Nicola's Reviews > Wildfire at Midnight

Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart
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Apr 16, 11

bookshelves: romance, crime, fiction, borrowed

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 is serviceable enough, with an interesting reveal. However, it’s weak on the red herrings and ‘gotcha!’ moments that make good mysteries really enjoyable.

According to Wikipedia, Mary Stewart “invented” the romantic suspense genre and, well, Wildfire was certainly better than other “sexy mysteries” I’ve read, where either the romance or the mystery seems like an afterthought. Stewart blends romantic tension with deadly suspense skilfully.

Unfortunately, Wildfire was written in the 1950s and you can really, really tell. Unlike contemporary novels like I Capture the Castle (which still feels fresh today), Wildfire is cringe-y in its outdated gender norms. The central romance is creepy as hell, and modern readers will be yelling at the protagonist that she should SAVE HER OWN DAMN SELF, rather than always waiting for the menfolk to save her. :/

A short and diverting read, but one that felt old-fashioned and, honestly, a bit forgettable.
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