Biggles Sorts It Out

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Biggles Sorts It Out

Postby neilk » 05 Sep 2017, 00:35

I recently acquired this one along with 5 others I found in an Edinburgh second-hand book shop.

This is a relatively late book (1970) and despite some other reviewers elsewhere being a bit negative about it,
I quite enjoyed it. The complaints are mainly that there is not much 'action' but I enjoyed because of this. It's more
a thinking book as Biggles and Bertie (only - the golden boy Ginger is nowhere to be seen and Algy is
recovering from injury) attempt to nut out a strange case of theft that is perhaps not theft. The characters
are quite well portrayed, there is even a little depth to the villain.

I was especially pleased to read that both Biggles and Bertie had no time at all for big game hunting.
I don't know if that was always their position (can't remember - I'm sure there were many opportunities
for them to express that in earlier stories).

Also, they didn't get in to too much trouble - a little but not too much. I get a bit frustrated with the
major trauma they sometimes create in no time at all (bad planning...)...
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Re: Biggles Sorts It Out

Postby Kismet » 05 Sep 2017, 01:21

This was one of my early books: there was a recent reprint when I was in my early teens that I bought new from the bookshop.

I was always fond of it: one of the things I like most about WEJ was his willingness to keep trying a slightly different format for his books when it would have been so easy for him to keep churning out more of the same. I know that some people like to diss the later books, but when I was in the age range they were written for, I loved them.

Another thing I like about WEJ's writing, is his willingness to explore rather grey moral choices. Should Lady Caroline have done what she did in the way that she did it?

As far as I remember, Biggles always disliked killing anything except for self preservation or the cooking pot. Bertie did some big game hunting in his youth (mentioned in the appropriately titled Biggles Hunts Big Game).
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Re: Biggles Sorts It Out

Postby kylie_koyote » 05 Sep 2017, 11:44

One of my favorite "moments" in the series comes from this book - a moment when Biggles briefly mentions his fall into the bottle at the end of WW1. He admits that he tried to drown his troubles in alcohol and got shot down as a result. "Never again" he says. It's a telling glimpse into his character, for me.
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Re: Biggles Sorts It Out

Postby Frecks » 05 Sep 2017, 11:48

I think Bertie's big game hunting was also mentioned in Goes Home but of course that was an earlier book and a lot of people changed their attitudes later on.
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Re: Biggles Sorts It Out

Postby Tommy Smith » 05 Sep 2017, 13:18

There was one incident where a deer had been got by a crocodile and injured and I think Bertie was reluctant to kill it, which was a bit odd.
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Re: Biggles Sorts It Out

Postby Spitfire666 » 16 Dec 2017, 11:29

Tommy Smith wrote:There was one incident where a deer had been got by a crocodile and injured and I think Bertie was reluctant to kill it, which was a bit odd.

I am coming in a bit late here. This sounds like the one where the animal is wounded and the crocodile is killed and the animal escapes. The native men are put out because they wanted to eat it. Biggles sounded embarrassed when he explained he felt torn over it. It had managed to escape and he would not kill it, although someone pointed out it was likely to die later after being wounded.
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Re: Biggles Sorts It Out

Postby Frecks » 16 Dec 2017, 12:42

Is that Leopard of Zinn?
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Re: Biggles Sorts It Out

Postby Fairblue » 16 Dec 2017, 13:18

Frecks wrote:Is that Leopard of Zinn?

I'm not sure Frecks, but it was in Leopards of Zinn where the natives threw the body of an official found in the rest-house, to the Crocodiles.
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Re: Biggles Sorts It Out

Postby Kismet » 16 Dec 2017, 13:20

Tommy Smith wrote:There was one incident where a deer had been got by a crocodile and injured and I think Bertie was reluctant to kill it, which was a bit odd.

It might be Lost Sovereigns, but I'm not in a position to check right now.
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Re: Biggles Sorts It Out

Postby Fairblue » 16 Dec 2017, 13:24

Kismet wrote:
Tommy Smith wrote:There was one incident where a deer had been got by a crocodile and injured and I think Bertie was reluctant to kill it, which was a bit odd.

It might be Lost Sovereigns, but I'm not in a position to check right now.

You are right, Kismet. Biggles gets all philosophical.

The animal manages to get free and hares off.

Biggles, who had raised his rifle as if to shoot it, lowered it.
‘Much meat, Tuan,’ said Chintoo, reprovingly.
‘Yes,’ answered Biggles. ‘I should have shot it.’
‘Why didn’t you?’ inquired Ginger, in a disappointed voice. ‘We could have had rump steak for dinner. It’ll probably die, anyway. Every leech for miles will follow that blood trail.’
Biggles smiled sheepishly. ‘I had every intention of shooting it. But it suddenly struck me as sheer hypocrisy to save the life of that wretched animal only to kill it and eat it ourselves. After all, if that was to be its fate, the croc had more right to it than we had, being first on the scene.’
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