Richard Harland's Vicar of Morbing Vyle

home navigation bar world hakerliberator wolf kingdom the black crusade other books author writing tips
Publisher's Warning

What is the machine that Mr Caulkiss is constructing in his laboratory?

Who are the 'Little Ones' that Craylene Caulkiss is feeding in the cellar?

What is the purpose of the Box of Tools?

Why does Mr Scrab live under a grating in the back yard?

Why does Melestrina Quode keep talking about 'the Great Return'?

What makes a pair of underpants go scurrying across the floor?

And who is the Vicar of Morbing Vyle?

download a complete pdf file of The Vicar of Morbing Vyle for free

The Vicar of Morbing Vyle is a GOTHIC FANTASY for adults or older. Almost as GOTHIC and almost as FANTASTICAL as its prequel The Black Crusade!



A hundred years ago, a series of terrible murders was committed in the village of Morbing Vyle. Now the place lies hidden behind a forest of burned-out blackened trees, and people in neighbouring towns prefer to forget it ever existed.

But Martin Smythe rediscovers it, following an old signpost and a hidden path. All that remains is a vicarage and a vast building site.

Eccentric characters inhabit the vicarage: Mr Quode, Melestrina Quode and their son, Baby Panker; Mr Caulkiss and his wife, Craylene; and Mr Scrab, kept outside in the back garden. They make Martin welcome - but there's a price to pay.

Ignorant of his own danger, Martin investigates. What strange religious belief drives these people to try and build the largest church in the world? If they're so religious, why is Mr Caulkiss obsessed with mechanical inventions, why is Mr Quode obsessed with gourmet cuisine? Martin is sure that the mysterious Vicar is at the bottom of it all.

Then he discovers that he is no longer free to leave . . .

The Vicar of Morbing Vyle is published by Karl Evans Publishing. Order through your bookshop, or order by mail.



Terry Dowling, Saturday 8th May, 1993, The Australian

Off the Map

Gothic fantasy doesn't get much of a look-in Down Under, but Richard Harland's story uses traditional modes to serve up some fine classic shudders.

Martin Smythe, an Aussie at Cambridge, becomes more and more intrigued by an East Anglia village which seems to have vanished both from maps and living memory. After questioning folk at New Morbing with little success, he dares go beyond a burned-out forest (whose trees still curiously retain their heat), finds the foundations of a gigantic church and ends up at the vicarage, snared in the sinister schemes of its distintly odd occupants: Messrs Caulkiss and Quode and their good ladies, characters cut from the same quirky cloth favoured by Mervyn Peake and Charles Dickens, with a dash of Machen and Lovecraft thrown in.

The result is often hilarious, sometimes gross but very entertaining.


Van Ikin, September 18th, 1973, Sydney Morning Herald

Fanged Rabbits Invade Kingzone

The Vicar of Morbing Vyle is a wacky tale that doesn't break the rules; it just bends them into pretzels, and it doesn't actually bend all of them, so you never quite know where you are:


There on the floor lay a pair of my underpants. Motionless now - but strangely humped and bulging! How could they have got there?

And then I almost jumped out of my skin. All at once the fly parted and two small blue eyes appeared in the opening. Something was watching me out of my own underpants!


Researching a Cambridge PhD on Darwinism, the Sydneysider Martin Smythe seeks information held in the quaint old village of Morbing Vyle - only to find that no-one in New Morbing wants to give directions. He solves the mystery of old Morbing Vyle - in a venerable Gothic manner, of course - but it's an Anglo-Gothic solution to a totally non-Anglo and thoroughly contemporary scenario! There's the vicar and his masterpiece (for which he must paint the grass blue); there's Melestrina Quode (a sort of Gothic daughter figure turned vamp); and there's the precocious talking baby, Panker, who just wants to return to the womb (and is small enough to do so).

This is not 'straight' horror novel, but it's far, far richer than a spoof. Harland distils the essence of B-grade flicks and pulps, producing a romp that is pure celebration.


Map of Morbing Vyle

The Inhabitants of Morbing Vyle

Five Great Shudders in The Vicar of Morbing Vyle

Selected extracts

Publisher's Warning

NOTE: The publisher of The Vicar of Morbing Vyle is no longer in business and the book is out of print. However, the prequel to The Vicar is now appearing in bookshops: The Black Crusade, published by Chimaera Publications at $19.95.


Contact Chimaera at and ask them to re-issue The Vicar!




Copyright note: all written material on this website is copyright
1997 - 2015

Richard Harland.