Biggles and the Gun Runners
This is the 87th Biggles book to be published. The book was originally published by Brockhampton Press in September 1966. As with all of the later Biggles books it is an Air Police adventure where Biggles and his cohorts are based at Scotland Yard in London under Air Commodore Raymond, although as normal this does not stop them chasing around the world after criminals.
As the title to the book suggests, Biggles is on the hunt for some international gun runners. Quoting from the wrapper front flap gives us a flavour. "Biggles advertises his Services in the hope that he can pick up the trail of a gun-running racket which is causing international concern. The Mysterious character of the Count who answers his advertisement, and the suspiciously high salary he offers, suggests to Biggles that he might be on to something big. When he is shot down, Biggles decides that the Sudd - 400 miles of mud and water - is no place for a picnic, let alone a big commercial airliner."
It is conventionally thought that there is only one hardback version of this book which would be a 1st edition 1966 . However my research has led me to believe there are actually two versions of the 1st edition. The first of which would be considered the true 1st would have light blue boards and the width of the front wrapper flap 98mm with a price of 10/6 net.
The 2nd hardback version would date to approximately 1971, as there are two prices on the front wrapper flap of (60p) and 12/- Net. The wrapper front flap is also slightly narrow at only 82mm. The boards are red with gilt titles to the spine. However I have found one version which has blue boards but with a later wrapper - my suspicion is that the previous owner put on a dust wrapper from a different book. . The two hardback versions in all other respects are identical, and according to the copyright page are 1st editions.
The print runs of the later Biggles books gradually got smaller making many of the 1960's titles very scarce. This book is no exception and consequently is highly collectable, commanding a high price. Paperback editions were published by Knight Books in 1971 and 1974 making the book more accessible for the reading fan of Biggles. This edition was also published in four languages other than English.