Biggles in the Orient

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Biggles in the Orient

Postby Wanderer » 27 Jul 2016, 15:32

(These posts have been moved from the model making forum)


Frecks wrote:...In Orient Biggles says the Japanese never invented anything only copied other people ....

WEJ's was typical of European-American prejudice and I dare say racism before 1941: not one of Biggles' finest moments, he ought have known better :-) Yes, the Japanese took existing ideas and reverse-engineered them - but then they forward engineered them: the classic "continuous improvement" of Japanese industry. As a result by the outbreak of WWII Japan was building ships, aircraft and munitions (e.g. torpedoes) at least comparable to and in many cases superior to everyone else, leading to many vary nasty shocks early on until they started to be overwhelmed by superior numbers and higher industrial capacity to replace losses.
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Biggles in the Orient

Postby Frecks » 27 Jul 2016, 16:22

I think Biggles was making the point that he did not suspect a technical gadget was bringing the planes down. I have often wondered if it would have been possible to poison chewing gum, chocolate etc. in the way he described. Of course it made an exceptionally good story when you read the book the first time.
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Biggles in the Orient

Postby Fairblue » 27 Jul 2016, 16:26

Frecks wrote:I think Biggles was making the point that he did not suspect a technical gadget was bringing the planes down. I have often wondered if it would have been possible to poison chewing gum, chocolate etc. in the way he described. Of course it made an exceptionally good story when you read the book the first time.

It's happened in Supermarkets, so there is no reason why not.
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Biggles in the Orient

Postby Frecks » 27 Jul 2016, 16:39

WEJ obviously thought it was a reasonable plot device.
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Postby Kismet » 27 Jul 2016, 16:48

So did Agatha Christie. Poirot notices that a box of violet creams has been interfered with and realises the victim has been murdered by means of the chocolates, which have been injected with poison.


Edit.

There was a famous Victorian case:

Christiana Edmunds (3 October 1828–1907) was an English woman who, in the late 19th century, became known as The Chocolate Cream Killer after poisoning several people with strychnine in chocolate creams, killing one.


This probably inspired WEJ and Agatha Christie, along with several other novelists who have used the device.
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Postby Frecks » 27 Jul 2016, 19:10

Yes that sounds quite possible. Of course it is a bit of a leap from one box of chocolates to trying to take out all the planes of all the Squadrons stationed in the Far East with poisoned chewing gum.
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Postby Fairblue » 27 Jul 2016, 19:11

Take as many of the enemy out as and when you can. Add to that the psychological damage such a thing would wreak on the enemy and you have maximum impact for relatively very little effort at no cost to yourself.
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Re: Tug

Postby tiffinata » 29 Jul 2016, 01:13

Frecks wrote: I have often wondered if it would have been possible to poison chewing gum, chocolate etc. in the way he described.


Oh yes. Certainly. I saw something recently that confirmed my thoughts it could be done. I just can't remember where I saw it.(Edinburgh?) It had something to do with Chicale production and will eventually be unpacked and sorted by the ol' brain.

It would have been possible to print new labels for everything to make it look like the original packaging, or even open very carefully, perhaps using steam. The product itself would not have been difficult to adulterate post production. Sugar coating on pellets would be easy to dip and there would be a light dusting of powdered sugar/cornflour on the gum strips.
The chocolate would be a little more difficult. The chemical used could not be water based as oil and water don't mix. Melting down and remoulding would have to use an oil based chemical so as not to alter the original texture. It may have been possible to slightly soften the chocolate and carefully inject something oil based; perhaps it could be passed off as heat affected in transit if anyone commented on it looking a little odd. Just don't leave fingermarks in the melted chocolate.
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Re: Biggles in the Orient

Postby Frecks » 30 Jul 2016, 16:40

Yes until Biggles came along and solved the mystery.
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Re: Biggles in the Orient

Postby kylie_koyote » 06 Nov 2017, 21:43

I've just run across something that caused me to look up "Biggles in the Orient" again. We have this quote from Chapter 1, when Biggles and his squadron are gallivanting about the globe:

The sun was setting behind the golden domes of Khadamain, the most conspicuous landmark in the ancient city of the Caliphs, when the Wellington rumbled to a stand-still on the dusty surface of Hinaidi airfield, Baghdad.

And this from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Hinaidi), which says that by April 1941, the British had totally vacated Hinaidi airfield:

RAF Dhibban (renamed RAF Habbaniya in 1938) was built to replace Hinaidi and the RAF began to move there in 1936, and Hinaidi was handed over to the Iraqi Government in 1938. By April 1941, during the 1941 Iraqi coup d'état, the base had been vacated by the British and was renamed "Rashid Airfield" by the Iraqis. The name was in honor of Rashid Ali, former Iraqi Prime Minister and the leader of the coup. During the Anglo-Iraqi War in May 1941, the base was used by the Royal Iraqi Air Force in the fighting against the RAF.

Yet, "Orient" is supposedly set after "Fails to Return", "Sweeps the Desert," and "Borneo" - which all feature appearances by the United States military - and the USA didn't enter the war until December 7, 1941.

In fact, WEJ tells us in the opening that this is after "Sweeps the Desert" because he says: "It was the same little band of hard-hitting warriors that had fought under him during the Battle of Britain, in the Western Desert, and elsewhere, and more than one carried scars as perpetual souvenirs of these theatres of war."

Thoughts? Just me, being nitpicky?
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Re: Biggles in the Orient

Postby Kismet » 06 Nov 2017, 21:52

WEJ might not have known or forgotten. He didn't have access to the modern miracle known as Google to check his facts, and whatever source he did use may have been out of date.
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