Mary Queen of Plots

The writing of Mary Stewart (1916-2014)

Questions and comments

This is a space for general, public comments and questions.

There is still the opportunity to reply below every post – for comments that tend to be specific, relating to the book/subject of each post, and these are public comments.

There is still  the ‘Get in Touch’ form. This contact form is private, your comment is emailed to me and I reply to your email address. (For example, if you were to win a book giveaway and needed to send me your address, or if you had a spoilerific plot enquiry, this is the best way to contact me.) Many interesting comments have arrived via this ‘Get in Touch’ form, not for privacy reasons but because it was the best way to send a question that was not connected to any of my posts. Now you can contact me using this page, the conversation will be public and everyone can join in!

This is an experiment, I don’t know if it will work very well. Please let me know if there is a better way to manage comments and questions!

12 thoughts on “Questions and comments

  1. Allison, thank you so much for this amazing blog! Mary Stewart has been my favorite author since I was 11 or 12 years old, when my mother first handed me one of her books. I’m so glad I found your blog, and all of the wonderful material you’ve collected.

    My question is this: have you come across any pictures of Fred Stewart, especially as a young man? It would be very interesting to see what Mary’s husband looked like, particularly around the time they married.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, thank you for your kind comments, Erin! I haven’t seen photos of Fred as a young man (in my head, he looks as Donald is described in The Ivy Tree). There is a photo of Fred and Mary in her obituary in The Times (see sidebar of this blog) and his hair is just as I pictured it! The only other photo of them that I have seen – somewhere – is a 1970s one in which she is wearing a white stetson, I’ll let you know if I find a link to this. Possibly online obituary articles for him might include photos from his youth? – his obit in the Scotsman has a photo of him with white hair. I would really like to see a 1940s photo of him too – he must have been quite something because when they met for the first time, at a VE Day fancy dress dance, Mary Stewart writes: ‘Ten minutes later I met for the first time a young Geology lecturer called Stewart, and thirty seconds after that decided to marry him.’ That was in May 1945 and they were married in September 1945!


  2. Oh happy day. The Mary Stewart romances appeared on American Amazon Kindle. They weren’t there last year when I checked and now they are there and also in my Fire, mine as long as there is electricity. I’m thinking there because of the Centenary. The beginning and the best of the Gothic romances of my youth and the romance suspense published now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dorothy, yes you seem to have had a long long wait in the US before Mary Stewart books were made available as ebooks – time to make up for lost time now? I’m glad to hear how much you like her books.


  3. Oh joy! As you recall yesterday I found your Blog, and now I’ve been absorbed in reading older posts and enjoying the pictures. (Yes, of course I have so many other things I should be doing, like finishing a short story with a very close deadline.)

    And then, imagine my surprise when I found reference to Wind of the Small Isles and the Lost One. Oh, fine, The Lost One (Perdita) is just one of those annoying alternative titles–usually American–of a familiar book. Because it truly could be another title for WOTSI.

    And since I’ve smugly owned a copy of WOTSI since I found it in the Oxfam Book Shop in Oxford in 1973, I just said, fine, whatever. Until this morning I looked closer and realised …. Oh Oh Oh! A newly discovered story!!! And available!! So thanks, Allison. I jumped right onto ABEbooks (after checking at with no luck) and now a new, inexpensive, free-shipping copy is even now on its way to me from somewhere in England.

    Okay, okay, I’ll curb my excitement and get back to work.

    (Yikes. I’ve used more ! in this comment than I did in all of 2017.)

    P.S. I’m a friend of Jerri Chase, through our love of D E Stevenson, and she directed me to your site.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Susan,

      Thanks for getting in touch again. I’m intrigued that you are a writer, I’ve had a quick peek at your website and blog and will be revisiting!

      I’m so glad that you will be able to read ‘The Lost One’ very soon. I remember my excitement when I discovered a reference (in Mary Stewart’s papers at the National Library of Scotland) to ‘The Lost One’, I felt compelled to write to Mary Stewart about it and I’m quite sure there were an illegal number of exclamation marks in the letter.

      My post called Re-issue of The Wind Off the Small Isles (Sept 2016) discusses the reply I received from Mary Stewart and that her original intention was to write a third Perdita story to make a ‘book-length’ book. I’m sad that never happened but I’m glad that I was able to publicise the existence of ‘The Lost One’ to Hodder and assure them that it was indeed the same Perdita in both stories, as Mary Stewart’s notes in the NLS and her letter to me make clear.

      How lovely that you are a friend of Jerri, I’ve had a fair bit of discussion with her recently and enjoyed it very much.

      And now a confession – I have never read any D E Stevenson. So many people have recommended her to me over the years and I am convinced I would love her books. Yet somehow I never see her books and somehow I forget to check to see if they are in print. I really must fix this!


  4. Hi, what a delight to find your blog! I loved Mary Stewart books since I was a teenager. I’m trying to find an audio version of Nine Coaches Waiting. They used to have it at the library, but it seems to have been pulled. If anyone can help me locate a copy, please do!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Paula, welcome to the blog! Sorry not to have replied before now, I am just catching up on my blog. I’m delighted to hear from another admirer of Mary Stewart’s novels, as I love her writing too. I have never listened to an audio version of any of her books and I am not sure where you could track one down but hopefully someone reading this can help. Who narrated the version you listened to of Nine Coaches Waiting?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. HI Alison! I love your blog. It’s fun to hear from others who have loved the books of Mrs. Stewart as much as I. I have a few First Edition (US) hardcover books and would like to collect more. My dream is to have U.K. printed first editions (hardcover)…well, a girl can dream! Anyway, I have a question for you. There are so many publishers, do you know of a list, or where one can find out which publisher printed the true first printed US first edition?
    Thanks so much for any help you can give, and don’t stop reading!



    1. Hi Nan, thanks for getting in touch. I’m afraid I know little about the US editions of Mary Stewart’s books. She stayed with Hodder (& Stoughton) in the UK throughout her career and her books were published first in the UK. As far as I know, William Morrow was her US publisher, which has morphed into HarperCollins over the years, but I don’t know whether she *always* stuck with them. Perhaps some-one else reading these comments can give a more detailed or accurate reply?

      Liked by 1 person

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