Warning: Contains Spoilers!
‘Dad!’ he begged, ‘Don’t! Let’s go! Leave this place – please! It’s horrible!’
Aufwader’s Thoughts: And now for something completely different! So far on Myth & Sacrifice we’ve had nothing but Deptford and Whitby all the way through, and, marvellous as those are, now it’s time for a new weft in the great Robiny tapestry.
The Wyrd Museum Trilogy is in some ways a departure from what has gone before – we have a new location, a bit of recent history in the form of the mysterious Angelo, and an entirely new strand of the Robin Jarvis universe, unfettered by the constraints of any previous books.
That said, this one came out in 1995, the same year as Thomas, and so we get wonderful lines like ‘Death and horror flooded the night’ and, ‘With the gunshot still resounding through the fog, he glanced down and saw a blossoming circle of red soaking through his shirt.’ The Robin Jarvis who had hapless mousies peeled in the night and blistered the veins of countless aufwader mothers is still here, but the blood and angst now has a vintage 1940s filter. What historical, folkloric, or otherwise esoteric mischief will our author get up to in this new, wyrd world? Let’s find out!
Matt’s Thoughts: I got a slight thrill from seeing the location of this opening prologue: Bethnal Green. In 2016, I took a trip to London with the family and made special effort to visit Deptford and Greenwich to check out all the locations from the Deptford Mice. But little did I realise that while I was staying there, I was actually closer to the location of another Jarvis book … The Woven Path.
At the time, I was staying with friends at Mile End in the East End of London, where all of this story takes place. In fact, on our first full day in London, my wife and I decided to stretch our legs and take the kids for a walk from Mile End to Bethnal Green to visit the non-Wyrd but nonetheless awesome Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood.
So when I read the setting for this story, I immediately perked up. In the passage where the moving van is heading down Mile End Road, the descriptions are very apt. It’s a strange part of the world, that part of the East End. It’s more gentrified now than it would have been in the 90s, but walking through it even today, you will go past a row of beautiful old terrace houses one minute, but then on the next block, you will encounter massive (and very ugly) apartment complexes – towering blocks of bleakness.
The streets are still very old and narrow, so while I know it’s a fictional location, the idea that there might just be, down one of those back streets, a creepy old building like the Wyrd Museum, is completely and utterly believable.