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Wildfire at Midnight

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,950 Ratings  ·  175 Reviews
Mysterious ritual murder on the beautiful island of Skye.
Paperback, 259 pages
Published 2005 by Hodder (first published 1956)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽
I have a collection of vintage Mary Stewart novels, and this one is only 175 pages in my 1963 paperback, so it's a very quick but enjoyable read. A bit different than Mary Stewart's other romantic suspense novels, this one has echoes of the old murder mysteries where a group of people in an isolated setting are gradually offed one by one, while the group frantically tries to figure out which of them is the murderer. The story is set in the mid-1950s, against a backdrop of Edmund Hillary's histor ...more
Misfit
Oct 31, 2009 Misfit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Page 142, "I turned to look back at Blaven, only to find that the mist was, indeed, rolling down the slopes behind us like a tide of smoking lava. Blaven was already invisible, and a great wall of mist bore steadily across the glen behind us, obliterating the afternoon."

Can that woman write or not? Seeking relief from her hectic life as a model as well as the crush for the 1953 coronation, Divorcee Gianetta leaves London for a vacation at rustic resort on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, although s
...more
Tweety
Mar 23, 2015 Tweety rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who wants page gripping suspense
Recommended to Tweety by: Dorcas
Oh. My. Goodness. What just hit me?

Giantta is a devorce, and with a little encouragement from her mother takes a much needed holiday… to the Isle of Skye. The instant Giantta sets foot on the island she knows something is wrong. No one seems to want to tell her just what is going on. When she gets to the hotel she doesn't have a chance to take it easy before she finds out that a ghastly mureder had been committed and that her ex-husband, Nicolas Durey is on the island, in her hotel. Everyone is
...more
Nikki
Oct 21, 2015 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, mystery, crime
It was a grey and drizzly day, this morning — even if it brightened up later — so I felt like turning to one of my comfort reads. Wildfire at Midnight isn’t one of my favourite Stewart novels, and indeed the sense of dread and atmosphere in the book makes it perhaps a touch darker than the others, especially with the moral conflict in the last part where Gianetta thinks she knows who did the crime.

The crime itself is pretty chillingly awful; I can’t remember if any of Stewart’s other novels feat
...more
Dorcas
Jan 20, 2014 Dorcas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*contented sigh*
I am so glad I decided to give Mary Stewart another go after being rather disillusioned with The Ivy Tree and Airs Above the Ground(which I never even finished). This book was the bomb it really was. Not A bomb, THE bomb, which is quite different!

A divorcee takes a much needed respite at a hotel on the Isle Of Skye only to find that along with an assorted group of climbers, fishermen, and writers, her ex husband has also turned up. It's not long before she is informed that a rath
...more
Sarah
I have to say this was my least favorite Mary Stewart thus far.

While the prose itself has her usual elegance & descriptive flair, the plot was simplistic & the characters were flat -- especially the narrator Gianetta. MS's heroines are normally sharp as tacks & on their toes re: suspicious happenings & romantic intrigue; they're not fooled by bland excuses & obvious red herrings, even if they're playing along in the eyes of the other characters. It takes a lot to befuddle a
...more
Olga Godim
2.5 stars
Serves me right to select a read based on something other than literary merit. This one fit into my PopSugar Reading Challenge, but unfortunately it was blah. Not bad – Mary Stewart never wrote anything bad – but definitely not her best book.
Unlike her other romantic fiction, which usually occurs in some glamorous sunny locations like France or Greece, this one takes the readers to the remote, cloud-shrouded Scottish island of Skye. The landscape is forbidding, the mountains menacing, t
...more
MomToKippy
Phew! I am so glad to have finished this. Because there are too many scary things lurking in the shadows here at night.

I've read only two books now by Mary Stewart but I have a good sense of her style. This story unfolds along the same lines as This Rough Magic. The nail biting, edge of your seat action/mystery scenes come to life. There are lots of quirky characters. Her heroines are younger, more worldly Miss Marples and seem to fall into the middle of an unfolding mystery despite themselves.
...more
Judith
Aug 11, 2014 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gianetta Brook, a lovely young woman with a successful London modeling career and a heartbreaking divorce behind her comes to the isle of Skye for a much needed vacation. Under her sophisticated veneer, is a vulnerable young woman still wounded and hurt by her ex husband's infidelity. It is 1953 and London is teeming with coronation crowds and the excitement of Hilary's climb to Mt. Everest. Her parents suggest she get away from it all by going to the Hebrides to rest. Within days she finds hers ...more
Nikki
Jan 27, 2012 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, mystery, crime
Mary Stewart's mystery/romances are my chicklit. So when it's raining out and I'm feeling lazy and such, they're pretty much perfect for my mood. I curled up with this one today and polished it off in an hour. If you've read any of Mary Stewart's other books, apart from the Arthurian ones which are a whole different kettle of fish, you'll be pretty familiar with the formula: pretty high class woman who works for a living but has ties to the aristocracy, still girlish and a bit naive, gets swept ...more
Angie
Jul 07, 2015 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, suspense
Such a wonderfully atmospheric book! Mary Stewart's strong points seem to be descriptions and atmosphere. She is truly a master! I found the characters interesting, and pretty well rounded. I loved Gianetta (and her name!) and found her easy to empathize with and relate to. Initially there are quite a number of characters to learn, but you are quickly engaged and can differentiate easily. This book was written years ago (mid 1950s) and some of the ideas and practices of the era are evident in th ...more
Laura
4.5 stars Once again, Stewart wows me with breathtaking suspense and stunning scenery. This murder mystery, set amongst the misty and craggy Scottish Hebrides, has to be her scariest work. With one cliff-hanger (sometimes literally) after another, it was near impossible to put down.

the time: 1953, the week of Hillary & Tenzing's Everest summit and Elizabeth II's coronation
the cigarette count: 28+
Amanda
Aug 29, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all adults
Recommended to Amanda by: Lisa
This is a fantastic, scary mystery novel. Much scarier (I think) than any of the other Mary Stewart mysteries. This one really kind of creeped me out. (Which actually doesn't take much since I'm not a horror fan). It takes place at a hotel near this mountain where people keep getting murdered and the main character is a girl who has recently been divorced. It's told in the first person, and the girl's ex-husband shows up at the hotel but she's torn between her old feelings for him and her new fe ...more
Cphe
Nobody writes in this vein quite like Mary Stewart, vintage romantic suspense. Quality all the way. Every few years I revisit this author's work, it's timeless. I loved the characters, the wonderful descriptions of the bleak and dour Scottish countryside .......and the mystery was engrossing and seamlessly delivered.
Time and money well spent.
Nicola
I secretly love novels about people going on holiday and bad things happening to them in some secluded spot. Is it because I’m bitter about the fact that I can never afford to go on a real holiday? Who knows!

Anyway, in that vein, Wildfire At Midnight is about a young fashion model who goes on holiday to the remote and beautiful Scottish island of Skye. Then everything comes over all Agatha Christie and people start dying on the island. Oh, snap! Should’ve stayed at home!

The mystery of Wildfire i
...more
Elinor
Dec 03, 2014 Elinor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For lighter relief after a steady diet of wartime reading, I picked up this old paperback at a friend's house. Now I remember why I used to love Mary Stewart. The clothes, social standards, and speech habits are a wee bit dated (the book was first published in 1956), but the author wrote a good solid mystery with a strong romantic element. I certainly didn't guess whodunnit. And the heroine was plucky beyond the period she lived in. Still highly recommended after all these years.
LJ
First Sentence: In the first place, I suppose, it was my parent’s fault for giving me a silly name like Gianetta.

Fashion model Gianetta follows the suggestion of her parents and heads to the Isle of Sky for a restful vacation. Those plans did not include finding her ex-husband, Nicholas Drury, at the same hotel. Nor did they include learning a local girl had recently been murdered and left in a way that suggests a ritual. But the killer isn’t done. Can Gianetta avoid becoming a victim?

Told in fi
...more
Lea Wait
Jul 18, 2015 Lea Wait rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been thinking I should go back and read some of the books by Mary Stewart I enjoyed years ago ... and this was a perfect one to start with. (My husband is reading it now!) Early 1950s, cast of miscellaneous (but well calculated) writers, fishermen and climbers, plus the fashion model heroine and, to her surprise, her former husband ... all vacationing in the mists of Skye. And -- of course -- there's a murder. The killer is probably someone at the hotel ... (classic scenario) ... and then . ...more
Daniela
The only bad thing I can say about this book is that it's too short! I would have loved to spend more time up in the remote hotel on the Isle of Skye with Janet, amidst the fog and those treacherous mountains.

Like other reviewers have mentioned, this is a bit different from Stewart's other novels in that it resembles the classic whodunnits by Agatha Christie like And Then There Were None more than Stewart's other books do. But while Agatha Christie spends more time on dialogue and getting to kn
...more
Susan
Feb 04, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic, 2011
Very atmospheric tale. Well drawn characters, none of which did anything too stupid, wonderful sense of place - desolate Skye island with its craggy hills and mist - and interesting storyline. However, I would consider this more of a murder mystery than gothic tale. Still it was a good read for a cold winter's evening.
Angelica Bentley
The second of Mary Stewart's mystery novels, showing an already deft hand and complete mastery of her craft. The story starts harmlessly enough in London but soon Gianetta (the conflicted heroine) travels to the island of Skye where she will meet an intriguing assortment of guests at a remote fishing lodge, and an unsettling series of events will soon start to unfold.

Stewart knows her Scotland well and her compelling descriptions provide an exquisitely-drawn travelogue background to a sinister p
...more
Wayne
Mar 09, 2013 Wayne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book. This is a murder mystery set at a remote hotel on the Isle of Skye. There were several aspects to the book, and they were all handled very wel.

The characters were interesting and well-written. There was a wide range of people, and there was more going on than just the mystery. There are rather a lot of characters, sometimes identified by first name and sometimes by last. Writing up your own cast of characters as they're introduced might be helpful, at least in early sta
...more
Lynn Spencer
Dec 26, 2012 Lynn Spencer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary Stewart is truly one of the greats. Her books, with their practical heroines and often exotic settings, appeal to the imagination, and she has a way of building tension throughout her narratives in such a way that it reels the reader in easily. Her writing has not only inspired all manner of romantic suspense novelists, but itself stands the test of time. Thankfully, her work is being rereleased and I was thrilled to get a chance to read Wildfire at Midnight as it was one of the few books b ...more
Susan
Mar 20, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mary Stewart is a much underrated writer. But I must say that her earlier mystery novels are much better than some of the later ones. A very fine writer, she drew interesting characters and devised compelling plots. She was well-read and highly literate; she would furnish you with snippets from other authors in her chapter titles, and one of her policemen reads T.S. Eliot. Her best books are real page turners: "Madam, Will You Talk?," "The Ivy Tree," "Nine Coaches Waiting," "Wildfire at Midnight ...more
Nancy Ellis
This was pretty much one of her formula books: troubled woman from troubled marriage seeks getaway holiday which, of course, turns out to be anything but relaxing, with murder, intrigue, and also-troubled husband showing up.....but it made for a nice, relaxing weekend read. It felt like a gothic Agatha Christie.....I kept expecting Hercule Poirot to walk into the gathering at the inn, although he would not have been happy climbing the Scottish Highlands in the rain.....
Lily
Nov 05, 2015 Lily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Хотілося шось про Шотландію почитати, а вийшло - детектив. Отак закидай книжки у читалку і забувай про них. Такі книги для мене краще сприймаються у вигляді фільмів чи серіалів - візуально приємно і цілком замінило б скупий шотландський колорит книжки. З плюсів - вона коротка, швидко читається і, як і будь-якому детективі, цікаво дізнатися, хто вбивця. Хоч це досить передбачувано насправді було.
Kate
Jul 21, 2009 Kate rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Catie
Dec 30, 2011 Catie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, suspense
Rather than the sunny mediterranean areas that I associate with Mary Stewart, this one's set in the mists and rains of early summer on the Isle of Skye at the time of the coronation of QE2 and the 'conquest' of Everest. It's fast-paced and gripping but with a level of sophistication that I possibly missed when I first read it in my teens. If I spotted the culprit early on it's because a hundred lesser gothic novels have made free with the plot, but that's no fault of Stewart's and did not lessen ...more
Susan
Sep 22, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015books
A young crofter's daughter is cruelly and ritually murdered on the bleak Scottish mountainside. In the deceptively idyllic Camasunary Hotel nearby, the beautiful but troubled, Gianetta Brooke cannot seem to escape her pain or her past -- not even in the remote hotel on the Scottish Isle of Skye. When she discovers that her ex-husband has booked into the same hotel, the peaceful holiday for which she had hoped takes on quite another complexion.

Very soon Gianetta finds herself tangled in a web of
...more
Michael
Though the destination of this mystery-thriller was eminently predictable, the journey was captivating and held my interest better than many other, more finely crafted mysteries have done.

Some may say this novel feels dated. I'd have to agree; however, while a couple instances of "datedness" frustrated or annoyed me, some others lent charm. Reading one of these old thrillers from the 50s or 60s (this one was published in 1956, I believe) is pleasantly like watching an old movie. Harking back to
...more
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15590
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Lady Mary Stewart was a popular English novelist, and taught at the school of John Norquay elementary for 30 to 35 years.

She was one of the most widely read fiction writers of our time. The author of twenty novels, a volume of poetry, and three books for young readers, she
...more
More about Mary Stewart...

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“If anyone was to perform the classic folly of taking a midnight stroll among the murderous gentlemen with whom the hotel was probably packed, it was not going to be me.” 9 likes
“It was over, the awkward moment, the dreaded moment, sliding past in a ripple of commonplaces, the easy mechanical politenesses that are so much more than empty convention; they are the greaves and cuirasses that arm the naked nerve.” 4 likes
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