Madam, Will You Talk?

Narrated by: Emilia Fox
Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (216 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The pioneer of romantic suspense, Mary Stewart, leads listeners on a thrilling journey through a dangerous and deadly Provence in this tale perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and Barbara Pym.   

It sounds idyllic: a leisurely drive through the sun-drenched landscape of Provence. But Charity's dream holiday turns into a nightmare when she becomes embroiled in a sinister plot to kidnap a young boy. She soon finds herself in a deadly pursuit and must uncover whom to trust...and whom to fall for.   

Whenever I look back now on the strange and terrifying events of that holiday in Southern France, I remember the minutes I spent gazing at the golden arches of the Roman aqueduct over the Gardon...the last brief lull before the thunder.   

©1956 Mary Stewart (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

What listeners say about Madam, Will You Talk?

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At last

So thrilled to have Mary Stewart on board audible. I believe this was her first novel, and is still a favorite of mine. Looking forward to more UNABRIDGED releases. Narration was perfectly wonderful.

20 people found this helpful

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Romantic Suspense in Provence

This is the first novel by Mary Stewart, originally published in 1955. War widow Charity Selborne is having a holiday in the south of France with her friend Louise, escaping from the English climate and the still restrictive rationing of meat and other items in post WWII England. This gave readers at the time a chance to enjoy vicariously the pleasures of the table that had been limited for years. She encounters mysterious people, a small boy and his mongrel dog in danger, and must decide for herself what to do, which side to take and how to proceed. I don't want to discuss the plot in detail, as it would be almost impossible to avoid spoilers, and for first time listeners to know the outcome would damage the journey.

Mary Stewart could be said to have reinvented the modern romantic suspense novel. She went on to write over a dozen more before changing track and reinventing the Merlin/King Arthur fantasy suspense area starting with The Crystal Cave. Her novels are always a joy to read, well written and with some engaging characters and an eye for setting that transports the reader. I am so glad that Audible seems to be re-releasing audio versions of her classic romantic suspense novels.

And Emilia Fox, whose work I have enjoyed on a number of Agatha Christie's novels, does a very fine job of translating the adventure to audio.

I look forward to more Mary Stewart releases by Audible.

17 people found this helpful

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Perfect Narrator for the Book!!

I have been asking for years to have Mary Stewart's romantic mysteries recorded. Unabridged and recorded in full. There have been a couple of titles that have been recently released. Each one has had a different narrator. This one is PERFECT for the material. A familiarity with French and classic literature is required and she manages it very easily, making it seem perfectly natural that one would be familiar with quotations from poets and Shakespeare at the drop of a hat. I LOVED that. Mary Stewart wrote deliciously exotic travel mysteries after WWII. So, yes, while it was once contemporary, at this point it feels like historical fiction. But it is sooo very well done and enjoyable. Now, I'm waiting for the rest to be released. Just hoping they use Emilia Fox for the remainder of the books.

8 people found this helpful

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I prefer the Nyree Dawn Porter version.

A wondrous Stewart novel, especially considering it was her first. The 1985 reading by Nyree Dawn Porter on Audiobooks was better acted, however, than this new version.

6 people found this helpful

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Wonderful narration of a modern romantic suspense classic

Listening to Mary Stewart so beautifully narrated has been a real pleasure.
I own all the Mary Stewart romantic suspense books and reread them periodically. The narrator’s voice needs to resonate with the voice in the reader’s head, especially when it is a reread. Emilia Fox has done a perfect job.
Modern romantic suspense, although exciting and often inspiring, doesn’t always have a real heroine in an unusual circumstance. Somehow the woman has special skills or is braver or gutsier than a real woman would be. Mary Stewart’s heroines are real, smart, and although they sometimes run to protect themselves or others, they take their opportunities and/or think their way through sticky (dangerous) situations realistically. They are not always strong, are not profane, do not “kick a”, are not argumentative but do not back down.
For instance, this heroine realizes that provoking her enemy is dangerous but pandering to his ego might allow her to fool him into doing something that would allow her to get away. (These things don’t always work the way they are planned.)
Mary Stewart also has beautiful, lyrical prose and vivid yet concise descriptions. The reader is there in the hot south of France admiring ancient buildings and racing along the coastal road to get away from her pursuer, or ignorantly trusting an enemy and feeling that moment of realization that she is in fact in mortal danger and must figure out a way to escape and still save her friends.
Although the books are written after the second world war when cars were not as fast and male-female relationships were more traditional, the women are smart, independent, and save themselves (sometimes with some help). They are Mavericks of the mid twentieth century and still inspirational for women today.

5 people found this helpful

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A Delightful Read becomes a Great Listen

This book by Mary Stewart has everything, engaging characters, fabulous setting, and intriguing plot. I've read it many times since I was a teenager and always enjoyed it. Fun to think of Charity madly driving down a cliffside road while the bad guy (well, we won't give it away, but this is no shrinking vine heroine). The only thing lacking was a good audio version of the book, and now Emilia Fox has capably filled that gap. Her voice perfectly suits Charity's narrative style, and is a delight to listen to. I hope she will go on to resurrect some more of Stewart's classics, like The Ivy Tree. Bravo!

4 people found this helpful

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A wonderful story of romance and suspense

Mary Stewart has long been a favorite of mine, and this perfectly narrated version is one I will listen to again and again.
Who doesn’t love Charity driving as her Johnny taught her through the countryside of France!
I give it five stars.

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Top narration

One of my favourite Mary Stewart stories, told with a top-notch narration. A very pleasurable listen.

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Excellent’

This is one of my favorites. So happy to see it on Audible - and with great narration.

3 people found this helpful

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THE GRAND DAME OF ROMANTIC SUSPENSE

Mary Stewart wrote perfect novels of romantic suspense and Madam, Will You Talk is no exception. I had read this book many years ago, but this narrator made it come to life and even though I sort of remembered the plot, i was still shocked by a couple of the twists. Anyone who likes Nora Roberts won't go wrong with Mary Stewart.


#AmateurDetective #Suspenseful #France #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jude
  • 11-04-18

So pleased to have this in my library - excellent

I am slightly biased, but I love this book, and I was so pleased when I saw Emilia Fox was narrating. I first read it in my early twenties, my mother was a great fan, and I was quickly caught up in the intrigue of Mary Stewart's novels. The locations and story intrigued me, and made me want to experience these fantastic places for myself all my life (Australia is a long way from France, but I am thrilled that I have now visited them all). So it was a happy to see Audible releasing modern narrations of Mary Stewart titles.

As far as I know, Mary Stewart was the first to write romantic suspense novels, and they are all set in excellent locations. They do not follow on from each other - they are all works that stand alone with different characters.

Written in 1955, Madam, Will You Talk? does have some period language, and the vehicles are obviously set in that time space. However, I listen in the same way I listen to Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers, as period works. Mary Stewart's books have more suspense, but good plots - they were only 20 years old when I read them, now they are period!!

Filled with beautiful descriptions of rural France, historical Roman towns, car chases and the climate of France post WW2 and of course some romance, You tend to like the characters you are supposed to like, and treat the rest with suspicion.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Fredfiend
  • 05-04-19

Wonderful!

This is one of my favourite books - what a joy to have it read by Emilia Fox; absolutely pitch perfect, completely faithful to the period in which it was written but still managing to sound fresh and contemporary. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Sue
  • 11-23-18

Enjoyed as much as first time I read!

Fabulous reading of an old favourite which I loved when first published. A delight! Recommended highly. Super!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Podenco Fan
  • 11-11-18

Timeless,Stylish and So Very Beautifully Written

This book was such a wonderful treat - as was discovering Mary Stewart for the first time and I find it incredible that, as a huge mystery fan this was my first encounter with her fabulous writing and even more that this was never made into a movie as that would have been just too too divine.
Published in 1955 and Mary Stewart's first of many novels, after a little Googling I was amazed to see that she is credited with creating the Romantic Mystery Novel and if this was the first ever in the genre, combined with the suspenseful and delicious writing, I cannot believe this book is not more famous, especially as it not only stands the test of time but is all the more gorgeous and glamorous for it, conjuring up all the allure, elegance and style of a bygone age with natural authenticity.
Emilia Fox was a dream narrator for this book as she really did it proud making it come alive like the glorious movie it should have been made into and perhaps even might be picked up at this late date. Of course I am a sucker for all the greats like Rebecca, Laura and for me I saw this in the same style but with touches of Roman Holiday and To catch A Thief, with adventure danger and the promise of romance never far away.
I loved the beautiful descriptions of the sunny French location, the amazing feistiness of the plucky, stiff upper lip heroine, who made a lot of modern day protagonists, both male and female look like wimps with her daring, devilish driving and cool head. It seems Mary Stewart was also ahead of her time in her compassion to animals throughout the story in a time when thi was sadly lacking in the world, so I am thinking she must have been a very exceptional woman who was incredibly ahead of her time which is why this story is so fresh today.
In fact, the only thing that gives this book away as being over 70 years old is the clever use of cigarettes as props and of course the descriptions of how France was so primitive, exotic and dangerous, with mule carts, beggars sleeping on the outskirts of Avignon, sinister alleys and leery drunken sailors and the kind of place that anything could and would happen and crimes went unnoticed and unreported as part of every day life. There was a couple of words which we consider politically incorrect today and what seems like a rather naive description in the Mercedes which to my naughty mind was a series of double entendres ... but perhaps as Mary Stewart was such an amazingly modern woman, this was her intention - anyway it gave me a giggle!
The whole book is written with such panache and read so evocatively that I seldom have had such vivid pictures painted for me and after I guessed the first and second twist, I then realised that this was part of the charm of the book as the reader is drawn into a "He's behind YOU!!" moment, knowing more than the protagonist. But do not worry there are more twists and turns than a serpent's tail and it is impossible not to just jump on board for this romatinc and reckless rollercoaster of a ride.
All this and the suspense, the atmosphere of France in the 50's, the dashing and gorgeous men, the impossibly elegant women, the allure of a bygone age - the nightly "heure du cocktail" where the hotel guests met up and sipped Vermouth was all just a wonderful holiday for me.
I especially loved the opening chapters describing the sun drenched balconies, cobbled courtyard, couture clothes and lazy long limbed fair girl who was the travelling companion for this gorgeous motoring holiday in an open topped racing green Riley sports car.
Too too too divine ... I will never forget this magical, mysterious, menacing adventure which Mary Stewart took me on which had everything including the promise of a jolly good kissing by a devastatingly dishy gentleman or two!
What more could a girl ask for?

11 people found this helpful

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  • Pat G
  • 12-20-18

Madam will you talk, l will listen!

A familiar book given new life by Emilia Fox's delightful reading of Mary Stewart's elegant descriptive prose.
As usual the heroine misjudged the hero, but the twists in the story are well woven and clearly and satisfactorily concluded.
A compelling read/listen.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-12-19

Beautifully performed novel

Atmospheric and pictorial text, frightfully British, satisfyingly mildly tense, comfortable ending, clearly-defined characters and smooth plot.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Carrie
  • 02-07-19

Delicious escapism

I loved this book, a decorous and at times quite thrilling story. Super narration by Emilia Fox who is a perfect choice for romantic adventures in a more charming age with strong women characters.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mr P J Beech
  • 01-05-19

Lovely Book

I love Mary Stewart’s books and was so happy to see that some are now audiobooks.
I really enjoyed this. It was very exciting.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sue
  • 08-08-19

excellent compulsive read<br />

as the title says this is a book that you won't want to put down until you reach the last sentence

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  • Stephie
  • 06-07-19

Fantastic narration of a firm favourite.

If you're a fan of Mary Stewart, don't hesitate. I loved every minute of this, and it was a joy to experience it being read to me. More please!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Aussielee
  • 09-16-19

Masterful

Anyone thinking of writing a romantic suspense book, take note, this is how you do it.

Actually Mary Stewart didn’t just write romantic suspense, she’s been credited with inventing the genre. Unbelievably, after skimming through reviews here on Goodreads, most are of the opinion that this, her 1955 debut, is Stewart’s weakest and least polished book. Unbelievable because it’s seriously good.

The book is set after WW2 which left our heroine, Charity, a widow. Charity travels to France for a holiday and, whilst staying in an Avignon resort, she gets to know one of the guests, a young boy, David. Charity’s natural maternal instinct kicks in and she soon becomes protective of, and friendly with, David. However, this puts her in danger when she and David are being pursued by David’s father, a man who has recently been charged with murdering his wife's lover.

It’s difficult to write suspenseful action scenes but Stewart does it with ease. Her cat and mouse chases, in particular, are spectacularly written. She also made me believe wholeheartedly in the romance. There was a real chemistry between Charity and her romantic lead. At times the air just crackled between them.

I love Alfred Hitchcock movies and this book is basically like reading a book version of one of his movies. I immediately cast Cary Grant and Grace Kelly whilst reading this. In fact, I struggle to understand why no one ever made it into a movie.

Given the age of the book I assumed there would be parts full of political incorrectness and just generally old fashioned views. I was pleasantly surprised that, for the most, this isn’t the case. There are a few parts which have scenes showing men bullying women but they’re not as grating as I feared. Actually, if anything, my fears were unfounded when it came to Charity. She was a strong independent woman who pretty much managed to get herself out of the many sticky situations she landed in throughout - usually without the help of a man. Okay, at times she gets a little help from males (even in a roundabout way she is helped by her late husband) but a lot of the time, it’s her own ingenuity that saves her.

The constant smoking of the characters is probably the most noticeable difference in the eras! Cigarettes are lit up for every occasion! LOL

I listened to this in audio version and it was read by Emilia Fox who proved acting royalty can be handy when it comes to classy narration. Fox is easily one of the best narrators I’ve come across in audio-land thus far. I highly recommend this version.

I must give thanks to group challenges here on Goodreads. I would have probably never picked up this book to read if it wasn’t for the ‘book with a question as a title’ category that I was stumped on before deciding on this novel. Now, given that I really loved this book, I’m looking forward to some serious binge reading of Stewart's other works.

Easily a 5/5

2 people found this helpful