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In the novel The Pale Horse, Mrs. Eileen Brandon is a waitress at an expresso coffee bar off Tottenham Court Road. When Mark Easterbrook pressed Poppy Stirling for more information on "The Pale Horse", she suggested that Eileen might know more about it.

Poppy was not sure that Eileen knew anything definite about "The Pale Horse" but said she had an idea about it and this led her to give up her job as a surveyor for Customers' Reactions Classified. This rang a bell for Mark because one of the persons who had died earlier in the "murder-for-a-price" service he was investigating, Jessie Davis, had also worked there. Poppy said she had gone to school with Eileen. She thought Eileen was "terrible", always had her hair very tightly permed, never wore stiletto heels and "very dim".

Despite Poppy's views, Eileen proved a astute and reliable witness for Mark and Inspector Lejeune. She told them that she had quit the survey job because she had sensed something wrong with the firm although she had nothing definite. The surveys did not seem to be run in a business-like way. The questions she was told to ask did not seem to follow any particular line of research but were instead rather desultory and haphazard and ranged from foodstuffs, to toiletries, patent medicines and cleaning products. She felt they were a cloak for something else. What seemed odd to her also was that she was never told what the surveys were precisely for. It was supposed that they were meant to supply marketing information for some manufacturing firms but the whole information gathering process seemed rather amateurish and unsystematic.

Even more important, Eileen had spoken to Jessie Davis who was also unhappy about her job at the survey company. She told Eileen she had heard that the whole set up was a racket of some sort and not what it seemed to be. She also told Eileen that at times she felt like "Typhoid Mary". She said that some of the people she called on to survey seemed to die "just from having one look" at her. Eileen also repeated for Lejeune other things which Jessie Davis told her which she did not understand. Jessie had said that she had seen someone coming out of a house (presumably which she had surveyed previously) carrying a bag of tools. This person had no business to be there. Secondly, Jessie had also asked Eileen whether she had ever come across a woman who ran a pub called "The Pale Horse".

Mark Easterbrook observed that Eileen fitted Poppy's description--after allowing for Poppy's particular point of view. Eileen's hair was neither "like a chrysanthemum nor an unruly bird's nest" but was waved back close to her head. She wore a minimum of make-up and had "sensible shoes". Her husband had been killed in a motor accident and she was left with two children to bring up.

Portrayals[]

The Pale Horse (1997)[]

In the 1997 ITV adaptation, Eileen Brandon is portrayed by Wendy Nottingham. In this adaptation, she has not quit her job and is still doing market research. In addition to having spoken to Jessie Davis, here Eileen is actually the one who does the market research at the Apex Gallery where Kate Mercer is staying. Eileen tells Mark Easterbrook that her questions were about the usual things: dental products, hair preparations, soft drinks and so on--something which helps Mark work towards the solution of the mystery of Kate Mercer's poisoning.

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