To those who haven't read the Brenda and Effie Mysteries yet, Hallowe'en is a perfect time to get started. The first book is 'Never the Bride', and it sees the arrival of a woman with a strange and mysterious past in the northern seaside town of Whitby, where she opens a Guest House and soon gets dragged into all kinds of terrifying investigations.
The series is six books long and, through a whole lot of mysterious, spooky and outrageous adventures, you'll get to know all of Brenda's friends, enemies and secrets...
All six books are available in paperback and as unabridged audio.
And if you've already read the whole lot, it might be time for a reread..?
I'll let the Bride do her own introductions...
My name is Brenda...
This is the tale of how I came to live in this new town of mine. I arrived here by the coast in the early spring.
I fell in love with the vastness of the grey sea and the brightness of the light. You see, I’d been hiding away for far too long in the shadows. Now I wanted to be out in the open air. Feeling that salty breeze on my cracked and ancient skin. I’ve been well nigh cloistered. Out in the daylight I was feeling positively macabre.
Such a long, long life I’ve had. And I don’t remember the half of it. When I say that, you must believe me. It’s like there is some kind of fault line in my head and many of my lifetime’s memories have drained away. Sometimes I think the human brain has capacity enough for only one average lifetime. And I have had much more than that. I am very old, you see.
But this is my new life. A quiet life beside the sea in this town of Whitby, which has protected itself well against the oncoming crassness of the ages. In the twenty-first century it still feels like a Victorian holiday town, with its higgledy-piggledy rooftops and stovepipes and labyrinthine streets. This pleases me for I am, at heart, somewhere deep inside my bosom, an old-fashioned girl. This place - with its busy harbour and hulking, rocky headland and gloomy ruins – suits me quite well.
It is here that I have decided to sink all of my savings into a Guest House, bang on the harbour. Here I will live as just one more landlady in a town overrun by that fussy, capable brood. And no one here will ever know my secrets, or anything about the many complicated lives I have left behind me. Here I will simply be Brenda. A little tall, perhaps, and heavyset. Slathered in too much make-up, covering scars that only I know about. Brenda with her towering black beehive. As I sit writing my journal by candlelight, here in my attic sitting room, my wig sits on its stand beside me. A fluffed up and neatly-coiffed sentinel in the moonlight.
I gaze past my wig through the circular attic window at the sea mist that slinks up from the harbour and at the stars above Whitby Abbey and I think over events during my first few days in this place. Already a great deal has gone on, despite the fact that the last thing I was looking for was any kind of mystery or adventure…"