THE FLY BOYS : SKY-JACKED
Hardback edition on WH Allen and paperback on Star later in the same year. The hardback edition has a slightly different cover and a different blurb on the dust jacket. It also identifies the photographer of the cover as Beverley Le Barrow. Lord Google identifies Beverley as a top book designer/photographer of the era who did several Ian Fleming Bond books amongst others.
No official dedication as such but in my second hand paperback copy is the handwritten message: "To Helen on her birthday, with love from Plummo 1984 xx"
This is the cover shot that got Stan in trouble with the owners of the Dorchester Hotel - and it's easy to see why! The Sheik is boss-eyed and gormless looking and he has a girl in a candy-stripe stiny bikini spoon feeding him and draping a pearl necklace across his forehead. However - unlike some of the Morgan covers - this one at least relates to the story and shows that finally SOMEONE in the politically-incorrect artwork department had read the book! The Sheik is pretty much as described - as is the Glamour Airlines Air-Hostess uniform, however it's horribly dated so we give this 1/10. (No doubt the Sultan of Brunei would have approved of an alternate cover that depicted "Sugar" Sweetman being stoned to death for his open homosexuality...)
The third and final installment of The Fly Boys trilogy sees the crew being skyjacked (hijacked by another plane whilst still in the air!?) and forced to land on a fictional island in the Gulf of Arabia. All the Arabs have enormously daft puns for names - Abba Ben Arnha, Ib Ib Hoorah, Packyah Kitbahg etc etc. An enjoyable comedy romp that owes more than a little to the "Carry-On Follow That Camel" comedy ethic, but the terrible puns and stereotypes have tendency to ruin what is in fact a much better story than the previous book "Flyboys In London". You get the impression that the tale is far from over when the final page turns and they are back on a flight path to Australia. A shame that the series didn't continue and was somewhat in the shadow of the Tobin novels.
It should also be noted that for all the somewhat disrespectful laughs being had at the expense of Arab culture - Stan clearly had a good understanding of it - as shown in his thriller "Laura Fitzgerald" (written shortly after Skyjacked) where the same culture is dealt with much more sensitively and fairly.
8/10 for the story, not so much for the silly Arab names