BAT OUT OF HULL (BRENDA AND EFFIE)

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AUDIO REVIEW: BAT OUT OF HULL (BRENDA AND EFFIE) / AUTHOR: PAUL MAGRS / PUBLISHER: BAFFLEGAB / STARRING: ANNE REID, CHRIS PAVLO, ALEX LOWE / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 14TH

Bat Out of Hull gives us the second instalment of the Brenda and Effie Mysteries, following the story of elderly Effie and her neighbour, Brenda (whose own back story is no less mysterious than the adventures she has), who runs a Whitby B&B.

Following the events of The Woman in a Black Beehive, Brenda and Effie (read and performed by Anne Reid) are, of course, enjoying the entertainment at the Christmas Hotel. Tonight’s entertainment is a cabaret featuring the fading ventriloquist Barry Lurcher (Pavlo) whose act centres around the somewhat moth-eaten Tolstoy the Long-Eared Bat (Lowe). The evening’s entertainment takes a disturbing turn and soon Brenda and Effie are drawn into another mystery.

Before we can get comfortable with the characters and setting, the plot takes us to nearby Robin Hood’s Bay and, down a side street, a curious olde-worlde toyshop run by Mr Grenoble (Lowe). Events threaten to overwhelm our heroines and they must reach deep to fight off the forces of darkness.

Where the first episode introduced Brenda to Whitby but focussed on Effie, this story is almost entirely about Brenda and we find out more about her history though there is plenty more we don’t understand. Anne Reid tops her previous reading of the female characters and both are vividly realised under Simon Barnard’s direction. Pacing is good and some of the dialogue is rich and sensuous. The next episode can’t arrive too soon.

Where the first episode of the series was good, this is excellent. The prose sparkles, Anne Reid shines and the incidental sound adds magic to a great story. Roll on April and episode three!
 

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