

Instead of an flying detective tale, this story is about muddling around in a village eliminating red herrings. I would have liked it better if some flying-related crime came up while Biggles is on holiday, which could have the amusing aspect of Biggles frustration (or poorly-hidden glee?) at being unable to escape his job....much like the WW1 story "On Leave".
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Re: Biggles Goes Alone

Postby Kismet » 16 Jul 2015, 13:41

VickersVandal wrote:
I suppose the thing that gets to me is that Biggles is first and foremost a pilot (not a homicide detective), which is what I read the books for,


I read Biggles because he has good adventures. The flying side is much less important to me. Yes, I know I'm in a minority!

VickersVandal wrote:
. I would have liked it better if some flying-related crime came up while Biggles is on holiday, which could have the amusing aspect of Biggles frustration (or poorly-hidden glee?) at being unable to escape his job....much like the WW1 story "On Leave".


Are you going to start off an RPG?
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Re: Biggles Goes Alone

Postby VickersVandal » 16 Jul 2015, 14:14

I won't be, but anybody else is welcome to launch one off that idea :yay:
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Re: Biggles Goes Alone

Postby kylie_koyote » 16 Jul 2015, 15:22

VickersVandal wrote:The plot reminded me a bit of the Simon Pegg movie Hot Fuzz - small town with genteel but homicidal old chap willing to kill for the sake of a flower show.


I love "Hot Fuzz"! It's a shame TS has stopped visiting us, as he loves it too.

"Goes Alone" is not one of my favorites, because I enjoy the dialogue between Biggles and his friends and this had none, with the exception of a one-sided phone call to Ginger to send Biggles a book, but I didn't dislike it.

I hope you and your wife had a lovely weekend away!
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Re: Biggles Goes Alone

Postby kylie_koyote » 04 Apr 2016, 16:35

HK_4, here is the quote from Goes Alone about Foyle's.

After a wait of a few minutes he was through to London, where he learned from Ginger, one of his staff, that everything was all right so he could carry on with his rest cure.

“I’d like you to do a little job for me,” Biggles told him. “I want you to get me a book. You may have a job to get hold of a copy as it’s probably out of print, but you may find a
secondhand copy at Foyles or one of the shops in the Charing Cross Road. If you get it put it on the first available passenger train to Truro, addressed to me care of the Station Master. ..."
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