The Brenda and Effie Mysteries: Review: 3: Spicy Tea and Sympathy

Brenda 3Brenda gets all tied up, and Effie learns more than she ought…

Paul Magrs’ series of genteel mysteries with more than a soupcon of the supernatural has really found its feet now, with Anne Reid giving an assured performance as Brenda, Effie, and all the other female characters, and providing sufficient differences in her portrayal of Brenda that there’s never any doubt whether she’s gone into one of her reveries (i.e. flashbacks) or is in the present day.

That’s helped by Magrs producing one of his typically convoluted script structures, starting in media res, then cutting back both to the start of the adventure in current times, as well as the aforementioned reveries, when Brenda is working for some suspiciously familiar sounding writers. (After writing books about both Tolkien and Lewis in the last couple of years, I really enjoyed these portrayals – and the little link to Magrs’ other work didn’t go unnoticed.) There are some clever pieces of dialogue (and at least one line that wouldn’t be out of place in Carry On Mummy!)

Dan Starkey and Stephen Critchlow provide sterling support as the Smudgelings – given the period, how about a little team-up between them and the sterling chaps from MI13 somewhere down the line? Scarified Smudgelings has a good ring to it!

Verdict: More tasty shenanigans with the unusual pair. 8/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Spicy Tea and Sympathy from Bafflegab

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