15 Jan 2010 (Amazon)

Brenda has retired to Whitby to run a B&B.  She likes an outing to Cod Almighty for fish and chips with her pensioner friend Effie, and they both like to keep their beady eyes on anything… strange that’s going on in town.  And strange there certainly is, from a Christmas themed-hotel with peculiar cocoa, to a beauty salon that turns back time a little *too* far, and a mysterious but very well groomed gentleman going by the name of Mr Alucard, who has updated himself somewhat since the old days.

Even Brenda and Effie have their mysteries, Brenda’s in her own past, and Effie’s in her family’s, and we’re soon on the rampage through Whitby’s finest oddities as they investigate, nose and cause havoc.   With a plot that’s divided into long episodes, a cast of amusing and brilliantly-created characters, and writing that brings to mind the deadpan northern one-liners of old Corrie episodes, Jane Gardam, or dare I say it, Alan Bennett.

An excellent read – in fact a re-read as I have picked up the second Brenda & Effie story and wanted to reacquaint myself with their doings.

This is what I thought of it the first time:

Bought 11 Aug 2007 (Bookends) – reviewed 06 Dec 2007
An excellent novel set in Whitby, where strange goings-on in a rejuvenation centre and a Christmas themed hotel are investigated by a couple of rather strange pensioners. A bit camp, with in-jokes about classic horror literature and a galloping plot, I really enjoyed this and couldn’t put it down.  As I probably won’t re-read (the plot is a very big part of it), I’m going to register it (even though it’s a signed copy!!!) and give it to one of two people who regularly go to Whitby, so they can read and release it there!

Can’t believe I got rid of a signed copy even though it probably went off to Whitby!