Day 184: A Night of Mysteries

The facts

“I’ll just run and thank him before I put it on.”
“No, you mustn’t,” said William urgently. “Honest, you mustn’t.”
“Why not?”
“Well,” William’s face looked set and tense as he searched for a convincing reason. “Well, for one reason he hates being thanked. He said most particular that he hated being thanked.”
“Well, you see, he said he was an author an’ he was very busy trying to get to the end of a chapter in his book. An’ he said he was going away very early tomorrow morning. Somewhere a long way off. Jerusalem or somewhere like that.”

  • Number: 16.11
  • Published: 1934 (same year in magazine form) – originally titled William’s Night of Mysteries
  • Book: William the Gangster
  • Synopsis: Robert acquires a fancy dress costume from a mysterious source.


In an unusual filial setting, William and Robert are invited to a fancy dress party together. Robert’s car breaks down on the way and his costume gets greasy and oily while he is trying to repair the car – so William boldly goes forth to ‘borrow’ him a replacement.

“Me?” William said. “I’ve never messed anything up. Ever. I don’t know what he’s talking about.”

This gets Robert into a tremendous amount of difficulty (from which William artlessly tries to extricate him with, “He’s not exactly mad”) but he ends up doing rather well out of it so all’s well that ends well.

A fun story – and ordinarily I wouldn’t mind that the plot mirrors that of another one so precisely. But when William and the Russian Prince, 16.7, is literally in the same book it does seem a little bit much.