The Pyrenees Mountains are impressive enough with any need to make them even more mysterious than they already are. But trust Mary Stewart to manage just that. If you know the mountains, you will know she has been there. As with all her mystery novels, this one is as much travel guide as it is mystery story. It is bound up in the local history of this wild region marking the border between France and Spain.
Dive into Paris and Versailles during the time of King Louis XV. Corruption and intrigue are ripe. France is an open playing field for the Duke of Avon. the English peer has earned the nickname Satanas from his enemies. Broke as a young man, he had toured Europe as a gamester. He gambled a young Austrian noble out of his fortune and retired to enjoy a lavish and sumptuous lifestyle.
This mystery book will take you to Austria's beautiful countryside. As it is all about a horse, you also get a lot of history about the Imperial Stud and the Spanish Riding School. As usual with Mary Stewart, her landscape descriptions are masterful and may sway your decision as to where to take your Austrian holiday. And the mystery will keep you guessing to the end.
If you think that writers or authors are a happy family, think again. They may be part of one big writing family, but the family can be highly dysfunctional. Authors are in fact able to be vitriolic in their abuse of other writers albeit with some style. Unlike the often incoherent mutterings of common internet trolls, their comments come with truly horrendous barbs, sharp like scalpels, and honed like harpoons.