Review by Deb Czajkowski
Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Unless of course the mystery is where you left your glasses or the car keys! In this collection of short stories by famed author Mary Higgins Clark, an accurate genre would be “whodunit,” categorizing most of these imaginary tales as murder mysteries.
Death Wears a Beauty Mask, the first in the thriller line-up, is a novella that Clark began writing in 1974. It dramatizes the negative, the harsh, the cut-throat side of New York City’s fashion world. Putting the original unfinished manuscript aside, Clark then wrote Where Are the Children?, the novel that launched her career as a New York Times bestselling author. Now, four decades later, Clark returned to this novella and wrote its conclusion.
Sisters Alexandra and Janice Saunders lost their mother when Janice was born. Alexandra, older by six years, became the only mother Janice ever knew. Then, at age eighteen, Alexandra left for New York to pursue a modeling career. Now, twelve years later, Alexandra is a successful model, still calling New York home, and Janice has graduated from USC and married an attorney named Mike.
Unable to attend Janice’s graduation and wedding due to a modeling conflict, Alexandra made Janice promise that she and Mike would spend a week of their honeymoon in New York with Alexandra. Janice and Mike arrive in New York, as scheduled, but Alexandra is surprisingly not at the airport to meet them; nor is she in her apartment, awaiting their arrival. It soon becomes apparent that no one close to Alexandra has seen her in several days, and they’re all beginning to worry. Before suitcases can even be unpacked, a missing persons report turns into a murder investigation.
The Other Stories include a fictional feast of intrigue, subterfuge, and electrifying suspense, pulling you in and holding you captive until the last page is read. If you’ve read some of the author’s short works written over the course of her lifetime, you’ll recognize some of her favorite characters, such as Alvirah and Willy, and My Gal Sunday. Because these featured anecdotes are really quite short, you’ll be amazed how quickly the time ─and the pages─fly by.
October is a particularly great month to read Death Wears a Beauty Mask and Other Stories by Mary Higgins Clark. And the closer we get the Halloween, the spookier they’ll become. Grab a cup of hot apple cider or a pumpkin latte and get cozy with Death Wears a Beauty Mask and Other Stories. Be sure to leave a light on!
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About the Author:
Mary Higgins Clark's books are world-wide bestsellers. In the U.S. alone, her books have sold over 100 million copies. Mary Higgins Clark's fame as a writer was achieved against heavy odds. Born and raised in the Bronx, her father died when she was eleven and her mother struggled to raise her and her two brothers. On graduating from high school, she went to secretarial school, so she could get a job and help with the family finances. After three years of working in an advertising agency, travel fever seized her. For the year 1949, she was a stewardess on Pan American Airlines' international flights. "My run was Europe, Africa and Asia," she recalls. "I was in a revolution in Syria and on the last flight into Czechoslovakia before the Iron Curtain went down. After flying for a year, she married a neighbor, Warren Clark, nine years her senior, whom she had known since she was 16. Soon after her marriage, she started writing short stories, finally selling her first to Extension Magazine in 1956 for $100.
Left a young widow by the death of her husband from a heart attack in 1964, Mary Higgins Clark went to work writing radio scripts and, in addition, decided to try her hand at writing books. Every morning, she got up at 5 AM and wrote until 7 AM, when she had to get her five children ready for school.
In 1996, Mary Higgins Clark married John Conheeney, the retired Chairman and CEO of Merrill-Lynch Futures. They live in Saddle River, New Jersey. Between them, they have seventeen grandchildren -- Mary's six and John's eleven.
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