Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Never The Bride (The Adventures of Brenda and Effie: Book 1)

Paul Magrs
Headline Review

Brenda has had a long and eventful life and she has come to Whitby to run a B&B in search of some peace and quiet. She and her best friend Effie like nothing better than going out for tea at the Walrus and the Carpenter or dinner at Cod Almighty and keeping their eyes open for any of the mysterious goings on in town. And what with satanic beauty salons, more than illegal aliens, roving psychic investigators and the frankly terrifying owner of the Christmas Hotel there are no shortage of nefarious shenanigans to keep them interested. But the oddest thing in Whitby may well be Brenda herself. With her terrible scars, her strange lack of a surname or the fact that she takes two different shoe sizes, Brenda should have known that people as, well, unique as she is, just aren't destined for a quiet life.

Magrs (pronounced Mars) is a Doctor Who writer (amongst other things) and it really shows as this whole book has a lightness and playfulness about it that made it compulsive reading with ideas straight out of the ‘Who’ grab-bag.

The (not a) Bride of the title is named Brenda and is the owner of a B&B in Whitby who, along with her neighbour, junk shop proprietor Effie, investigates strange goings on in her strange little town.  Brenda’s true identity becomes evident very early on in the proceedings and she is slowly revealed to have been ‘guided’ to Whitby to become the guardian of the place against the portal to Hell opened there.

Magrs makes use of War of the Worlds, Most Haunted (one of the most shameful programmes ever to appear on UK television) and Whitby’s most famous visitor and weaves them into the tapestry of Brenda’s world to produce a joyful, rollicking read full of good, old fashioned, unadulterated fun.

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