๐Ÿ“– Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart โญโญโญ

Madam, Will You Talk?I continued my fantastic February reading with the romantic suspense, Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart, which is also the very first of Stewartโ€™s novels to be published in 1955. It was so good to finally be reading another sun-drenched adventure from this wonderful author, especially as it feels an age since I read my last one: The Moonspinners.

Madam, Will You Talk? opens with us driving through France with the young widow Charity Selborne and her old friend Louise, who are looking forward to a holiday full of history, art, good food and leisurely days under the hot sun, in the beauty of the parched Provencal landscape. โ˜€ However on arriving at their first stop off: the Hรดtel Tistet-Vรฉdรจne, in the picturesque walled-town of Avignon, Charity befriends a lonely boy, which will lead her to unwittingly becoming embroiled in a strange and terrible plot.

You see the boy, David, has fled England with his glamorous stepmother, Lorraine Bristol after his father was sensationally acquitted of murdering his best friend (and his wife’s suspected lover). However there seems to be no love lost between Lorraine and her stepson, and so with only a lovable mutt for company, Charity decides to take David on a trip to Nรฎmes, hoping to cheer him up. Instead on hearing a man’s voice in the crowd within Nรฎmes’ Ancient Roman arena, David becomes terrified and Charity accidentally bumps into David’s enigmatic, possibly murderous father, Richard Byron.

What follows is a tense cat-and-mouse tale – with Richard hell-bent on finding his son and Charity in a panic to avoid giving him any leads – that includes a thrilling car chase down dusty, twisty French roads. Our brave heroine drives her nippy convertible like a racing driver (courtesy of her late husband) and yet the mysterious but magnetic Richard is uncannily always just a few car-lengths behind! This feels like it was written to be a golden-age Hollywood thriller; preferably directed by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock! ๐ŸŽฌ

As Richard closes in, the very capable Charity realises she has got herself enmeshed in a tangled web of lust, revenge, fear and murder, and no one is what they first appear to be. On top of that throw in some wonderful literary references (from Chaucer to Shakespeare); lots of 1950s period details (think endless cigarettes and uncrushable dresses); and Stewart’s renowned descriptions of place, and I was utterly swept away. This book could be accused of a bit of insta-love, but you know what? Who cares! It is just too much fun to care for trifling things like realism! ๐Ÿ˜‰

All in all, I thought Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart was a brilliantly gripping read, that transported me from dull, lockdown Britain to the warmth, freedom and adventure of 1950’s Southern France. As always I can’t wait to read more by this fabulous author and here’s hoping I don’t wait so long next time! Especially as I have plenty of Stewart options awaiting me on my Kindle. Great read โญโญโญ

Now I would love to hear from you, so in the comments let me know: Have you read this? Which of Mary Stewart’s brilliant suspense novels would you recommend I read next?

24 thoughts on “๐Ÿ“– Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart โญโญโญ

  1. I read this and really enjoyed it aside from the insta love. Now I’m reading This Rough Magic which is set in Corfu, Greece. I love how her books transport you to a different place and feel so immersive.

    1. Hey honestavocado ๐Ÿ‘‹ Thank you for stopping by and commenting – it is always lovely to hear from a new face, especially a fellow Mary Stewart fan! ๐Ÿ˜Š I hope you are enjoying This Rough Magic, as that is on my TBR pile.

      1. Yeah I am so far! She is an expert at immersing you in a different place, and it almost feels like I’m taking a mini vacation when I read her books (aside from the suspense and murder haha).

  2. It’s been so long since I’ve read a Mary Stewart novel, it really wouldn’t be like a re-read. I remember nothing more than that I loved them all. I need to see which ones I might still have on my shelf.

    1. It definitely sounds high time you indulged in re-reading Mary Stewart’s wonderful collection of work and I hope this one is one of those still on your shelf! ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿ˜ƒ

      1. Other than her Arthurian legend set (which I’d love to read again, and I’ve never read the 5th book), the only one I could find on my shelf is Thornyhold. Have you read that one?

        1. I’m afraid I haven’t read Thornyhold, Kelly, or her Arthurian legend set either. However I do have four of the Arthurian books on my Kindle, which I really must get to!

  3. This is one of my favourite Mary Stewart books, so I’m pleased you enjoyed it too. I loved the car chase scene and you’re right, it would have made a perfect Hitchcock film!

    1. Thank you, Helen – This was a great read and just a shame Hitchcock didn’t get it on his radar back then! It reminds me of The Man Who Knew Too Much with the lovely Doris Day in ๐Ÿ˜

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