The final story in Paul Magrs’ quartet of prequel tales to his Brenda and Effie Mysteries sees Brenda regaling us with more of her memories, and making her true identity absolutely clear to anyone who might have had any doubts up to now. (Although the title might lead you to assume it’s a rather different Hammer icon to whom she is related.) There are some tantalising hints about other adventures that Brenda has had over the years, and I suspect a full-scale flashback tale may be on the cards…
Anne Reid gives another assured performance as Brenda, Effie and pretty much everyone else, with strong assistance from Dan Starkey and Stephen Critchlow, and director Simon Barnard makes sure that things keep moving at a brisk pace – there’s an action sequence towards the end that is so vividly scripted, performed and directed that you’ll swear you actually saw it. (And trust me, it’s an image that you won’t forget!)
The series – as with much of Magrs’ writing – is something of an acquired taste, but if you’re in the mood for genre tales with a very different slant, then they definitely fit the bill, and I hope that Brenda and Effie’s adventures will continue for some years to come.
Verdict: A suitably macabre and unusual final tale. 8/10