Monday, 3 October 2016

Meet young Alfred Hitchcock in a new series of exciting short novels


Young Alfred Hitchcock is an odd kind of boy. Possibly the oddest ever eleven-year-old to come from a family of respectable shopkeepers.

The year is 1910. Young Hitch lives with his sister Nellie and brother Bill, who are far too old to play with him. He is a bit of a loner, with an awful knack for getting into trouble.

Home is a flat above the family fishmongers in Salmon Lane in the East End of London. All around him, menace is brewing. This is a time of social ferment, known as the Great Unrest by historians. Young Hitch, or Alf, as he is called by his family lives right in the heart of a world of upheaval, new technology, social injustice and crime.

Some might call Alf naïve. His sister Nellie would call him an idiot. His head is in the clouds and his nose sniffs out intrigue. He walks straight into lamp-posts and finds himself bang in the middle of difficulties ...

... as in the first novella in the series, Young Hitch in Forbidden Flames, in which our anti-hero finds himself in bed (not literally!) with the Latvian revolutionary socialists whose struggle against imperialism and capitalism led to battles with the British police. The terrible clash on the streets of London has gone down in history as the infamous Siege of Sidney Street.

Alf is driven by a love for stories, dramatic visions and himself. Through his eyes we can take a fresh look at these years just before the first world war and the rise of cinema in Britain far before the domination of Hollywood.

Bring history to life in your head, just like a movie! Read the Young Hitch novels, available soon as an e-book download.


written taking inspiration from real-life history, using newspapers and first-hand accounts

To register your interest, email me at judemontague at outlook dot com and I'll let you know when the books are out.


3 January 1911


A rattle shook the warmth of sleep. Fritz’s dreams dissolved in a handful of hailstones.

The young man, fully clothed, rolled beneath the blankets, burying his head down in the pillow.

 A grey light blurred through the curtains. The window glass convulsed in its unsealed frame. It was colder than it had ever been.

‘'Get up,’ a voice urged him. ‘Get up and die.’

Fritz's tongue felt thick as soft bread in his dry mouth. He needed water. He would have to drag his toes across the freezing floorboards down to the threadbare kitchen. He had to wake up. But he wanted to sleep forever.

‘Peter?’ he said.

He opened his eyes to look into the face of William Sokolov. His friend’s eyes were staring back at him, filled with anger. Fritz followed his finger. He was pointing to the window.

A flash of metal attracted him as it would a magpie. Catching its silver line, he glanced up. Scanning the rooftops Fritz became aware, with a horrible twist in his stomach, of a glinting forest. An army of metal rods poked from every roof, from behind chimney pots and round corners, trained directly on his soul.

Looking around for his gun, Fritz realised it was already in his hand.

He heard Sokolov screech and a missile shatter the glass. On the pavement opposite a young man clutched his chest. His head hit the ground immediately afterwards, and blood began to marking the light dust of snow on the cobbles. Instantly, gunshot had burst open from the clouds.

He was drenched in horizontal, killing rain. Bullets flew past his ears. The shot pocked the plaster of the walls, bringing down the ceiling in a shower of dust. Little metal enemies had smashed the bare light into splinters of frost. The final storm was breaking inside the dirty tenement.

He had been waiting for this moment forever. Once the war had come to his father’s home and now it had chased him here to his anonymous corner of East London, this dirty, nondescript tenement. He was going to die here.

The only other one of their band left, William Sokolov crouched beneath the broken pane, balancing the barrel on the sill, emptying his pistol pointlessly into the forest of rifle butts.

He was shooting, shooting, shooting. It was the only thing left to them to do.

Fritz, trying not to sob, crawled on all fours to the bedstead where he reached underneath to drag out a heavy case. Guns, guns, ammunition. Taking a deep breath he grabbed a loaded Mauser.

Sokolov was twitching, the red mist descended before his eyes. He was shooting like a madman. The January morning began to stink of cordite. They were already ghosts, swimming in the gas of sulphur.

It was a macabre dance with death and they needed music. Fritz started to croak for victory for his homeland in his high tones.

As they fired and sang, sang and fired, questions whirled around his head. Where was Peter? He had promised them a future and their band of believers had followed him through the gates of hell. Now he had abandoned them.

Peter had promised that that his film of the Fern Flower would save their dreams. And to save his hope, Fritz had given the Fern Flower to that strange boy, Alfred Hitchcock.

It had been their trump of trumps and without it, he and Sokolov had no more cards left to play. They had to die.

But the man was glad he had given the film to the boy. At the end it had been the only way to protect the world they believed in. Because the revolution was coming. It would burn them all.

But the future of Latvian socialism, of their anarchist hopes would prevail. So long as that odd eleven-year-old followed his instructions.


Heroes were dull. Very dull.

Alf liked villains. He liked their wild crazy eyes. He adored their mad shifty gestures.

Sitting in the red plush seats of the Picture Palace, Alfred Hitchcock, eleven years old and eager to grow up, shook as a snake of fear rose from his toes, wriggled through his socks and slid up his sweaty legs.

On the wide screen in front the hero squeezed through a hole and made off for the horizon. He looked back and laughing, in what Alf thought was in a rather superior manner. There was a smug and distasteful manner revealed by the close-up.

The bereft villain shook his fist, silhouetted against the sky. His victim had got away.

‘Curses!’ Alf mouthed, twirling an invisible moustache. 

Baron von Bingsten was not acting in his best interests by drawing attention with his gyrating gurning gymnastics. But then Alf had never met a real baron. Perhaps all nobs, as his father called them, had over-dramatic movements. But he doubted it. He couldn’t test his theory. Grocers’ sons didn’t have the opportunity to mingle with the nobility. If only his Da had a title. Lord Leytonstone? Could be? It seemed you had to be an aristocrat to have a real adventure, if you went by the stories he read.

If his father really thought about Alf’s needs, and wanted to give him all the best advantages in life, he would get himself a title. But despite the lip-service, parents did not think of their children enough. His Da was always thinking of his business.  That was why he had dragged Alf and the Hitchcocks from a perfectly good house in Leytonstone to a crummy place like Limehouse.

Alf felt a tear spring to his eye as he dwelt on this injustice. Through the rosy mists of memory he thought of the beloved house he had left behind. There were roses wreathed around a porch and a mother waiting at the garden gate in a checked apron, greeting him with a warm smile.

Or was that the cottage in ‘The Vicar’s Daughter’, on last week? It didn’t really matter. The point was the same.

He licked a salty tear away, smiling to himself and settling down for the next picture wishing he had some more peanuts.

He idly wondered if he had enough for an ice-cream, but he did not have to pull out the lining to know his pockets were empty apart from the sticky caramel sweet wrappers. And a dead pigeon’s wing.

He was out of luck and out of pennies. Soon it would be time to go home. Back to the real world.



  1. I can't wait! This is such a clever idea.

  2. Most intriguing jude !, do let me know when the book is out !