by Paul Magrs
Once again, Brenda and Effie find themselves at the centre of a supernatural mystery. The two friends also find themselves the focus of far more attention than either of them would like.
in Conjugal Rites, all kinds of things come together in an adventure that takes the two ladies away from their beloved Whitby to, well, Whitby-in-Hell!
As you might expect, if you have read any of the previous books (I, for some reason, seem to have missed out on book 1, something I intend to rectify very shortly), not everything is as it seems in the weird and wonderful world imagined by Paul Magrs. Brenda and Effie themselves appear, on the face of it, to be two ordinary, elderly ladies, muddling along and learning a quite living by the sea. But beneath that bumbling exterior lie some very dark and sinister secrets. But secrets have a habit of bubbling up the surface, particularly if you are the kind of people who enjoy nothing better than sticking your nose into other people’s business.
In Conjugal Rites, it is Brenda’s past that has come to slap her in the face, in the form of her fiance Frank. The pair were literally made for each other by their “father”, Victor Frankenstein. But right from the start, Brenda has been very clear about not wanting anything to do with the human jigsaw puzzle, Frank. What Brenda can’t figure out is why Mrs Clause, owner of the Christmas Hotel and local crime magnate, has got to do with it.
But then again, does anyone really know what Mrs Clause is up to? And why has she arranged to fill her total with a gathering of ancient costumed superheroes?
Does any of this have anything to do with Mr Danby’s latest incarnation as a genial late-night radio host? And why is he using his phone-in to spread rumours about poor old Brenda?
All will be revealed in good time, but not before the ladies and their friends find themselves, quite literally, in Hell.
A wonderful tour-de-force of a story. Great characters and an intriguing story, held together with penetrating wit and style. I found myself chuckling throughout the book. Why Paul is not yet a hero in Whitby I don’t know. For me, he has put the town back on the map with his wonderfully descriptive view of the streets and buildings of this beautiful location.
All I need to do now is go back and find the first book so I can see how the whole thing started. I am looking forward to that.