To re-read or not to re-read....

I've always enjoyed Mary Stewart's books. I read The Little Broomstick when I was a small child and adored it, and then as a teenager moved onto her romantic thrillers and enjoyed those too. I still love them, as was evident in my review last year of My Brother Michael. My favourite Mary Stewart as a teenager was Touch Not the Cat, I was thrilled to come across this recently in a second-hand book sale, and looked forward to reading it, but....I was disappointed. I have no idea why I was so entranced by it as a teenager because reading it now, it all seems just a bit silly.

Bryony Ashley's father is seriously injured in a car accident, Bryony learns of this via telepathic communication with an Ashley cousin. They have been able to communicate like this throughout their lives, but Bryony remains unsure which cousin is actually the telepathic one. Bryony's father dies, but not before leaving a garbled message which suggests that Bryony may be in danger. Our heroine then returns to the ancestral home in Warwickshire to find herself enmeshed in mystery, danger and romance. It's a fun enough read, but with holes in the plotline big enough to drive a combine harvester through, a lot of it is just plain daft. For me, it had the feeling of a novel that had to be completed for contractual reasons, rather than one that the novelist felt committed to, it's a world away from the strength and charm of the earlier My brother Michael, or her other great crime novel The Moonspinners.

Please read Mary Stewart, she's great fun - but Touch not the cat is best avoided.


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