My first read for October was the modern, suspense classic The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart, the seventh of Stewart’s romantic, suspense novels, published in 1962, but the third I have read; which helped me escape the miserable weather of the UK to the sun-drenched Mediterranean.
Where we are introduced to the young Englishwoman, Nicola Ferris, a secretary at the British Embassy in Athens, who has decided to escape the busy city to the quiet, fishing-town of Agios Georgios, which is off the beaten track on the lush island of Crete, for a quiet week’s holiday with her cousin. However having arrived a day earlier than expected, Nicola decides to turn off the main path to the town, to enjoy a hike up into the beautiful, flower-strewn hills above. However when she stops to rest at a cooling stream, she is surprised by two mysterious men hiding out in a small shepherd’s hut.
Of course the peace was never going to last, because, come on, this is one of Stewart’s suspense novels! On discovering one of the men, Mark, is gravely injured and her fellow countryman, Nicola decides she has to help and what unfolds is that he was here hiking with his brother, Colin, when they inadvertently stumbled upon a scene of bloody vengeance. Mark decides it is too dangerous for her to remain with him though and insist she goes down to her hotel in the town as planned. Nicola reluctantly acquiesces but secretly vows to keep her eyes and ears open for information.
In Agios Georgios, Nicola is welcomed and settles into its rustic, little hotel with some excitement from the locals but no suspicion, and she happily meets up with her cousin, Frances as arranged. However it’s not the safe haven as imagined when Mark sent her away, instead she seems to have fallen straight into the centre of the hornet’s nest. Working together, Nicola and Frances soon discover that the perpetrators must live within the town, and they will have to treed very carefully. Not to be put off they use the cover of being eccentric, English tourists to bumble around and stick their noses in.
The beautiful, independent and adventurous Nicola is a pleasure to read about. She was sometimes a bit too impulsive, but if she wasn’t we’d lose half the fun of her getting herself into tight, tense situations. While her cousin, Frances, is a great counter balance, as she is a good sounding board and a bit more practical. (Also as Frances is a horticulturist, Stewart is able to get in some lovely descriptions of the local flora and fauna.). Not to forget the handsome, brave Mark, who forms part of a subtle, background love story. Because while we girls can do it for ourselves, lets face it, its nice to have a good-looking, strong man or two about 😉
I could go on and on, but I must stop! Overall, I thought The Moonspinners was a marvellously romantic, suspense that swept me away and gripped me from start to finish. After finishing this, I can’t believe I had waited so long to read more of Stewart’s wonderful work – I now pledge not to wait so long again! Great read.
I’d love to hear your thoughts: Have you read this? What do you think? Have you read any of Mary Stewart’s other novels?
This is book #4 for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XIV.