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My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart

My Brother Michael (original 1959; edition 1959)

by Mary Stewart

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7581612,240 (3.84)49
Title:My Brother Michael
Authors:Mary Stewart
Info:Coronet (1980), Edition: Seventh Impression, Paperback, 254 pages
Collections:Read, Your library, Favorites, shortlist, Connect, reread, ['04 - '07], ['08 - '12]
Tags:1960s, historical, romance, murder mystery, mystery, British, holiday, thriller/suspense, read-2005, read-2007, read-2012

Work details

My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart (1959)

  1. 00
    Death in Berlin by M. M. Kaye (Herenya)
    Herenya: Mid 20th century; overseas holidays disrupted by murder. Although the tone of the mystery differs in each, they both feature characters called Simon who have a lot in common...

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This is my favorite of Mary Stewart's books that I have read so far. It weaves history, mythology and an exotic location to make an exciting story. Her books have always made me want to travel to these locations. ( )
  judy.morrison.79 | Mar 2, 2017 |
“You find that the grave of Michael Lester is as moving and as important as the 'tomb of Agamemnon' at Mycenae, or Byron or Venizelos or Alexander. He, and the men like him, are a part of the same picture.” I stopped, and then said helplessly, “Greece. Damn it, what is that it does to one?

He was silent a moment, then he said, “I think the secret is that it belongs to all of us—to us of the West. We've learned to think in its terms, and to live in its laws. It's given us almost everything that our world has that is worth while. Truth, straight thinking, freedom, beauty. It's our second language, our second line of thought, our second country. We all have our own country—and Greece.”

On the heels of a broken engagement, 25-year-old Camilla Haven is traveling alone in Greece. Her money is almost exhausted and she'll have to return to England soon. While she's sitting in an Athens cafe trying to come up with a way to stretch her remaining money to allow for a trip to Delphi, a man appears with keys to the car that he insists she hired to drive to Delphi on a matter of life and death. There's obviously been some mistake, for the person who hired the car is described as “Simon's girl”, and Camilla doesn't know anyone named Simon. However, Camilla's six words of Greek aren't enough to get her out of this muddle. The man disappears before she can convince him he has the wrong person. With no way to return the car to its owner, she decides to drive it to Delphi and deliver it to Simon, who is surely there waiting for it. After all, it's a matter of life or death.

As luck would have it, Camilla finds Simon before she reaches Delphi, but he's as puzzled as she is about the car. Camilla feels responsible for the car, and Simon feels responsible for Camilla, so they join forces to look for another Simon. Meanwhile, this Simon has his own reason for being in Delphi. His older brother, Michael, had been there during World War II, and had died there. Simon's recent discovery of his brother's last letter home has brought him to Delphi to search for answers.

Mary Stewart helped to define the romantic suspense genre. Her novels are more than brain candy. They have weight and substance. Her main characters in this novel are well-read in the classics. They can see Homer and the pantheon of gods in the landscape and in the faces and bearing of the local residents. Readers will need to suspend their disbelief at some of the decisions required of Camilla and Simon to get them to the right location for the action to begin. The payoff is almost as rewarding as a trip to Greece, and much less expensive. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | Oct 30, 2016 |
When I was in school I had a habit of marking the end of the semesters by choosing a book by someone like Mary Stewart or Victoria Holt in order to really feel like I was on intellectual vacation. I hadn’t read this one before, but when I saw it recently on a list of suggested readings I thought it might be a change of pace.
It is in the first person, as many of these books seem to be, and that gives it simultaneously immediacy and a slow and gradual unfolding as the heroine learns about people and situations as they happen. The first half of the book, with its scene setting (Athens, Delphi in this case) is very well done, especially as I took the time to look up (briefly) some of the references to classics and history. Once the action starts it begins to seem really dated. Everyone smokes, and the repeated use of cigarettes and matches to mark attitudes, slow down conversations and show individual styles is startling. The heroine is trying to get over a failed relationship and make her own way, and ends up making some spur of the moment decisions that involve her in some relatively unlikely scenarios. While some actions do show a bit of spunk or growth, she is pretty superfluous for the results of the final confrontation. The most dispiriting quote, as the confrontation sets up and the hero comes into view, is “I only knew that [he] didn’t move, and I remember wondering, with a sick cold little feeling, if he was afraid.” Because you wouldn’t want a man who was afraid, would you? ( )
  ehousewright | Jun 15, 2016 |
I read this Mary Stewart book as a way to visit Greece. It was an excellent visit to Greece with a lot of mystery and suspense. Her characters and plot were excellent and her writing was remarkable. This book is a real classic and I look forward to reading more of her books in the near future. ( )
  EadieB | Jan 19, 2016 |
Camilla Haven decides to drive a strange car down to Delphi to deliver it to a guy named Simon who has ordered it under a "life or death emergency". Only problem is that when she gets to Delphi the only man in town whose name is Simon has no idea what she's talking about and Camilla suddenly finds herself in some strange circumstances.

I kept getting lost with some of the action in this book. I found myself constantly back tracking to figure out how Stewart made the leap from point A to point B and that made the story feel extremely choppy. I did, however, enjoy the plot of Simon trying to figure out why his brother was killed back in the day. I also liked the references to classic Greek plays like Antigone, but that's probably because I just had to trudge my way through a lot of those texts for my great books class. ( )
  Book_Minx | Jan 24, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Stewartprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kopperi, Pauli A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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If you do not love the Greeks, you cannot love anything. Rex Warner.
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Nothing ever happens to me.
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Book description

Camilla Haven is on holiday alone, and wishes for some excitement. She had been sitting quietly in a crowded Athens cafe writing to her friend Elizabeth in England, "Nothing ever happens tome..."

Then, without warning, a stranger approached, thrust a set of car keys at her and pointed to a huge black touring car parked at the curb. "The car for Delphi, mademoiselle... A matter of life and death," he whispered and disappeared.

From that moment Camilla her life suddenly begins to take off when she sets out on a mysterious car journey to Delphi in the company of a charming but quietly determined Englishman named Simon Lester. Simon told Camilla he had come to the ancient Greek ruins to "appease the shade” of his brother Michael, killed some fourteen years earlier on Parnassus. From a curious letter Michael had written, Simon believed his brother had stumbled upon something of great importance hidden in the craggy reaches of the mountainside. And then Simon and Camilla learned that they were not alone in their search...

The ride was Camilla's first mistake... or perhaps she unintentionally had invoked the gods. She finds herself in the midst of an exciting, intriguing, yet dangerous adventure. An extraordinary train of events turned on a nightmare of intrigue and terror beyond her wildest daydreams.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380820757, Mass Market Paperback)

Nothing ever happened to Camilla Haven -- until a stranger approached her in a crowded Athens café, handed her the keys to a black car parked by the curb,and whispered, "A matter of life and death."

The ride was Camilla's first mistake...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:01 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

While traveling in Greece, a young Englishwoman finds herself a pawn in a dangerous game of love and revenge, which comes to a dramatic climax high on Mt. Parnassus.

(summary from another edition)

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