Tuesday, November 08, 2011


My Brother Michael, Mary Stewart, William Morrow & Company, 1959, 255 pp

The Greek theme continues with Stewart's fifth mystery novel. Camilla Haven is traveling in Greece and feeling free after having left a long, stifling relationship but trying to regain her self-confidence. After a hair-raising drive from Athens to Delphi in a rented car, she finds herself mixed up with a mysterious Englishman named Simon.

Simon's idolized older brother Michael had met his death outside Delphi during World War II. His last letter to the family hinted at a find of great importance which Simon is determined to track down. Out of the recent past come Grecian revolutionaries who put Simon and Mary into danger.

Stewart's usual ingredients of a young English woman meeting up with romance and danger in a foreign country are embellished by excellent description of 1950s Greece combined with classical Greek history. Her characters are much more deeply developed than in the previous books and the romance is more mature.

Best of all is a whiff of the mythological invoking The Kindly Ones (also known as The Furies), whose ancient role was to wreak vengeance on mortals who wrongly committed murder. Simon and Camilla discover a cave containing a very old statue of Apollo, hidden away by devout worshipers, bringing the spiritual world of over 2000 years ago into the story.

I got a spine tingling sense that Ms Stewart was a good Greek scholar herself and had deftly woven that knowledge into her tale. She was telling us that the past is ever with us; the gods and goddesses never far away.

(My Brother Michael is available in paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

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