Viva Unstrebnodtalb!

One of my favourite Hooting Yard characters is Detective Captain Unstrebnodtalb. He made his first appearance long ago in the last century, in The Immense Duckpond Pamphlet:

The next day all hell broke loose. Early in the morning, as Blodgett polished the outside spigots, an ogre or wild man hove into view atop the southern hills. Its progress towards the House was implacable. It stamped through the bracken, vaulted the ha-ha with a single bound, negotiated the massive basalt wall with surprising elegance, and sprang towards the terrified Blodgett, whirling its hirsute arms alarmingly and making disgusting guttural noises. It was matted with filth. Flies, gnats, and tiny things emitting poisonous goo crawled all over its flesh. It seemed to be decomposing. It drooled. It picked up Blodgett, sank its fangs into his skull, and hurled him aside. Pausing momentarily to spit out particles of Blodgett’s head, it smashed its way through the wall of the House, oblivious to the fact that there was an ajar door three feet to its right. Once inside the House, its rage seemed to increase. It rushed wildly from room to room, obliterating the furniture, tearing up floorboards, destroying chandeliers, bashing holes into walls and ceilings, sucking the wallpaper off the walls. It chewed up banister rails and regurgitated them, disgorging them with such force that each rail acted as a lethal projectile. At least one of the urchins was impaled as a result. Five minutes after the ogre’s arrival much of the lower part of the House lay in ruins. Small fires were starting, but they were doused by water spurting from uprooted taps. Euwige and Jubble were still sprawled in the Bittern Room when the ogre eventually came upon them. It let out an inhuman cry. It picked at its sores. It became becalmed. Fixing it with a bemused stare, Jubble rose to his feet. “You know, there might still be some grog left,” he said, “Would you care for a drop?” The ogre pounded its fists against its own head. Then it blinked, shuddered, twitched. Jubble pushed a tin mug of grog into its paw. It gulped the sweet muck down greedily, then threw the mug back at Jubble, missing his ear by a whisker, as they say. Something in its manner seemed to change. By now, blind Euwige too was on her feet. She sniffed at the violent pongs emanating from the ogre, then stepped towards it. “Thank heaven! You have come!” she said, “Jubble, meet my dear friend Detective Captain Unstrebnodtalb! He comes from a far country, and his brain is hot.”

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