From Aberystwyth With Love – Malcolm Pryce

Oh joy. Louie Knight is back with another adventure set in Malcolm Pryce’s twisted noir version of Aberystwyth. There’s a mystery to be solved which requires a trip on the Orient Express[1] to Hughesovka, a little-known, if not legendary Welsh colony behind the iron curtain. The trip, thanks to what is later explained to be a misunderstanding, involves a detour to deliver a letter to a certain V Tepes, descendant of the original Vlad the Impaler, and not a vampire at all, oh no.

There’s lots of fun with ice cream, the tragic figure of Uncle Vanya, a missing girl, a drowned village reappearing from a reservoir during a drought, and much, much more. But the story almost comes second to the quite delightful use of language. There’s so much good stuff, that to quote the highlights would make this post nearly as long as the book, which would be a bit silly, really, but here’s a sample

Right at the beginning, there’s an excerpt from an old guidebook, In Deepest Cardiganshire, which talks of how a local peasant might tell you the stories of village girls being offered to trolls as brides, and how there seem to be

many hairy babies born in these parts. And he may add with a glint of pride in his eye that many of them went on to achieve great renown and bring honour to the village as school games teachers.[2]

Lovely. There’s the usual collection of odd characters, such as the Witchfinder, a man you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of. Come to think of it, I don’t think he’s got a right side…

It’s all utterly bonkers, seriously funny and very hard to put down, just like the rest of the series. And for more fun, check out the Louie Knight website.

[1] Which might account for the title…
[2] For the benefit of left-pondian readers: that’s what I believe you’d call a “coach”