Madam, Will You Talk?
Much of a strange and tragic drama of revenge, lust, fear, and death has already been played by the time Charity Selborne arrives at a plush resort in the South of France.
But by befriending a terrified boy and catching the attention of his enigmatic, possibly murderous father, Charity has inadvertently placed herself center stage.
It's about 1950, and Charity, a young English widow (her husband died in WWII), is traveling with her former co-worker, Louise. They begin their leisurely vacation w ...more
Whatever minor quibbles I (as a modern reader) have about some of the outdated social mores found between the pages of a Stewart novel, it is only that - minor. They are easily overlooked by the smooth and soothing way in which Stewart can pull the reader into her world of danger, intrigue and romance. Ultimately, however, her incomparable sense of descriptiv ...more
I did think this book was a lot of fun though. While I was reading, I kept thinking of old 1950s Hitchcock movies with icy blondes, big heavy cars, and sinister villains. LOL
So I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to cast this puppy with stars from the fifties? They would have to be English, of course, since most of the c ...more
Add thrilling car chases on twisty roads in the south of France. And a mysterious but magnetic stranger who’s always just a few car-lengths behind.
Mix in splendidly described settings from Avignon…
Stop for a quick bite at a roadside bar where even the croissants are to die for…
Or savor a more lavish meal on a terrace…
Add some moments of true terror when a man who might just be a murderer is spotted on the ...more
Very mild spoilers ahead.
This was my first experience of Mary Stewart. I gather she was a bit of a phenomenon in the 1970s, but the idea of romantic suspense must not have appealed to me at that time. The incentive to read this particular novel was an extended buddy read and the fact that the novel is set in the south of France, where I’ll be spending a couple of weeks in March this year.
The novel was first published in 1955 and it shows. It has a dated quality with more references to smoking t ...more
How was I to know, that lovely quiet afternoon, that most of the actors in the tragedy were at that moment assembled in this neat, unpretentious little Provençal hotel?
Pont du Gard, Avignon
St Benezet Bridge (Pont d'Avignon)
I looked about me, resigned to the fact that almost everybody in the hotel would probably be English too. But the collection so far seemed vari ...more
The story starts off placidly but you are told things are going to quickly change as all the players are in place. There is suspense and tension abound in ...more
Stewart also has a mind ...more
I can't write a synopsis, I just can't. I loved this book too much, I wouldn't ever be able to write a fitting synopsis so I'm just going to say what I loved; which was everything. The Hero was perfect in a none perfect way, the heroine did a lovely job driving; she had me on the edge of my set! There where midnight car chases on the cliff edges, puzzles as to who was to be trusted and who wasn't and, suspense. Thrilling, ...more
An amazing first novel, even though the coincidences are a bit hard to swallow.
Beautifully captures the spirit & style of Southern France, (right down to the fact you are looking through a haze of cigarette smoke all the time!)I really felt like I had been taken on a journey. & Charity was another brave & resourceful Stewart heroine. & I liked the character of Louise very much. So many older romances don't show true, deep friendship between women, but this book does.
(view spo ...more
I loved the setting - lovely descriptive phrases used for it, the heroine and her brave and smart decisions, the men in the story - were they the good guys or bad guys, hard to tell the way the author told the story and the exciting climax of the tale.
I think - to date - this has to be my favorite Mary Stewart story. But don't h ...more
Charity Selborne is on holiday with a friend in the south of France, but in true Mary Stewart fashion, she's soon mixed up in a potful of mystery and intrigue when she meets a young boy in terror of his murderous father. I've just spent an hour on another review, and I have floors to vacuum and laundry to launder. Hannah and Jeannette have already written such excellent reviews, review that mirror my thoughts on the book, and you can read them here and here. But please don't miss Willow ...more
The heroine’s motivations are also unclear. Why does she involve hers ...more
Well it was fun. I, personally, have never read anything like it before.* Even though I know nothing about the cars, the setting, the brand-names, etc., Stewart made me feel like I did, or at least that the understanding that I was getting from context ...more
But for the wind of our movement, the day was utterly still; under the pitiless sun of late morning the leaves of the planes that lined the road hung heavy, in thi...more
This was a re-read. I read and enjoyed all of Mary Stewart's books in my teens, but I think only once which is probably why my memory for them is so vague. I certainly did not remember anything about this one at all.
It was entertaining and as I found myself in the parts of France that I've come to associate with Kate Mosse I was very struck with the quality of the writing; beautiful, often poetic, wi ...more
Next, what drove me crazy - the hero literally chases the heroine around the South of France, and though she drives fast and makes some impressive feints along the way, he still finds her? Way too many coincidences to accept there (as in the antiques store...). Also, the characters in this book must have a deeply-rooted mistrust of th ...more
The car chase was thrilling because of the vivid descriptions of the south of France, but also it was the first time a woman had agency--she wasn't being rescued, or frightened, she was behind the wheel metaphorically as well as physically.
I also ...more
"This was just fun. Takes place in 1950's. Suspense. Car chases. Mistaken Identities. Love at first sight. Charity, our heroine, holds her own. She is tough and lovely and saves the day. You can tell it was written in the 1950's: lots of smoking and innocence."
A wonderfully atmospheric mystery. Read all of Mary Stewart's books years ago and this mystery is still as engaging and entertaining the second time around. An author who can create an aura of cozy sinisterness so well.
Other reviewers have already alluded to the synopsis so no point in rehashing but this book has a wonderful location, France. A "comfort" book of a bygone time.
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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 ...more