by Captain W. E. Johns



IV.           PLOT AND COUNTERPLOT  (Pages 44 – 59)


Worrals, Frecks and Nimrud walk the main streets of the town, getting their bearings.  They are followed by the hook nosed Arab.  Nimrud hides in a dark doorway and grabs the man as he passes.  He then threatens him with a knife to get information.  The Arab, from a tribe known as Zogorites, says it is known that they “possess an amulet, a black stone of great potency”.  It will take them into places wherein no stranger could enter and live.  The Arab is after the reward to get it back.  At Worrals request, Nimrud releases him with the threat that if he sees him again, he will kill him.  Worrals goes on to see Major Kenton.  She asks him to start a rumour that an unknown Arab girl has been found wandering in the hills near where the plane crashed and she seems to be suffering from memory loss.  She wears a curious necklace that may help to establish her identity.  Worrals will then play the part at the Jewish hospital.  Returning to their hotel room, Worrals notices that her nightie and Frecks’ nightie are now on the wrong beds.  The chewing gum on the balcony doors is now on the floor and the bag containing the dead girl’s clothes has been interfered with.  Calling Nimrud to help investigate, he strikes a brass coffee table and something in Worrals’ bed moves.  It is a snake, a horned viper, and Nimrud kills it.  Worrals goes to make enquiries about the French officer in the room next door, but he has left.  Searching the room, they find a woman’s hankie that smells of ladanum.  The two girls decide to arm themselves with their automatics.  “If the other side is going to hand out snakes, I’m prepared to hand out slugs”, says Worrals.