Madam, will you talk? (by Mary Stewart)

I've been reading books by Mary Stewart, off and on, since my teenage years. Most of them tend to be light thrillers with a romantic thread, written and set in the middle of the 20th century.

I'm pleased that several of them seem to have been re-published inexpensively in recent years, and was particularly glad to be given this one for my birthday a few months ago, as I don't think I have ever read it before.

'Madam, will you talk?' is set in France, and features Charity, a young woman who was tragically widowed some time before the story starts. She goes on holiday with her placid friend Louise, and is rather too quickly embroiled in mystery and intrigue. She meets a young teenager who seems lonely, and befriends him and his dog. His father was apparently involved in a murder, and the boy is afraid to see him.

The story is fast-paced, but in the early stages I found it hard to feel involved. I didn't feel tense, despite what should have been an exciting car-chase about a third of the way through the story; however I had guessed (correctly) what the outcome would be.

After that, I did become much more involved in the story, more from the light romantic element than the thriller part. But then, I always enjoy Mary Stewart's terse but highly readable style.

Recommended to anyone who enjoys books of this mid-century light romantic thriller genre.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 4th July 2011

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