With his third adventure now available, here are some thoughts about unlikely hero, Hector Mortlake.
Working as a hack writer, Hector Mortlake when we first meet him is single and seeking inspiration. He embarks on a trans-European journey and, inspired by Chaucer, decides to collect tales from his fellow travellers with a view to deciding a winner. Hector is a bit of a prig but basically a decent cove. And he’s gay, which, at the fag end of the 19th century is not quite the thing to be. He meets a younger man named Cuthbert on the Orient Express and they team up to defeat a horrific Water Nymph. Hector enjoys lording it over his new valet although it is quite clear the pair are devoted to each other, and it is Cuthbert who most often ‘wears the trousers’, so to speak.
Hector’s past is much of a mystery – he’s remaining tight-lipped about his background but I suspect details will be teased out in future novels. We know he has aspirations to move in higher social circles and would love to earn enough from writing to be able to retire. Unfortunately, it does not appear that he is good enough!
The other love of his life is his car, Bessie, an early Mercedes Benz.
We first meet our arrogant narrator in KISS OF THE WATER NYMPH – an account that turns out to be his first bestseller.
His second exploit, XOLOTL STRIKES! turns out to be his first flop, despite being as outrageous and outlandish an adventure as the first.
Now, his third and craziest tale is available to the public – will Hector achieve his goal and re-top the bestseller list? Or will he be consigned to the bargain bucket of poorly-selling fiction?
Victorian hack Hector Mortlake and his trusty valet Cuthbert are at it again. This third outing takes them to the Scottish Highlands – but that’s just the start. A mysterious portal and a ghostly gang of ghouls threaten to separate the pair for good. With a host of new characters and their craziest story yet, Hector and Cuthbert deliver high adventure and shameless innuendo in equal measure. Fans of William Stafford’s inimitable style will not be disappointed.