First Published in July 1951 - 191 pages


Original first edition dust jacket showing the price of 6/6.  Although this is a price sticker I am sure this was the original price.  1951 was an era of rising prices.

(Biggles Goes to School published in June 1951 was published at 6/- but the next book, Biggles Works it Out, published in October 1951 was published at 7/6)


This story starts with our usual four heroes travelling by canoe deep into the forest of Central America in British Honduras. Gimlet has been entrusted with a mission by the Colonial Office to investigate an attack on a professional orchid collector named Banford and his native porters. After weeks of travel our heroes arrive at a deserted Indian village, the scene of the attack. Our heroes led by their chief native guide, Jose, set out to find the jungle trail that had been followed by their predecessors. They come across a small hill, some two hundred feet high, and believe they have arrived at the ruined city of Uazatikel, thought to be in this area. They also find the jungle covering an ancient paved road. Further on, smoke is seen but it is necessary to return to camp before night falls. The next day, the same trip is undertaken but Cub begins to feel the effects of fever and is left to wait whilst the others go ahead without him. Four men capture Cub before he passes out. Meanwhile, Gimlet, Copper and Trapper have seen men working in the jungle apparently building something. They have a tractor, a saw-mill and some substantial buildings. Gimlet realises that there is an airstrip and component parts are being flown in. Returning to the place they left Cub, Gimlet finds him missing. Reluctant to leave without him, a compromise is reached when Copper elects to spend the night there whilst the other two return to the camp so that supplies can be brought up in the morning, including medicine for Cub. During the night, Copper is alarmed by a glowing human head. The next morning, he sees a man returning with a luminous mask. When Gimlet and Trapper arrive, they report that their porters had been scared by a ghostly visitor overnight. Copper creates some luminous ghostly faces of his own and places them on the track. Cub recovers consciousness in a bed and finds that he is being guarded by a native called George, who used to work for Blanford. He is being made to work by the white men here and he gives Cub some valuable information. Two men interview cub, one is Major Borloff and other is Professor Andrewski. They claim to be excavating on the site of Uaxatikel. When they go, Cub realises that he has no clothes or shoes, so he is effectively trapped. Cub gets George to go down the track to inform Gimlet where he is but George is scared off by Copper's "ghosts". Cub gets up and steals some clothing and a torch and wraps his feet up to protect them. Then he goes back down the track to find his friends. Meanwhile, Gimlet, Copper and Trapper are already here and have missed him. They have already seen their "ghosts" scare off a number of people, including a party of Indians sent to attack their camp. Gimlet surmises that what is being built in the jungle is some sort of rocket base. It would be ideally placed to fire on West Indian bases from the rear and so put the Panama Canal out of action. Gimlet goes to the rescue of a black man who is being whipped. This turns out to be George being punished for letting Cub go. This action results in a shoot out and George is wounded in the arm. Gimlet realises that Indians have again been sent down the track, this time with a white man to deal with their "ghosts". Gimlet and his men, taking George with them, must get back to help Cub who going to be attacked at their base camp. Cub has already taken steps to prepare for an attack. He has moved his porters and canoe to an island in the middle of the river. Jose is left up a tree to warn Gimlet on his return. A thunderstorm creates problems and the level of the river begins to rise to dangerous levels. The attacking Indians arrive and occupy the native Indian village and Cub's abandoned camp. When Cub sees an Indian attempt to fire a bow an arrow at Trapper, Cub shoots the Indian. Gimlet has arrived and Jose has given him information about the current situation. With Cub safe on the island, Gimlet has a plan and returns to the baddies' camp. Here he sees an aircraft, which he sabotages by shooting out the tyres. Meanwhile, Cub comes under attack on his island from the hostile Indians. They are in turn attacked by the Indians from the deserted village. Everything ends happily and Gimlet is able to return to civilisation and make his report. Royal Engineers are sent out to destroy the potential base and they find the skeleton of Major Borloff, who has committed suicide.


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Gimlet Off the Map

Subtitle - A further adventure of Captain Lorrington King, D.S.O., wartime Commando leader, and his three troopers, "Copper" Colson of London, "Trapper" Troublay of Canada, and "Cub" Peters, one time scholar at Brendalls School, Essex.

Publication Details - originally published by Brockhampton Press Ltd.



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