“Well, you see,” said Ginger, “this monster’s in this lake, and no one can catch it.”
“I bet I’d jolly well catch it if I was there,” said William.
“Oh, you can do everything, can’t you!” retorted Ginger.
“I can do pretty nearly everything,” admitted William modestly.
- Number: 17.10
- Published: 1935 (1934 in magazine form)
- Book: William the Detective
- Synopsis: The Outlaws attempt to capture a prehistoric monster.
This was a very topical story when published. That very month, the so-called “surgeon’s photograph” of the Loch Ness Monster had caused a public stir, and the news even reached the ears of the Outlaws.
And so it came to pass that Ginger, Henry and Douglas dare William to find and capture his own lake monster.
Even William’s fertile imagination could not conceive that a pond on whose surface ducks and geese swam unmolested in large numbers, and in whose deepest places cows stood and ruminated at their leisure, could conceal a prehistoric monster.
William really gets on his high horse in this story:
“Worms are prehistoric,” said Henry, who was disconcertingly well informed. “I read about it in a book. Once everything was worms. There was nothing but worms. We were all worms.”
“Oh, shut up talking nonsense!” said William impatiently. “I bet you were a worm all right, but I jolly well wasn’t.”
But rather to William’s surprise, they do actually discover a monster in a local lake – the very lake on whose shores Robert is attempting to wow his new lady-love Melissa by feeding her interest in ghosts.
These two threads of story come together to Robert’s disadvantage.