Mary Higgins Clark has written over 50 detective novels, including Where Are the Children? in 1975, which quickly became a world bestseller.
The best-selling author, one of the world's best-selling writers, died "peacefully" and "surrounded by family and friends" in Naples, Florida, said publisher Simon & Schuster.
Family dramas will convince her that the worst can always happen and it is this moment when everything changes which she likes to describe in her books. Her father dies of a heart attack when she is 10 years old and her mother, being alone with three children, is forced to share her house with tenants. Mary Higgins Clark will have to work very young, as a switchboard operator in a hotel then typist before getting married, at 20, and becoming a flight attendant for Pan Am. She will stop flying as a flight attendant to raise her children while continuing to write, in his kitchen from 5 to 7 am, before school time.
Mary Higgins Clark was 35 when her husband Warren Clark, the regional manager of Capital Airways died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 44, leaving her widowed with five dependent children. As a young girl, she already lost her older brother who died suddenly from meningitis, then her 15-month-old nephew fell from a window. She becomes a typist again but still dreams of making a living from her writing. After news, radio soap operas, a biography of George Washington, published but unsuccessful, she embarked on the detective story.
Into the ‘60s, she raised the children, studied writing at New York University and began getting stories published. Some illustrated upon her experiences at Pan American where she worked as a flight attendant.
Where Are the Children? is her first bestseller when it was published in 1975, as A Stranger is Watching (1977) made her a millionaire, prompting her French publisher, Albin Michel, to create a Special Suspense collection. Mary Higgins Clark was then finally a popular novelist but, to make up for lost time, she enrolled at Fordham University, in New York, where she obtained a bachelor's degree in philosophy, her first university degree, at 50 years of age.
A popular figure in literature, she has proven a successful author with worldwide success with numerous books.
In 1987, he was awarded the honor of presiding over the Mystery Writers of America and, the following year, the International Crime Congress, in New York. In 2000, Mary surprised the world of books by publishing Deck the halls, a crime novel co-signed with her daughter Carol. Mother and daughter will publish four more. Many of his crime novels have been adapted for television or film such as A Stranger Is Watching, 1982 (Where Are The Children 1986, All Around The Town, 2002.
Coined "the queen of suspense" for her ability to always keep the attention of her readers, she was one of the most widely read novelists in the world.
Tens of millions of readers will surely be affected by her death. Born in the Bronx in New York on December 24, 1927, into a modest family of Irish descent, she was considered the "Queen of Suspense". She has written more than fifty books sold in some hundred million copies, including more than 80 million in the United States, since her first big success in 1975, Where Are the Children.
In her memoirs, Kitchen privileges (2003), her autobiography, Mary Higgins Clark made the suspense last once more, the author tells about the salient facts of her life, multiplying anecdotes. She assured that she would write until her death because if "winning the lottery makes one year happy, doing what we love makes a lifetime happy".
Mary Clark, who wrote well into her 90s, was more than rewarded for her early family drama and struggles.
I'll just finish this post with a brief summary of Mary Clark first bestseller‘’Where Are the Children’’ which dates back to 1975.
Wanting to escape the terrible secret of her past, Nancy changed her name, appearance and hair color, before leaving the Westside and moving to Cape Cod where she married Ray Eldredge in the hope of finally be able to revive normally.
Seven years of happiness have passed in her new home with her husband and two beautiful children, Michael and Missy.
Then, one morning, an article appeared in the regional newspaper on a murder trial that caused a lot of ink in California and which is illustrated by the photo of a young woman strangely resembling Nancy. The same day, Michael and Missy mysteriously disappear. The past and the present then become inexorably linked. Nancy, has she lost her mind reading the article which brutally plunges her into a past which she desperately tried to flee? This is what the police fear. And nobody in town knows anything about this stranger who holds the lives of his children in his hands.
‘’Where Are the Children’’ distills a "steel" suspense and puts in place a puzzle as perverse as it is exciting, an action even more bouncing than in the famous ‘’A Stranger is Watching’’
A real masterstroke!
Married in 1996 to former Merrill Lynch Futures CEO John J. Conheeney, who passed away on October 8, 2018, Clark remembered well the day she said goodbye to hard times. It was in April 1977, and her agent had told her that Simon & Schuster was offering USD 500,000 for the hardcover to her third novel, “A Stranger is Watching,” and that the publisher Dell was paying USD 1 million for the paperback. She had been running her own script production company during the day and studying for a philosophy degree at Fordham University at night, returning home to New Jersey in an old car with more than 100,000 miles on it.
“As I drove onto the Henry Hudson Parkway, the tailpipe and muffler came loose and began dragging on the ground. For the next 21 miles, I Kur-plunked, all the way home,” she wrote in her memoir. “People in other cars kept honking and beeping, obviously sure that I was either too stupid or too deaf to hear the racket.
“The next day I bought a Cadillac!”
Mary Higgins Clark was similarly devoted to her readers, until very recently going out of her way to meet them while on tour for every one of her books, and drawing tremendous energy and satisfaction from her interactions with them, even though she long ago could have pulled back from that part of being an author. She was, too, a generous member of the literary community, especially toward new authors, and was well known beyond the publishing world for her support of innumerable philanthropic and civic causes.
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