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02 February 2017 @ 06:47 pm
Mary Stewart's Wildfires at Midnight was another emergency used-bookstore Gothic novel purchase for my plane ride today, but, alas, kind of a disappointing one.

Wildfires at Midnight traps Our Heroine, fashion model Gianetta, at a vacation-and-fishing lodge in the beautiful mountains of Skye with a Wacky Cast of Characters including:

- a movie star
- a couple of ambiguously lesbian mountain-climbers
- a more famous mountain-climber
- a writer of travel guides
- a happy Boring Fishing Couple
- an unhappy Boring Fishing Couple
- Gianetta's famous writer ex-husband, who cheated on her after they realized they had nothing in common
- Gianetta's alternate love interest, an attractive man with a tragic past
- Gianetta's husband's buddy with no personality

So far so Gilligan's Island, except of course that one of them is ... a MURDERER!!!

Which seems like an OK setup, except all of these people are awfully boring and somewhat indistinguishable (I kept forgetting which boring fishing couple was which, and mixing up Gianetta's husband's buddy with Gianetta's alternate love interest) and the ones who do show a glimmer of being interesting (i.e., most of the other women) disappear from the story with pretty astounding speed. (Not all dead! But the ones who are not dead are still written off into places where they cannot be interesting anymore.)

In the thrilling finale, it turns out that Gianetta's alternate love interest is the murderer (as is obvious, because he's attractive and seems nice, and this is a Gothic). His motivation? Well, you see, his tragic childhood + hereditary insanity somehow led him to invent a religion that worships MOUNTAINS, which causes him to hate PEOPLE WHO TRY TO CONQUER MOUNTAINS! And he has therefore been wandering around murdering innocent mountaineers all season, with an occasional pagan bonfire human sacrifice just to keep things interesting.

Gianetta, meanwhile, aroused his romantic interest because she said once she thought it would be a shame if anyone successfully climbed Everest, thus revealing her to be one of the few people who Properly Respect Mountains.

However their love is not to be because a.) he has murdered SO MANY innocent mountaineers and b.) Gianetta's designated love interest is, of course, the ex-husband who cheated on her because they had nothing in common. They have two conversations in the course of the book. In the first conversation, he corners her sinisterly in a hallway and freaks her out by demanding to know she would do if it turned out he was the murderer. In the second one, he rescues her from her alternate love interest and they decide to get remarried. I hope they'll be very happy, but I admit I have my doubts.

This entry is cross-posted at Livejournal from http://skygiants.dreamwidth.org/464300.html. Please feel free to comment here or there! There are currently comment count unavailable comments on Dreamwidth.