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Wildfire at Midnight

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  3,424 Ratings  ·  227 Reviews
I FOLLOWED MARCIA TO HER ROOM...
She pushed her door open and groped for the light switch.
When the lights went on I heard her gasp. She was standing as if frozen, her back to me, her hands up to her throat.
Then she screamed, a high, tearing scream.
"The murderer. Oh my God, the murderer. . . ."
She grabbed my arm and pointed to the bed, her lips shaking so much that she could
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Paperback, 324 pages
Published November 25th 2003 by HarperTorch (first published 1956)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
May 2017 buddy read with the Mary Stewart group!

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-195
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Carol ♔Type, Oh Queen!♕
3.5★

For me, not one of Stewart's best.

That still means a good story with evocative descriptions of Skye - & who wouldn't want to spend time there, especially with the heather in bloom!

 photo heatherskye_1.jpg

But I prefer the Stewarts with stronger heroines. The only thing Giannetta had in common with the better Stewart heroines is that she smoked like a chimney. For example, Giannetta found (view spoiler)
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Misfit
Oct 15, 2009 Misfit rated it it was amazing
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
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Veronique
May 26, 2017 Veronique rated it really liked it
Shelves: stars-4-0, 2017
My second Mary Stewart novel. This turned out to be a rather good little thriller.

Gianetta, a fashion model, decides to get away from London and its madness, especially with the coronation around the corner, to get solace in a remote lodge on the Isle of Sky. She is met by breathtaking views of a timeless landscape but also by the news that a young woman has been brutally murdered and that all at the lodge are under suspicion, including Gianetta's former husband who happens to be staying there t
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Sara
Dec 31, 2016 Sara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, romance
The front of my copy of this book says "Terror in the Hitchcock manner...a novel that terrifies as it entertains." That sums it up nicely. It is perhaps the most Hitchcock in nature of any of her novels. It is a bit of Agatha Christie as well...there is a murderer loose and it is definitely one of the fellow visitors or the townspeople involved with the hotel in which Gianetta (don't you love that name?) is staying.

I am going to be sorry when my quest to revisit all of Mary Stewart's novels is
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Tweety
Jan 21, 2014 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
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Sarah Mac
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
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Dorcas
Jan 19, 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
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Nikki
Sep 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
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Moonlight Reader
Stewart was such a capable writer that she could've written a textbook and made it worth reading. This one wasn't her best, but it was still very good, indeed.
Tammie
Jan 21, 2017 Tammie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. Wildfire at Midnight was mostly a good read. It was just over two hundred pages but it felt longer than that, mainly because of all the description and some of the back and forth dialog that went nowhere. While I don't always mind the description in Mary Stewart's books, I did find it rather boring at times in this one. I didn't really care what the rocky cliffs and mountainous ranges looked like all that much. A one-time brief description would have sufficed. However here are a coupl ...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.
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Olga Godim
Jun 23, 2015 Olga Godim rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries, mainstream
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
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Nicola
Apr 16, 2011 Nicola rated it it was ok
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
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Judith
Aug 07, 2013 Judith rated it really liked it
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 22, 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
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+
Angie
Jul 05, 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
Amanda
Aug 29, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it
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.
Suz Thackston
Jul 07, 2017 Suz Thackston rated it it was amazing
I first read this as a teenager, and have been dying to visit the Isle of Skye ever since. Mary Stewart's plucky heroines are indeed usually rescued by a man, and a love interest at that, but I don't hold that against her. If the genre still works today, we can't retroactively insist that it should hold to feminist principles half a century ago. And Gianetta, like all the MS young women, is smart and capable in her own right.
I loved the story, with its references to Frazier's Golden Bough and e
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Emilia Barnes
Feb 24, 2015 Emilia Barnes rated it really liked it
This is an interesting Mary Stewart, because it is less a gothic story and more a murder mystery. There's relatively little romance in it, too, but that worked fine for me, because the mystery was gripping, constantly rolling onwards, as the situation grew ever more tense. The setting in Skye was awesome - having been there I could just imagine it, and it was beautifully executed here.

***mild spoilers ahead***

My only problem with it was the romance. This time, because the romance was between a
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Teri-K
I love walking into a "new" library and discovering they haven't eliminated all of the older books from their shelves. So I was delighted, while taking a few minutes this morning to peruse the shelves of the library where I'm visiting, to find several authors I love whose books are hard to find. Mary Stewart was the first author I looked for, and I came away with this one. I'm sure I've read it before, but it's been so many years I don't remember it at all. What a great way to spend a few hot, h ...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.
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.....
Susan
Jan 29, 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.
Katrina
Mar 16, 2016 Katrina rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable murder mystery with a dash of romance.
Stef Rozitis
A thriller-suspense novel in a perfect setting for the genre (1930s Skye with limited electricity available). Contains all the tropes. Beautiful, innocent Gianetta works as a model. She has divorced her husband who was 10 years older than her and is a heartbreaker man-of-the world. So of course she will run into him again at the secluded location she goes away to rest at along with another handsome and charming man (so there can be a triangle of course) a woman of loose morals and various other ...more
Ann-Marie
May 12, 2017 Ann-Marie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This didn’t become an instant favorite of mine, but it still had its moments that I liked. Set in the Scottish Isle of Skye, Wildfire at Midnight is a mystery blended with suspense and a little romance on the side. While the mystery was kinda fun, the killer seemed a little obvious and I guess I was expecting more of a diabolical motive for the murders (view spoiler).

As for the suspense, it was superbly done in classic Mary
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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
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Lady Mary Stewart, born Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow, 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, an
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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.” 10 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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