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Conjugal Rites by Paul Magrs

01/09/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Conjugal Rites in the USA - or Buy Conjugal Rites in the UK

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pub: Headline. 332 page hardback. Price: 19.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-7553-4641-7.

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Effie has become addicted to the late night radio show in Whitby and her friend Brenda is concerned. More so when she finds the whole town is up late. Soon she is in investigating mood and discovers an old adversary she has managed to shut down before.

It would not be so bad if Brenda wasn't on the run from her own past. She likes it in Whitby, feeling safe and part of the community. She can forget she is made of spare parts and re-animated to be bride to one of the most infamous monsters in history. Except she can't forget because Frank is coming after her. She'd rather be single, having made a nice life for herself and being emancipated doesn't want Frank spoiling everything.

Meanwhile, up at the Christmas Hotel, it's always turkey on the menu and false jollification. Every day is Christmas there and it's presided over by evil landlady Mrs Claus, who is not our Brenda's biggest fan especially as Brenda runs a rival guest house.

This made a very good radio play and the dialogue is very funny but the book suffers from meander-itus and a lack of a continuity editor. There are one or two blips and some lost threads leaving holes in the plot which are annoying. It seems to lose its way along with its protagonists in the second half. It does seem to come together at the end but left niggling knots in my consciousness. Over all, I prefer the audio plays that Paul Magrs writes and, although I like the characters, I'm not a big fan of this novel.

Sue Davies

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This book has 45 votes in the sci-fi charts

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