Never The Bride (Brenda and Effie #1)

Never The Bride

The Brenda and Effie Mysteries, #1 – by Paul Magrs

by Paul Magrs

Let’s begin with an admission: I began this series by reading books 2 and 3. That was not a deliberate decision, just an accident. So here I am, back at the beginning to see how it all began, before going any further.

In Never The Bride, Paul Magrs introduces us to a weird and wonderful set of characters, all of whom call Whitby their home. Nestled on the North Yorkshire coast, this small fishing town has become synonymous with gothic horror, thanks to Bram Stoker’s classic novel, Dracula. 

And it is fair to say that the town is as much a part of the story as the people who inhabit it. 

Reading these books out of order meant that I was already aware of Brenda and Effie’s backgrounds and the path they were on, but for anyone who is setting out on this journey for the first time, Never The Bride is a wonderful example of what is to come.

Paul Magrs has taken all the classic elements of the 19th-century gothic horror, sprinkling them with twenty-first-century humour and insight. I love the relationship between Brenda and Effie. They may be best friends but they do not always see eye-to-eye and the friction between them provides much of the book’s dry wit. In this, their first outing, they face not one but four mysteries: the truth behind the Deadly Boutique, the mysterious Green family, the strange manifestation at Effie’s junk shop, the strange goings-on at the Christmas Hotel, and Effie’s mysterious new bau. And to top it all, what is the Bitche’s Maw, and what has it got to do with Brenda and Effie?

Never The Bride is fun and an easy read. It has all the elements of a gothic horror without the tension and anticipation of doom. There are monsters, mysteries and mayhem, but all are delivered in a light-hearted way. Great entertainment from a talented writer. What I would say is that the following books are less fragmented with more involved storylines.