Airs Above the Ground. Finished 7-22-19, 3.25/5 stars, suspense, 373 pages, pub. 1965
Lovely Vanessa March, two years married and very much in love, did not think it was a strange for her husband to take a business trip to Stockholm. What was strange was the silence that followed. She never thought to look for her missing husband in Vienna — until she saw him in a newsreel shot there at the scene of a deadly fire. Then she caught a glimpse of him in a newsreel shot of a crowd near a mysterious circus fire and knew it was more than strange. It was downright sinister.
Vanessa is propelled to Vienna by the shocking discovery. In her charge is young Timothy Lacy, who also has urgent problems to solve. But her hunt for answers only leads to more sinister questions in a mysterious world of white stallions of Vienna. But what promises to be no more than a delicate personal mission turns out to involve the security forces of three countries, two dead men, a circus and its colourful personnel. And what waits for Vanessa in the shadows is more terrifying than anything she has ever encountered. from Goodreads
I’ve been wanting to try a Mary Stewart book for years since I knew she was one of the first writers of romantic mystery. Although over 50 years old, the characters and dialogue hold up remarkable well. I enjoyed Vanessa and Tim and their adventures across parts of Europe. There was a twist not quite in the middle that I loved, but I don’t want to spoil it by telling you any more about it. There was some brief romance, but I’d have a hard time characterizing this as romantic suspense by today’s standards.
As much as those things worked for me, just when the story hit its peak, there was a long, drawn out chase scene that bored me to tears. And there is a lot of horse in this story. If you like horses I’d guess that you would get way more out of the story than I did. I learned a lot about the Spanish Riding School and it’s not something that drew me into the story, but might someone else.
Overall, I thought it felt fresh even though it was written in a time when people watched their news at the movie theater 🙂