Mr. Mortman is the Timberland Falls librarian. At the library, Mr. Mortman leads a reading program called the Reading Rangers. Mr. Mortman tries to encourage Lucy Dark to read more classic literature, but the only book she's interested in is monster books like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. She asks whether White Fang is about a monster and she also asks if Anne of Green Gables has any monsters in it.
One rainy summer evening, Lucy leaves the library and realizes she forgot her roller blades. She goes back to the library after it has closed. While hiding, she sees Mr. Mortman reaching into his desk to procure some flies to feed to his pet turtles, which he keeps in a metal pan on his desk at all times. Lucy sees Mr. Mortman's head swell up, his eyes bulge out, and his mouth turn into a gaping black maw. Lucy leaves in a hurry and forgets her roller blades again and so she heads back to get her roller blades, but then the door is locked.
One week later, she returns to the library and after Mr. Mortman gives her a new book for the reading club, she hides in the stacks to catch Mr. Mortman in the act. After he escorts everyone out of the building, Mr. Mortman locks the door. Lucy says to herself, "This is boring." Then Mr. Mortman turns into a monster again! Then he eats some flies again. Then he picks up a turtle, chews up the shell, and swallows it. Lucy barely made it out of the library.
Later on, Mr. Mortman kindly returns Lucy's bookbag, which she had left in the library. He asks if she had stayed behind after he closed up, but she says no. He bids her farewell, as her mother pulls up in the driveway.
Lucy again hides in the library, alone, waiting for Mr. Mortman to change into a monster. Except this time, she has brought a camera to snap his picture. Once Mr. Mortman transforms into a monster again, Lucy takes his picture, but forgets about the flash and Mr. Mortman flies into a rage. There is a chase scene and Lucy escapes the library one more time. After dinner, Lucy races to the one hour photo joint to pick up her picture of Mr. Mortman. Except the photograph shows an empty desk in the library as Mr. Mortman did not show up in the picture at all.
Lucy and her friend, Aaron, tail Mr. Mortman from the library to his house. Lucy peeks through the living room window just in time to see Mr. Mortman indulge in a series of grotesque meals. First, he takes a big handful of fish from his aquarium and shoves them into his mouth. Then, Mr. Mortman chews up an entire snail, shell, and all. Following that, he slurps up an entire eel like a spaghetti strand. Lucy tries to get Aaron to come peek in the window, but he is off looking for a ladder to see into Mr. Mortman's house better. Lucy loses her balance and falls from the window. Aaron runs away from the house as Mr. Mortman exits the house and picks her up off the ground. Lucy makes up a story about how she was just there to tell him she would not be at the Reading Rangers meeting the next day. He offers to let her inside so she can call her parents for a ride home, but she does not want to go inside.
Forced to attend her meeting with Mr. Mortman upon her parents not letting her quit the Reading Rangers, Lucy braves the rain and returns to the library. Before he starts the meeting, Mr. Mortman gets up and locks the door. He tells her he can't let her leave. He starts to make his move towards her when she leaps up and attempts to escape. It seems dire but then she comes up with the bright idea of tearing out a drawer of the card catalog, spilling the contents on the ground. Mr. Mortman, though still a monster, is also a librarian and he stops his pursuit of Lucy to organize the cards. Lucy runs out into freedom. She also runs out into Aaron who had been hiding in the library. Turns out he saw Mr. Mortman turn into a monster and is willing to tell her parents.
Lucy and Aaron tell Lucy's parents about Mr. Mortman and they respond with, "Well, I guess we have to invite him to dinner." A few nights later, Mr. Mortman shows up for dinner. The family makes polite small talk with the librarian who eventually inquires as to what is for dinner and asks the father to repeat himself. The father says "You are!" again and he starts getting scared. Then Lucy's parents, who are monsters themselves, eat Mr. Mortman alive off-screen as their children cheer with joy.
Mr. Mortman appeared in the televised adaption of the series. While he is still eaten by Mr. and Mrs. Dark, they also mention that Mr. Mortman is the first monster to come into their town in 20 years besides them where they don't want their children to tell anybody else.
Television and film
- Television series:
- Eugene Lipinski (Television Series)
- Eugene Lipinski, the actor who played Mr. Mortman, later voiced Rocky in Night of the Living Dummy III.
- In the original draft of the story, Mr. Mortman would have been eating children, but that idea was scrapped because it was thought to be too gross for Goosebumps. Ironically, some monsters in later books, including King Jellyjam, Mrs. Maaargh and King Tuttan-Rha (though he only wanted hair from Abby Martin) would intend to do that.
- In Goosebumps HorrorTown, Mr. Mortman's first name is said to be Eugene.
- This is likely an allusion to Eugene Lipinski, the actor who played Mr. Mortman in the television adaptation of The Girl Who Cried Monster.