My Brother Michael

My Brother Michael

by Mary Stewart

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The original queen of the page-turner Mary Stewart leads her readers on a journey of murder and deceit through the dusty roads of mid-century Greece in this tale that fans of Agatha Christie and Barbara Pym are sure to love.

'The contemporary thriller at its very best' Guardian

'Mary Stewart is magic' New York Times

'Nothing ever happens to me...' So begins Camilla Haven's letter home during her quiet holiday in Athens. But when a stranger begs her to drive a car to Delphi, swearing that it is a matter of life and death, Camilla impulsively takes the opportunity she's been offered. Before long she is caught up in a whirlwind of intrigue, deceit and murder as she spins along the dusty Greek roads in a race against time to solve a fourteen-year-old mystery.

The longer I waited the less possible it seemed to walk out of the café and leave everything to settle itself without me, and the more insidiously did the other possibility begin to present itself. Dry-mouthed, I pushed it aside, but there it was, a challenge, a gift, a dare from the gods . . .

'One of the best British storytellers of the 20th century' Independent

'There are few to equal Mary Stewart' Daily Telegraph

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781444711134
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, Ltd.
Publication date: 05/26/2011
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 32,923
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Mary Stewart was one of the 20th century's bestselling and best-loved novelists. She was born in Sunderland, County Durham in 1916, but lived for most of her life in Scotland, a source of much inspiration for her writing. Her first novel, Madam, Will You Talk? was published in 1955 and marked the beginning of a long and acclaimed writing career. In 1971 she was awarded the International PEN Association's Frederick Niven Prize for The Crystal Cave, and in 1974 the Scottish Arts Council Award for one of her children's books, Ludo and the Star Horse. She was married to the Scottish geologist Frederick Stewart, and died in 2014.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Why, woman,
What are you waiting for?

Sophocles: Electra (tr. E.F. Watling)

"Nothing ever happens to me."

I wrote the words slowly, looked at them for a moment with a little sigh, then put my ballpoint pen down on the café table and rummaged in my handbag for a cigarette.

As I breathed the smoke in I looked about me. It occurred to me, thinking of that last depressed sentence in my letter to Elizabeth, that enough was happening at the moment to satisfy all but the most adventure-hungry. That is the impression that Athens gives you. Everyone is moving, talking, gesticulating — but particularly talking. The second one remembers in Athens is not the clamour of the impatiently congested traffic, or the perpetual hammer of pneumatic drill or even the age-old sound of chisels chipping away at the Pentelic marble which is still the cheapest stone for building...what one remembers about Athens is the roar of talking. Up to your high hotel window, above the smell of dust and the blare of traffic it comes, surging like the sea below the temple at Sunium — the sound of Athenian voices arguing, laughing, talk-talk-talking, as once they talked the world into shape in the busy colonnades of the Agora, not so very far from where I sat.

It was a popular and crowded café. I had found a table at the back of the room near the bar. All along the outer wall big glass doors gave on to thepavement, standing open to the dust and din of Omonia Square, which is, in effect, the commercial centre of Athens.It is certainly the centre of all thenoise and bustle of the city. The traffic crawled or surged past in a ceaseless confusion. Crowds — as jammed as the traffic — eddied on the wide pavements. Knots of men, most of them impeccably dressed in dark city clothes, discussed whatever men do discuss at mid-morning in Athens; their faces were lively and intent, their hands fidgeting unceasingly with the little loops of amber "nervous beads" that the men of the Eastern Mediterranean carry. Women, some fashionably dressed, others with the wide black skirt and black head-coveringof the peasant, went about their shopping. A donkey, so laden with massed flowers that it looked like a moving garden, passed slowly by, its ownershouting his wares in vain against the hurly-burly of the hot morning streets.

I pushed my coffee cup aside, drew again at my cigarette, and picked up my letter. I began to read over what I had written.

"You'll have had my other letters by now, about Mykonos and Delos, and the one I wrote a couple of days ago from Crete. It's difficult to know just how to write — I want so much to tell you what a wonderful country this is, and yet I feel I mustn't pile it on too thick or you'll find that wretched broken leg that prevented your coming even more of a tragedy than before! Well, I won't go on about that, either.... I'm sitting in a café on Omonia Square — it's about the busiest place in this eternally busy city — and calculating what to do next. I've just come off the boat from Crete. I can't believe that there's any place on earth more beautiful than the Greek islands, and Crete's in a class by itself, magnificent and exciting and a bit grim as well — but I told you about it in my last letter. Now there's Delphi still to come, and everyone, solo and chorus, has assured me that it'll be the crown of the trip. I hope they're right; some of the places, like Eleusis and Argos and even Corinth, are a bit leaves oneself open to the ghosts, as it were, but the myths and magic are all gone. However, I'm told that Delphi really is something. So I've left it till last. The only trouble is, I'm getting a bit worried about the cash. I suppose I'm a bit of a fool where money is concerned. Philip ran all that, and how right he was...."

Here a passing customer, pushing his way between the tables towards the bar-counter, jogged my chair, and I looked up, jerked momentarily out of my thoughts.

A crowd of customers — all male — seemed to be gathering at the bar for what looked like a very substantial mid-morning snack. It appeared that the Athenian businessman had to bridge the gap between breakfast and luncheon with something rather more sustaining than coffee. I saw one plate piled high with Russian salad and thick dressing, another full of savoury meatballs and green beans swimming in oil, and innumerable smaller dishes heaped with fried potatoes and small onions and fish and pimentos and half a dozen things I didn't recognize. Behind the counter was a row of earthenware jars, and in the shadow of their narrow necks I saw olives, fresh from the cool farm-sheds in Aegina and Salamis. The winebottles on the shelf above bore names like Samos and Nemea and Chios and Mavrodaphne.

I smiled, and looked down again at the page.

"...but in a way I'm finding it wonderful to be here alone. Don't misunderstand me, I don't mean you! I wish like anything you were here, for your own sake as well as mine. But you know what I do mean, don't you? This is the first time for years I've been away on my own — I was almost going to say 'off the leash' — and I'm really enjoying myself in a way I hadn't thought possible before. You know, I don't suppose he'd ever have come here at all; I just can't see Philip prowling round Mycenae...

My Brother Michael. Copyright © by Mary Stewart. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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My Brother Michael 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Beautiful Greecian scenery throughout this chilling suspense. Although this is lovely and romantic, it has a dark violent side to it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bjace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book does have good setting and evokes the magic of Greece well, but it was an Idiot Plot. (Definition: problem that would be solved in short order if the characters weren't behaving like idiots.) Young English woman in Athens on vacation decides on a whim to commit car theft and ends up nearly murdered by thugs.
joannagawn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I am reading it for the third or fourth time. I want to wrap myself up in the evocative prose and the strong sense of place and time (one which is lost to the past, and has been taken over by tourism and a faster pace of life.) I love Stewart's characterisation: how you can you not fall in love with her heroes? I have only 60 pages left to read and want to draw them out like a long, cool drink, tasting and savouring every scene in exquisite detail. One not to be rushed.
Kasthu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the seventh of Mary Stewart¿s novels that I¿ve read, and I¿ve noticed that they tend to be a bit formulaic. There¿s always a young Englishwoman who¿s experienced disappointment in love, who goes to an exotic location to recuperate. While there, she usually finds herself in the midst of a mystery, usually risking her own life. And, of course, there¿s the handsome stranger, with whom there¿s a romantic subplot.My Brother Michael follows this ploline to a T. Camilla Haven travels to Athens, Greece. In the middle of writing a letter to a friend, in which she complains that nothing ever happens to her, Camilla is offered the use of a car. She takes the car to Delphi, in lieu of the girl¿¿Simon¿s Girl¿it¿s meant for¿and finds herself involved in a fourteen-year-old mystery. Camilla is a pretty average girl (who calls herself ¿old¿ at 25!) who nonetheless shows great courage and fortitude¿not unlike some of Mary Stewart¿s other heroines.OK, so the plot, and its romantic subplot, are pretty predictable¿but it¿s a formula that really works well. Mary Stewart was adept at creating great atmosphere in her novels, and she did a lot of research on the places in which her books are set. She also describes everything in great detail, which I love. The romance story in My Brother Michael is a bit rushed (although, obviously, you can see it coming from a mile away).However, the suspense in this novel is absolutely top notch¿how can you forget that climactic scene in the caves? And Camilla and Simon¿s walk in the ruins of Delphi earlier is a prime example of why I love Mary Stewart¿s writing¿again-she really knows how to write atmospheric novels! My Brother Michael probably isn¿t my favorite of Stewart¿s books, since it tends to meander a bit, but I did enjoy it quite a lot.
patience_crabstick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A thinking woman's romance novel. Thank you, Mary Stewart for introducing a hero who isn't the mocking, sarcastic, lip curling swain who appears in 99% of romance novels. The heroine, also, is refreshingly underdescribed. We have no idea of the color or her eyes or tresses, or even if she's at all good looking. Very well done, and even though this book was written over forty years ago, it's still worth a read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've remembered this book for decades - the suspense, the romance, the mythology and the scenery - and adore it still!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As always an excellent story from Mary Stewart. She is knowledgeable of places and people. Always a favorite of mine.
ReaderWriterEditor More than 1 year ago
Superb suspense, strong romance, one of the funniest exchanges of dialogue regarding an unsolicited come-on by a tarty character (I don't do taps), and finally, a brutal fight in which the death of "my brother Michael" is revenged: worth re-reading for all these elements, as well as the evocative descriptions of Greece in the Delphi area. Why is this book not available as an e-book? publishers, you are missing an opportunity here!
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