Biggles - Secret Agent

JOHNS, Captain W.E. (author). Howard LEIGH and Alfred SINDALL (illustrators). Biggles - Secret Agent.

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JOHNS, Captain W.E. (author). Howard LEIGH and Alfred SINDALL (illustrators). Biggles - Secret Agent. London; Oxford University Press. 1940.

8vo. Original mid-blue cloth boldly and pictorially blocked and lettered in black with a silhouette of a plane and trees to spine and a parachutist to upper cover, top edges blue, preserved in original pictorial dustwrapper; pp. [viii], [9]-255; with full colour frontispiece and 6 illustrations in black and white; externally fine, and uncommonly bright, with sharp corners and a little spotting to fore-edge of book block; internally equally fine, without ownership marks or inscription and without a spot, in an unusually attractive, complete, and unrestored original dustwrapper with a little light overall dusting, very slight facing to spine, small nicking and rubbing to head, a little associated small creasing and a single narrow chip to tail (7 x 4mm); rare in dustwrapper.
First edition (4.5cm thick) listing two titles from the same year; Biggles In The Baltic and Biggles in the South Seas on the verso of half-title, protected by the first issue dustwrapper which mentions titles up to and including Biggles Flies North, which was published the previous year. This title was subject to the War Costs price change from 3/6 to 4/-. The wrapper was therefore printed without the price and stickers were applied in some cases. This one is without. No other copies in dustwrapper located on the commercial market at the time of cataloguing.
Professor Becklinder, a naturalised Lucranian, is discovered dead in dubious circumstances, while on sick leave from England. He had recently developed a formula for a deadly poisonous gas. Biggles is sent, by British Intelligence, to discover whether the scientist is truly dead or, if not, who has captured him and is holding him hostage.