Hello and happy Mary Stewart Day to all. Today would have been Mary Stewart’s 106th birthday and I wonder how many of us are celebrating her life and writing by reading one of her novels or poems?

I am hoping to begin Wildfire at Midnight this evening. Current events are making this novel the obvious choice for me: since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, blanket television coverage here in the UK has included scenes from the Queen’s Coronation on 2 June 1953, plus live footage shows the huge queue of people wishing to visit as the Queen lies in state, first at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh and now in Westminster Hall in London. All this prompts me to re-read Wildfire because, as I have written on my page Wildfire at Midnight:

It is set on the Isle of Skye in 1953, at the time of both the British Mount Everest expedition and Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. Gianetta has come to Skye to escape the crowds gathering for the coronation in London but finds herself in a nightmare situation as there is a killer on the island and she does not know who she can trust… The ascent of Everest is echoed by the climbers on Blaven, just as the wait to find out how the Everest expedition is faring is replicated by the waiting for news of what has happened to a missing hotel guest. Perhaps too the ritualistic coronation of a queen is being mimicked by the removal of jewellery from Heather Macrae?

I consider myself an ‘escape the crowds’ person like Gianetta, especially as I would describe myself as (mildly) more republican than monarchist, yet for reasons I still don’t quite understand I made my way to Edinburgh and queued five hours to file through St Giles to say farewell to the Queen. I am very glad that I went, as it was a peace-filled journey where I was able to mourn my loved ones as well as the passing of a Queen of faith, integrity and service. It was at heart an encouraging and uplifting evening surrounded by others on similar journeys (*waves to Jane and Aggie*).

So tonight I shall read Wildfire at Midnight and I shall remember three remarkable women who died in their 90s: Mary Stewart, Queen of Plots; Queen Elizabeth II; and my dear Gran.