The identical triplets Gertrude, Victoria and Colette Alumière are most certainly not witches, despite what everyone thinks. Their tendency to dress head-to-toe in black probably doesn’t help. Neither does their unhealthy interest in the inexplicable, which means they’re caught up in more than their fair share of mysteries in the otherwise sleepy and superstitious village of Hawkinge-By-Hythe.
The Alumière Sisters’ first three adventures feature a possessed two-headed, harmonica-playing calf named Curly; a plague of rats and a distractingly dishy shopkeeper’s assistant; and a horror film that comes to life (literally), not to mention statues that keep showing up in places where villagers least expect them.
Morgan Delaney’s fast-paced whimsy and satire has a light, humorous touch that reminds me of Terry Pratchett, Robert Rankin and Jasper Fforde. Delaney never wastes words with his sly and cleverly constructed prose, creating vivid and hilarious characters and situations. His prowess with flash fiction really shines through in these longer adventures.
A couple of fun highlights that tickled me in particular were the Hawkinge-By-Hythe residents’ fascination with the visiting professor’s obscenely colourful trousers, the post office proprietor’s inability to comprehend the concept of “fiction”, and the title of the fictional Perilous Drake mystery adventure novel: The Dratted Matter of the Battersea Hatter.
The Alumière Sisters’ first adventure is documented in The Devil Rode Out, a free short story prequel available exclusively to Morgan Delaney’s newsletter subscribers. I’ve been subscribed for ages, and really enjoy his weekly pieces of flash fiction – you can join here too if you like!
And then you can pick up the books, The Phoenix and The Squared Circle, in ebook or paperback (click through for all the buy links on Morgan’s website).
Here’s a brief TikTok video from when my copy of The Squared Circle arrived in the post a couple of weeks ago. Click through, or watch here:
Let me know if you give these adventures a go – they’re great fun!