by Captain W. E. Johns



X.            DESERT FLIGHT  (Pages 115 – 126)


Worrals and Frecks fly the Heron over Wadi Omar and take photographs.  There are tents pitched and it is clear that excavations are going on.  There is nowhere to land a plane, the nearest point where this would be possible is a sandy wadi some four miles to the north.  They fly on to the R.A.F. base at Hinaidi in Baghdad and go to see Professor Blake, head of the American Archaeological Mission.  He has known Doctor Bronfield about 30 years and describes him as tall and thin with grey hair and a beard.  He hasn’t seen him for three years but still gets a monthly report from him and is sure the handwriting and signature are Bronfield’s.  On looking at the photo of the dead female pilot Blake recognises her as an assistant to a man called Brunowsky, a Hungarian businessman who ran a business in Teheran in Persia.  He was a trader in ladanum, expelled from Persia due to involvement in theft.  Worrals shows Blake the necklace and he recognises it as a unique stone found by Doctor Bronfield in the foundations of Persopolis and subsequently stolen.  Worrals returns to the aerodrome at Hinaidi where their photographs have been developed.  Worrals thinks there is something wrong with the shadows of the central Palm Trees at Wadi Omar.  They are too short compared to the surrounding trees.  Worrals decides to have a look round Wadi Omar.  “We’ve got to be sure of our fish before we strike”.  Worrals wants to have sufficient evidence to tell Major Kenton and put “this fake archaeologist where he belongs”.