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Publisher's Summary

When notorious gangster "Fat Sam" Mahood is murdered, the chief suspect is arrested nearby. But he seems to have suffered a breakdown. Incarcerated in a mental institution, he's known only as the Man in the White Suit. The suspect remains an enigma until Nurse Brenda calls on Mystery Man, Belfast's finest mystery bookshop owner, to bring his powers of investigation to bear....

©2012 Colin Bateman (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Why do I love the Mystery Man?

Stephen Armstrong's deadpan delivery combined of Colin Bateman's hilarious characters is delightful. This installment had plenty of twists and turns and had me hooked from the very beginning. I'm going to go back and listen to them all again. The characters are well developed and the story is fast moving and engaging.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Alison
  • 06-27-13

Not as good as the other Mystery Bookseller books

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

These books were my first foray into Crime Fiction, and there's so much more to them than just the detective story; they're very quirky. So if you're not a fan of the genre, give these a go.

What was most disappointing about Colin Bateman’s story?

The writing was a bit of a let down in this one; it wasn't as funny, and actually giving Mystery Man reasons for his odd personality takes away from, rather than gives to, what I liked so much about him.

What about Stephen Armstrong’s performance did you like?

Stephen Armstrong brings the character to life beautifully. I actually think the audio books will be better than reading them.

Do you think The Prisoner of Brenda needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

It seemed like it was the last one. Given that it wasn't as good as the others, the Mystery Man is probably best put to rest regardless. It's a shame though, I liked this series much better than Bateman's other works.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Pete
  • 04-10-13

Laugh out loud. I did, several times.

Another very enjoyable outing for the Mystery Man, the owner of No Alibis, the finest crime fiction bookstore in the whole of Belfast (according to the Mystery Man himself). Those of you who have read previous Mystery Man (MM) books will need no introduction - for the rest of you, the narrator of the story is a bookshop owner and part-time detective who takes on cases brought to him by people who have nowhere else to go (or in some instances, cases that simply intrigue our MM). Given that he is borderline autistic, a massive hypochondriac, and an imbiber of huge quantities of pills and medicines of dubious efficacy, it is a wonder that he is able to hold his own in the big bad world outside his book store.



The main premise of this story is that MM, a former mental patient himself, is "employed" by a mental home nurse, the Brenda of the title, to find out the identity of one of her patients, the Man in the White Suit, who she is convinced could not be responsible for the murder he has been incarcerated for. The problem is that the Man in the White Suit never utters a word, and as a result he is a mystery wrapped in an enigma that no-one can solve. Except perhaps the Mystery Man!



The book was very ably narrated by Stephen Armstrong (it had to be an Irish person reading this, no other accent would have worked as well), and his dry delivery really has had me laughing out loud on numerous occasions.



Thoroughly recommended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Revmama
  • 01-03-16

crap ending !

This was my forth mystery man book.enjoyed it right till the ending which was unnecessary and silly. and I'm glad this was the last in the series. VERY disappointed.

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  • Impy
  • 06-19-15

Quirky crime story but worth listening to.

This was a new author for me but am so glad I tried. A crime with laugh out loud (which I frequently did) dry humour, whilst moving the story along. Throwing insights into the strange happenings in a book shop and their owners personality. Give a try well worth it.

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  • clanz
  • 04-04-15

For fans of the Bookshop Owner with No Name

Not a bad story by any means but certainly not the best of Bateman nor this character. Maybe the Mystery Man has ran out of originality.

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  • Adele
  • 10-09-14

Loved it

Colin Bateman can't go wrong. I loved Stephen Armstrong's narration too. Great story and engaging narration.

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  • Jane
  • 04-13-14

Genuine dark humour

Would you consider the audio edition of The Prisoner of Brenda to be better than the print version?

I haven' tried the written version, although I have read some of Colin Bateman's other books; Stephen Armstrong paints a perfect character and brings it off the page

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Prisoner of Brenda?

It is very funny if you give it a chance, I actually laughed out loud listening to it. I like the main character's stay in the hospital best.

What about Stephen Armstrong’s performance did you like?

I love his accent and he has a great sense of timing and pace.

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  • Linda
  • 05-31-13

The Man with No Name You will laugh out loud !!!!!

Colin Bateman has again regaled us with the adventures (Or misadventures) Of the man with no name. Superbly bought to life once again by Stephen Armstrong such a wonderful brogue.

It could be very easy to rehash with the main character but he always feels new with each read despite the same quirks.
Do enjoy this wonderful amusing writer and divine narrator

  • Overall
  • jennifer
  • 04-07-13

Great voice

Original story well written. What makes this audio book for me is the narrator. He really brings the central character to life and makes him likeable despite being a real oddball. If you are looking for detective fiction with a quirky sense of humour this book is for you.

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  • Flower Girl
  • 05-18-15

Clunky Narration Spoiled iIt For Me

I don't know if I would have enjoyed the story although it did sound promising, if I could have stood listening to the style of narration! Shame, as the reviews were good 😞 Thank goodness for the Great Listen Guarantee!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful