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A 2001 horror novel by Chris Wooding, set in an alternate-history London.

A young wych-hunter, Thaniel Fox, finds an amnesiac young woman- the eponymous Alaizabel Cray- in the wych-kin infested Old Quarter; a police detective investigates the latest in a long series of murders by this history's Jack the Ripper Expy, Stitch-Face. As Thaniel investigates Alaizabel's history- and the strange tattoo at the base of her spine- he discovers links to the Fraternity, an Eldritch Abomination- worshipping cult- just as the detective works out that not all of the murders are the work of Stitch-Face...


The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray provides examples of:

  • As Long as There Is Evil: An unusual case- until humanity has the collective maturity to accept our failings, we need someone to blame; since it's the Age of Reason, there's no supernatural force to take responsiblity. That's where the wych-kin come in...
  • Chekhov's Gun: It would be suicide for anyone but a wych-hunter to go into the Underground, would it? Thank God for our heroes' occupational choices...
  • Connect the Deaths: Hidden behind a series of relatively mundane deaths, the "Green Tack Murders" are part of the ritual to summon the friendly neighbourhood Eldritch Abominations.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The Fraternity are trying to bring about the return of the dark gods known as the Glau Meska. The world won't be an entirely happy place if they manage.
  • Crapsack World
  • Creepy Child: Devil-boy Jack; the small bald girl who appears in people's dreams and gives them the Crimson Fever.
  • Demonic Possession: Alaizabel is possessed by an ancient wych, summoned into her by the Fraternity.
  • Demon Slaying: Despite the name, wych-hunters aren't bothered about witches- they hunt the wych-kin, basically every fairy-tale monster ever.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Wych-Kin and the Glau Meska (or "Deep Ones") worshipped by the Fraternity.
  • Enemy Mine: Stitch-Face tells Alaizabel more about the Fraternity and then lets her go after he realises the Fraternity have got Thatch out of her. "I am a monster, Miss Alaizabel. But even monsters want to live."
  • Five Rounds Rapid: Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Towards the beginning of the book, Thaniel demonstrates his Improbable Aiming Skills with a long shot at a Cradlejack about to escape into the Thames, but many wych-kin require slightly more esoteric methods.
  • Fridge Logic: Apparently beggars are nocturnal now.
  • Functional Magic: The wych-hunter use Wards (magical symbols with weird powers and geometry) and Rites to aid with their job; Thatch and, later, Alaizabel can draw Wards without anything to draw with. Or on.
  • Go Mad From the Revelation: Having your body controlled by an ancient witch isn't exactly fun.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: The first hint that Doctor Pyke might know more than he's letting on.
  • In Which a Trope Is Described
  • Karmic Death: Stitch-Face is very unhappy that someone's been copying his work. He's off to... talk to Doctor Pyke about it at the end of the book...
  • Oracular Urchin
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Semi-averted. One of the core themes of the book is the idea of the Age of Reason; since the most recent war, the old superstitions have disappeared. Then the wych-kin arrive, completely defying modern science and requiring a return to superstition to work out how to beat them. And maybe their arrival just after everyone stopped believing isn't such a coincidence... This leads to...
  • Science vs. Magic: Many characters seem dubious as to the merits of the wych-hunters' methods. They work.
  • Thieves' Guild: mentioned, along with the society of the Croked Lanes- the beggars are organised in four gangs, each ruled by a Beggar Lord.
  • Religion of Evil: The Fraternity are the Secret Circle of Secrets variant.
  • Urban Segregation: We have the north side of the river, where people live; the south side- the Old Quarter, where poorer people work (and leave quickly before the sun sets); and the Crooked Lanes, where the beggars live.
  • Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Cathedral of the Fraternity- standard insane hyper-Gothic spire-covered monstrosity type, with the added bonus of being in the middle of an enormous storm.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Alaizabel. It didn't quite work out.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: Neatly sets up the alternate history setting with the second word.
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