For my fifth Mary Stewart novel I decided to read the very first book she published, in 1955, Madam, Will You Talk? This action-packed thriller is set in the South of France and is the first-person account of Charity Selborne and the trouble she finds herself in just for being nice to a little boy.

Charity and her friend Louise settle in to Avignon, Charity intending to play the tourist and Louise to relax, draw, read and enjoy the sun. When Charity befriends a young boy named David she unknowingly embroils herself in a dangerous murder plot involving his father, his step-mother and some really shady war criminals. This Stewart has a lot more action than her others I’ve read, a lot more trickery and deception. I like Charity’s character – she has gumption and courage, but I love her friend Louise who is described as “unutterably and incurably lazy.” I remember loving the sidekick aunt character in The Moonspinners also – Stewart writes great supporting characters.

Madam, Will You Talk? is very definitely a vintage thriller. It is the first of hers I’ve read that felt a tad dated. But I don’t mind at all because I love the ’50’s and enjoyed reading something that was written during the time period and felt like it.

I think The Moonspinners is still my favorite of the Stewart’s that I’ve read, but Madam, Will You Talk? was hugely entertaining and I loved reading it.

The author Deanna Raybourn discusses Mary Stewart from a writer’s persepective here.

There’s still time to enter my giveaway for The Blank Wall – go here to enter. Entries due by tomorrow at midnight.

Have you seen this video for Penguin’s English Library series? It’s kind of bizarre, but I like it!

10 Comments

  1. I thought this sounded great, and it’s lovely to have it confirmed. I was looking at a book with the tag ‘governess fiction’ in my library catalogue, I had to see what else was there, and I spotted this one, realised I didn’t own it and placed my order.

  2. I want that book just for the cover! it looks so enticing.

  3. I wasn’t sure if I had read this one back in the year dot but I’m now positive that I haven’t read it, must get a copy! I love that video.

  4. I thought this one was quite charming – I’m currently reading The Ivy Tree which is absolutely enthrallingly mysterious.

    • Charming is the perfect word for Mary Stewart! I haven’t been able to find a good copy of The Ivy Tree to purchase, but I am still on the look out.

    • Charming is the perfect word for Mary Stewart! I haven’t been able to find a good copy of The Ivy Tree to purchase, but I am still on the look out.

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