Born on the night of October 13 and 14, 1886, the birthday of the Murray Twins coincided with the opening night of "Le Cirque Des Reves" after their mother - wife to the wild-cat tamer - suddenly went into labour. The twins were delivered backstage, with Widget being born six minutes before midnight, and Poppet being born seven minutes after midnight.
The twins spent their lives travelling with the circus, and eventually they developed an act which is reminiscent of their father's, although the twins performed with kittens.
The distinguishing feature of the Murray Twins is their bright red hair, which is extremely unusual within the black-and-white circus. However, their outfits match the circus' colour scheme.
Widget's outfit is described as black and made of every type of fabric imaginable with black boots, a military jacket and black gloves. Poppet's outfit corresponds to his, except she is clad in white.
Whilst the circus slows down the rate at which people age, for some unknown reason the Murray Twins are the only characters within the circus who are aging normally. Since the climax of the novel happens in 1902, the Murray Twins would be sixteen years old at the end of the novel.
“The past stays on you the way powdered sugar stays on your fingers … the events and things that pushed you to where you are now."
It is revealed that the Murray Twins have some kind of magical abilities, and it is suggested that these abilities were caused by the lighting of the circus cauldron on opening night. Celia deduces that the twins' powers are related to the time at which they were born - in Widget's case, as he was born six minutes before midnight, his abilities relate to the past. Specifically, Widget can 'read' an individual's past simply by looking at them, drawing out specific memories and relationships (for example, he easily learns about Bailey's relationship with his sister).