Day 257: Joan to the Rescue

The facts

William’s mother was, as he had foreseen, unsympathetic. “Well, William, I’m sure it serves you right. No. I know I wasn’t there, but I know what a nuisance you can make of yourself.”

  • Number: 24.4
  • Published: 1942 (1941 in magazine form)
  • Book: William Carries On
  • Synopsis: William is accused of a serious crime.


Mrs Bott is so impressed by the clairvoyant powers of Madame Montpelimar (“She’s so physic [sic] she could see right into the middle of next week!”) that she installs her at The Hall as a personal guru.

But she still remains her normal querulous self and happily confiscates William’s penknife from him when he makes a mess of wood shavings on her floor. William sets out to recover it from her bedroom, but unfortunately Madame Montpelimar – who is worse than just a charlatan and a fraud – spies his entry, and hatches a plan of her own.

Mrs Bott had been humbly, tearfully apologetic to William, offering him fantastic sums in compensation for the wrong she had done him – which Mrs Brown, much to William’s regret, firmly refused. Half a crown and permission to play in any part of the Hall grounds he wished, for an indefinite period, was finally considered to meet the needs of the case.
The next night William went to call for Joan. “You did jolly well, Joan,” he said.
“In a way I rather enjoyed it ,” said Joan.
“Well, I… I couldn’t have done it better myself,” said William, and it was a lot for William to admit.

So when Mrs Bott’s valuable diamond brooch goes missing at the same time as William freely admits he was pilfering a penknife from her bedroom, things look very bleak for him – there is a genuine touch of severity here, as with William the Dog Trainer, 21.5.

But Joan remembers hearing William tell her about his clever scheme in The Outlaws and the Hidden Treasure, 12.7, and decides to do a little detective work herself.