Friday, 28 January 2011

Never the Bride

My previous encounters with Paul Magrs have been limited to his Doctor Who fiction, none of which quite tickled my Doctor Who sensibilities, being for the most part too strange and off centre. He did create a great character though in Iris Wildthyme, who would go on to be so ably voiced by Katy Manning in the audio stories made by Big Finish. I would have been reluctant to try any more of his work if I hadn't been tempted by the promise of a book set in Whitby that was endorsed by Susan Hill, being respectively a favourite holiday destination of mine and a thoroughly respected author by me. Never the Bride follows the episodic adventure of Whitby B&B landlady Brenda and her friend Effie as they encounter a series of mysterious strange events whilst attempting to hide their own considerable strangeness from the world.
This was a lot better than most of his Doctor Who work. It's quite light, still somewhat surreal and a nice place for Magrs to pour his Gothic fancies inspired by the writings of Shelley, Wells, Stoker etc not to mention their filmic incarnations à la Universal & Hammer. It's the bizarre mix of the strange and prosaic which gives the book something different. I'm still not sold on Magrs prose but he does have lots of good ideas and they seem a lot more at home in this setting. I think it just passes the mark enough for me to think about trying the next book in the series.

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