Day 36: The Great Detective

The facts

William, asleep in bed, was dreaming of Mr and Mrs Croombe, handcuffed, and dressed from head to foot in red triangles.

  • Number: 3.10
  • Published: 1923 (1922 in magazine form)
  • Book: William Again
  • Synopsis: William decides to be a dressing-gown wearing detective.


For no particular reason, William – who has decided to be a detctive following a thrilling village play – deduces that Mr Croombe is the thief responsible for a string of local burglaries.

William frenziedly accused Mr Croombe of theft and murder. He referred to handcuffs and bloodhounds. He said wildly that he had had the house surrounded by police. It took about half an hour to convince him of his mistake.
“How do you know they’re their own things? How do you know he isn’t a gang?”

He so dogs the poor suspect that Mr Croombe begins to think he is hallucinating, and seeks psychiatric help.

As with all the best detective stories, affairs come to a denoument at a dinner party (unfortunately attended by a mortified Mr and Mrs Brown) but the Croombes are so grateful to William for not being a sign of impending madness that they offer him dinner.

And William decides on a new career as an actor: “On the stage, one could be a detective in comfort.”