on 25 July 2016
I have actually got the 1966 Armada version. This is the eighth and last in the Adventure Series of Philip, Dinah, Lucy Ann, Jack and Kiki. This starts when all four children are recovering from flu at the home of Bill and Mrs Cunningham. Mrs Cunningham is trying to cope without her husband Bill, who has gone off on a job again. It is term time, but none of the children want to go back to school!
Whilst the children are recovering, they listen to a Police Radio Play, which involves a police whistle and shouting "Police"! Kiki picks both of those up, and it is while she is imitating the police whistle that Bill returns home. He returns from work to let his wife know he has to go off again, and investigate a man the British Govt are suspicious of. Bill immediately decides to take everyone on the holiday as cover. This means they fly from Britain to somewhere in the Middle East, where they are met by a car, which takes Bill and his family to a small hotel until they go on the river trip. Bill shows them that the man he is after (Uma) is a master of disguises, but what he can't disguise is a scar on his right forearm. Philip also learns that there are snakes in the region (to Dinah's horror) and learns that the bargua snake is the most poisonous!
Next day, they go on the river with a launch hired by Bill's company, and with a man in charge (Tala). He takes them to Sinny Town, where Philip meets Oola, who works with his snake charmer uncle Bula. Philip discovers that the snakes mouths have been deliberately sown up! Later on, Oola comes on the launch, and is besotted by Philip. Bula has gone with the snakes and left Oola alone. The children and Tala get used to him, and Oola becomes quite a central character. He later brings Philip a present, which is a bargua snake with it's mouth not sown up. It is then found out the ducts from the teeth leading to the poison glands have been deliberately cut! Philip keeps the snake as a pet.. Soon after, the launch lands at Ullabaid, where the children disembark, and visit a temple. However they get lost, and when darkness falls, they are stumped. Oola however, has been following the children all day, and leads them back to the launch in darkness.
Uma then visits the launch in his own motor boat. he invites Bill and Mrs Cunningham to his house at Chaldo. Bill is forced to accept the invitation to avoid suspicion. Tala takes Mrs Cunningham and Bill to Chaldo, and leaves the children with Tala on the launch. Just before Bill and Mrs Cnningham set off with Mr Uma, the children are invited to a wedding dance by Uma's servant Jallie. Bill refuses.
Unfortunately, Tala is taken in by Mr Uma's servant, who then tells Tala to tell the children that Bill had changed his mind, Jallie then takes the children a walk to the village, but it is soon apparent that it is a trick. Philip shows his snake, and Jallie takes them back to where the launch should be. It has gone!
Enter Oola, who explains to Philip what happened, He finds Uma's motor boat, and a tied up Tala, They all get in the motor boat, and Tala sails for an hour, and then ties the boat up to a tree. Tala tells them that Bill and Mrs Cunningham have been taken to Wooti from Chaldo. In the morning, they set off up the river to Wooti, and call at Hoa village, where they were told Wooti is further on, about two or three hours away. After an hour and a half, they come to a bigger village, and Tala wants to stop, but Jack refuses because they have only been going an hour and a half. They carry on, and the river suddenly widens! Tala stops the boat, and refuses to drive, but Oola starts the boat again, annoying Tala who takes over from Oola on driving the boat. The river gets narrower and narrower, and Tala stops the boat, and finds that the river is moving the boat along.
It turns out that they were in a gorge. They were heading towards a waterfall, and Tala sees a break in the cliffs, forcing the boat to stop, and land in a cavern. They explore, and find a tunnel. They come to the end, and find it is blocked by old bricks. Tala smacks the bricks with his hand, and they disappear into dust, This shows another tunnel, and they go along it, meeting an old door that crumbled into dust.
Following that, they see some stone steps going downwards into the cellars. They are so steep that Tala has to use a rope and a Grappling Hook. They go back to the motor boat, and study one of Uma's old books, They solve the mystery of the river dividing, and find out more about the history of the treasure. They also trace the route of the river and villages, and find Wooti on the map. They explore the passage in the whole upwards, but are forced to go downwards again, as there is no way out that way. They have to go back down stone steps into the cellars. Storerooms are found, and treasure is found. They then realise there is no way out of the cellars going upwards. They then go back to the storeroom, where Oola ties a rope to the rock, and the others are climbing up graduallw when Oola hears knocking in the passage behind him, and lets the rope go slack, thinking it is the old gods of years ago. Tala thinks the same. The others realise it is Uma and his men doing excavating on their own. Uma and his men see the children and confront them. He also speaks to Tala in his own language. Kiki then makes her police whistle and pistol shot noise when Philip mentions the police. This frightens the men temporarily.
Soon after, a man comes to see the children and apologise. He offers the prisoners help, but Jack sees the scar on his forearm and realises that it is Uma himself and this is a trick. Philip and Jack confront him, and he gets his men to build a wall of old bricks leaving the children, Oola and Tala imprisoned. Philip then brings out his bargua. and flings it at Uma, who panics. Tala breaks the wall, and the prisoners manage to escape up the rope and up the shaft. This then brings them to the second shaft, which brings them into daylight.
When they get out, they find the men around Uma, who has been bitten by Philip.s bargua. This makes Uma confess everything, and he is taken to Wooti to see Bill and Mrs Cunningham. Uma is handed over to a policeman instead of a Doctor, and gets an awful shock. They go back to the launch, and say goodbye to Oola. The children are worried that they might go straight back to school, until Mrs Cunningham tells them that they are not going to fly home, but are going back by sea, so they wouldn't be home for a week or more!