Never the Bride by Paul Magrs

21 August, 2010

I was so excited to read this because it featured two intrepid yet eccentric women solving mysteries in Whitby! What’s not to like? This was the book I chose to take with me on my most recent jaunt to Paris, the city of Grand Marnier crêpes, but I must confess that it took me a good couple of pages to really get into it. Never the Bride by Paul Magrs is a pretty light read but with dark themes as befits a gothic mystery. At one point I thought it might be just too easy. But as I read along, Magrs kept surprising me with what he kept throwing into the plot. One after another, all the gothicky things I love cropped up in unusual circumstances and combinations and by the end, I just fell in love with the whole concept of the book.

Brenda runs a clean and proper B&B in the seaside town of Whitby next to her friend Effie’s shop of curios (those in the know will be aware of the importance of this town in gothic lore*). But Brenda is hiding something and no one can truly run away from their past. Mix in a suspicious beauty spa where clients actually do get younger, some extremely proper and jolly guests at the B&B, the Christmas Hotel where it’s always Christmas and a handsome stranger who puts Effie under a love spell and who knows what will happen.

This book was a lot of fun, especially if you like gothicky mysteries with a large dose of humour. I couldn’t stop laughing once I understood Magrs’ choice of title. I love the character of Brenda with her world-weary yet naïve outlook on life, her mysterious past and her kindness. And her friendship with Effie is priceless.

I read this as part of the Thriller and Suspense Challenge 2010.

*Hint: Bram Stoker’s famous novel beginning with D!

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5 Responses to “Never the Bride by Paul Magrs”

  1. gaskella Says:

    I so loved this book and why I’ve not got round to reading the following ones I don’t know. I must go and find them and promote them up the TBR immediately!

  2. savidgereads Says:

    If you liked this then you have to read the follow ups because they are wonderful. I have spaced them out over quite some time and its nice to have one too look forward to. I really want to read the next one on my list ‘Hells Belles’ but I worry that as a fellow judge of the Green Carnation people might think I was being favouritist!

  3. chasing bawa Says:

    gaskella: It actually made me want to go back and read the gothic classics again, such as Frankenstein and Dracula. If only I had the time…

    savidgereads: Oh, I will read the others, don’t worry! You can’t help liking the books you like, is what I’d say. But I guess you have enough books to read for the Green Carnation prize judging. Good luck!


  4. Wow, this really threw me for a minute, because I live not far from Whitby. Whitby, Ontario, that is. Sadly, this one has no gothic connections whatsoever…

    • chasing bawa Says:

      Ha ha, you had me there for a second. I was just thinking how jealous I was when I read your second sentence. I have yet to visit Whitby, but I need to wait for a cold, dark and stormy day.


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