Madam, Will You Talk?, Mary Stewart
Not my favourite of Mary Stewart’s novels, but it’s what the library had when I felt like revisiting. It probably hasn’t really been long enough since I first read them, but ah well: they’re still fun. Stewart was brilliant at establishing a sense of mood and place: a hot French town, dust on the roads, shade under the trees, a cool breeze when you drive fast but sticky and heavy when you’re stuck in traffic… I enjoy Charity’s character, her past, and the fact that despite that tragic past, she uses what her husband taught her about life and love to move on, and Stewart never implies that her love for either the new love or the old diminishes the other.
The relationship itself, well. The constant descriptions of the love interest as dictatorial are exactly right, and one can’t help but think the whole relationship a little off-putting. She’s terrified of him at first, she thinks he’s a murderer, and he’s violent to her, and yet… There’s a passion in the relationship, which is something I do like to see, but his violence was waved away all too easily. A different era, I know… and yet.
The mystery itself, well: it’s melodramatic, all kidnapping and attempted murder and links to Nazism. But it works as long as you’re in the right headspace, and I was, since I’m well used to Stewart’s work.
2 thoughts on “Review – Madam, Will You Talk?”
Do the Nazis need to be there? I remember reading Dragon Tattoo and laughing at how Larsson pulls them out of nowhere. As in, “This guy is so awful,he also happens to be a Nazi!”.
In the sense that the plot relies on the male lead seeing an atrocity committed during the war, and then coming across that person again later and being able to accuse him of war crimes, yes. It’s all very dramatic but the Nazi thread of the plot is integral.