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Wildfire at Midnight

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  2,620 ratings  ·  160 reviews
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
Paperback, 324 pages
Published November 25th 2003 by HarperTorch (first published 1956)
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Gems from the Past
49th out of 321 books — 339 voters
Rebecca by Daphne du MaurierNine Coaches Waiting by Mary StewartMistress of Mellyn by Victoria HoltAirs Above the Ground by Mary StewartThe Moonspinners by Mary Stewart
Classic Romantic Suspense You Can Read Now
12th out of 137 books — 59 voters

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Community Reviews

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Tadiana ♕Part-Time Dictator♕
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
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
Mar 23, 2015 Tweety rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
*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
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
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.
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
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
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+
Aug 29, 2008 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
Lynn Spencer
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
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.....
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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
I've always wanted to read a Mary Stewart book but with my forever growing TBR pile it's taken until now to do so. Saying that...I'm kinda kicking myself because I'd probably chosen the wrong Stewart title because my romance reader heart was kicking the hero and heroine up and down the pages. Gianetta is a clothes model who runs into her ex-husband at this retreat, who she still has feelings for despite the fact he was a cheating asshole. Nicholas Drury made me feel all stabby-like and I hope St ...more
Linda Cohen
Buddy read with the Mary Steward group.

I don't think I can improve on anything anyone else has said but I will admit I was kept guessing right up until the very end and that's even with popping into the discussion feeds so everyone managed to kept the name of the murderer mum. Our heroine is not quite as strong willed and the insta-love didn't happen so something is kinda missing.

Buy this title at Powells Books.
I enjoyed this one more the second time around, at a slower pace, where I could really savour the suspense, which is excellent. I had to stay up and finish, because I was too keyed up to do anything else besides chew off my fingernails!
Here is Tadiana's excellent, more detailed review. I agree with everything she says, and felt there was little point in saying more, besides 'I second that!'
Set on the Isle of Skye where Gianetta Brooke, a model, takes a vacation. It’s 1953 and London is abuzz with the coronation but she wants to get away, and to somewhere with no TV so she can’t be forced to watch it. In her first hour, Marcia Maling, a famous actress, plops herself down opposite and starts chatting about clothes. She helpfully describes all the hotel guests for us and Gianetta. But the most surprising one, is Nicholas Drury; the man Gianetta divorced four years ago. By mutual cons ...more
The Isle of Skye sounds like a beautiful place to take a holiday if you are seeking solace in nature. For Gianetta the young heroine of Wildfire at Midnight it turns into a twisting, turning and agonizing nightmare when she finds out that there was a vicious murder not long before her arrival. She can't seem to relax when she also encounters her ex-husband who she was trying to forget among the guests and the murderer is apparently one of them too! Will she be able to get away from it all or wi ...more
Thank you Chicago Review Press for re-releasing so many classic Mary Stewart titles -- I've now spent at least two weekends in a wonderful trip down memory land. Even though I don't actually remember reading all of these books so maybe I'm discovering them for the first time.

Beautifully described settings, a wonderful romance, and a chilling mystery with a good twist at the end make these books very satisfying. And considering when they were written, the romance is very discreet but also very r
Yes, this is a romance, and I don't do romance- in real life, in books, in dreams and fantasies, whatever. Still, Mary Stewart captured my heart long before I became a cynical, practical, realistic Grown-Up, and though her magic has certainly lost its plausibility, it has not lost its power to momentarily help me escape Adult Understanding of how-the-world-actually-works. Sure, the romance herein offends my feminist disposition while the characterizations read like fantasies concocted in a world ...more
Darlene Gordon
It has been years since I first read Mary Stewart books. For some reason when I realized that she had died this year at 97 I decided to read the ones I could get out of the library again and this one did not disappoint. Fortunately it was relatively short because I had to read it in one go but remembered enough of my original read to not believe it was the ex-husband who was the murderer although suspicion turned to him also. I have always loved her descriptions of locations. I look forward to m ...more
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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 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 about Mary Stewart...
The Crystal Cave (Arthurian Saga, #1) The Hollow Hills (Arthurian Saga, #2) The Last Enchantment (Arthurian Saga, #3) The Wicked Day (Arthurian Saga, #4) Nine Coaches Waiting

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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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