Madam, Will You Talk?, by Mary Stewart

>> Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I tried Mary Stewart for the first time a few months ago, after seeing her recommended quite a few times. Since I liked the one I tried, I ordered quite a few more. The next I read, which I finished yesterday, was 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.
This was really good. A B+.

Reading Madam, Will You Talk felt like watching one of those old movies from the 50s, I don't know if I can describe the kind of novels I mean: those adventure-ish movies, with their protagonists running around some kind of Europe, bantering all the way. There was a certain scene in Marseille, when they are walking next to the sea, where I just saw one of those movies, the wet cobblestone streets, the people dressed in 50s clothes...

Charity was an amazing heroine. This was no passive damsel in distress. I mean, she got involved in the whole mess through no actions of her own, but once she was in, her role was very much an active one, and she made a wonderful kick-ass heroine. That scene where she drives a car like it is a weapon was awesome. Richard was more of a cypher (of course, since the story was told from Charity's POV), but a likeable one.

The only weak point was the improbability of it all. Much of the action required a high level of coincidence. From some of the things that happend, one could suppose that about 100 people in all live in the south of France!


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