GIMLET'S ORIENTAL QUEST
First Published on 26th November 1948* - 191 pages
* This information is taken from a letter from A. P. Watt & Son to W. E. Johns in my collection
Original first edition dust jacket showing the price of 6 shillings
Later edition dust jacket showing the price of 6/6
A slightly unusual Gimlet book this, in that Gimlet makes no appearance in the story at all until page 97 (as does Copper) and that Trapper doesn't feature in the book at all. Cub has been invited up to Strathcarglas, Gimlet's sporting lodge in Scotland. We are told that Trapper has returned to Canada to visit his folks and the Copper has been delayed in attending on account of his sick mother. Cub has gone to Scotland alone, only to find that due to a misunderstanding, the lodge caretaker and his wife have gone on their annual visit to Edinburgh. Cub goes to stay at the Fisher Arms Hotel in nearby Auchrory, to await the arrival of everybody and does some fishing in the meantime. Whilst on the riverbank, he sees something suspicious. A man is being chased by two other men, who, it is later ascertained are named Smith and Gray. The man being chased hides something in a hollow tree and later is found drowned in the river. The man turns out to be Dr. Lander and Cub befriends his son Tony, as they were staying at the same hotel. The police don't suspect foul play but Cub and Tony do and the following day they go looking for the hollow tree. Unfortunately, due to heavy rains, the river is in full spate and the tree is washed away before Cub and Tony can get to it. They follow the floating tree downstream and eventually recover a sealed box from the tree hollow. The box contains a map and ancient Siamese writing. Tony and his father used to live in Siam. Tony then receives a hand written letter from his father, delivered in person by his father's solicitors, who had been instructed to do so in the event of his death. The letter explains everything. A Siamese friend of Dr. Lander, called Kashan Bhandu has hidden a fortune in jade and the map reveals the location. Only Kashan and Dr. Lander knew the location and Kashan has since died at the hands of the Japanese. In his will he has left his fortune to Dr. Lander and with the death of Dr. Lander it now belongs to Tony. The letter reveals how Dr. Lander was living in fear of a man called Tuanik, who is after the treasure and who then immediately arrives at the hotel! Tuanik and his henchmen, Smith and Gray, try to use force to get the map from Tony. Cub is hit on the head and it is at this juncture that Gimlet and Copper arrive. Tuanik and his men leave with a fake map. Tony agrees to go with Gimlet and his men to Siam to recover the hoard of treasure. Borrowing Freddy Ashton's yacht, called the "Sally", Gimlet and the others sail to Siam but they are seen on their arrival by Tuanik. Cub and Tony go ahead to stay at a tea house called the Little Lotus Flower and here they are kidnapped by "policemen" and taken to Tuanik to be tortured. Gimlet and Copper save them in the nick of time. They all jump from the window of an opium den into a Chinese junk and this is the illustration on the cover of the book. Going on to Kashan's former residence, now in ruins and overrun by the jungle, our heroes follow the map to the treasure. It is hidden in a coffin in a tomb on an island guarded by a giant crocodile. Tuanik and his two henchmen arrive and the crocodile kills Smith. Tuanik and Gray kill the crocodile in an attempt to save their comrade and then return to Gimlet's jeep to try ambushing our heroes once they have recovered the priceless jade ornaments. Here they are attacked and killed by one of Kashan's loyal members of staff. This is in revenge for Tuanik turning Kashan over to the Japanese during the war. The treasure is recovered and later sold for nearly a quarter of a million pounds. Tony wants to share this with the others but they refuse and only accept what they consider to be a fair proportion for the services rendered.
Gimlet's Oriental Quest
Subtitle - A "King of the Commandos" Adventure.
Publication Details - originally published by Brockhampton Press Ltd.
Click on the Frontispiece to enlarge it
Click on the Paperback above to find out all about the GIMLET Armada paperbacks and see the many DIFFERENT illustrations in them
The “Hampton Library” reprint – click on the above picture to find out more details