Day 209: William to the Rescue

 The facts

The visitor was a large fat man with a round jolly face and a jovial manner. He wore spectaclesand had a head that was completely bald except just at the back. One look at him, in fact, told William that here was the villain from the film miraculously come to life.

  • Number: 19.3
  • Published: 1937 (1936 in magazine form, originally titled William the Spy-Hunter) – not to be confused with the 1926 story, 8.10, of the same name.
  • Book: William the Showman
  • Synopsis: William takes on a suspected spy.


William was obsessed with spies before he went to see the film; after he came out, his whole life revolved around his determination to root out the various spies he believed to be inhabiting every corner of his village.

“Hello,” said William in a propitiatory manner. “I say, it’s nice for you having a father in the army,”
he went on, with what he fondly imagined to be a master-stroke of finesse.
The girl took another bite from her apple and still stared at him without answering.
“Oh, I believe it’s the navy he’s in, isn’t it?” went on
She removed a small caterpillar from her apple in silence then went on eating.
“Now I come to think of it,” said William, “I believe I heard he was in the air force?”

When Mr Brown welcomes an exalted business partner to dinner, a partner he is determined to impress, and William sees that said businessman looks exactly like the spy from the film, things are bound to go wrong.

Unlike in William and the Spy, 13.1, though, when he stalked a geologist who turned out to be perfectly innocent, Mr Brown’s friend actually may not be as innocent as he seems.