Friday, 20 October 2000

Mary Stewart: Airs Above the Ground (1965)

Edition: Hodder & Stoughton, 1972
Review number: 658

With My Brother Michael and the Merlin trilogy, Airs Above the Ground stands at the peak of Stewart's writing. It is particularly gentle as thrillers go, but has a charm based on the three main characters.

Vanessa March is bored, staying at home while her husband Lewis is on a business trip to Stockholm, until a friend says that she has seen Lewis in a newsreel about a fire in a circus in Austria. Vanessa goes to see the newsreel, expecting the man to just be someone who looks like her husband. However, she is rather shaken when she sees not only Lewis but that he has an obviously close relationship to a stunning blonde. Vanessa agrees to accompany her friend's son to Austria - which was the reason that the newsreel was mentioned in the first place. The teenager is a bit of fresh air in Stewart's writing, being rather different from her usual cast of characters. He is perhaps a bit too much from the clean cut, adventurous and (above all) decently English style of hero, like a more grown up member of the Famous Five, but he is reasonably charming.

The story revolves around the Lippizaner horses, and their exquisite dressage, an unusual background (for an adult novel, at least). It is certainly one of Stewart's most memorable, even with much less of a sense of place than her novels usually give. A charming romantic thriller.

No comments: