Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mary Higgins Clark

I am an avid fan of the collected works of Mary Higgins Clark. I realize this makes me an old lady. I also enjoy wearing cardigans, and drinking hot cocoa. Furthermore, I like drinking hot cocoa while reading Mary Higgins Clark. I thoroughly enjoy the mixture of suspense, psychological thriller, and yes, mild romance. (If you're looking for something more smutty, try Tami Hoag). Offhand, MHC is the appropriate way to refer to this authoress. Not Clark, not Mary, MHC.

Now, there are several key characteristics essential to this mystery delight. First of all, the heroine is young, beautiful, and spunky. Second, the story is told from multiple parts of view, and seemingly unimportant characters, like the cleaning lady, are actually essential to the story. Don't get overly attached to these minor characters though, because they are just as likely to be murdered. Unfortunately, MHC's most recent works have been written from the 1st person point of view. I feel these are not as well written, nor as enjoyable, as her earlier works. (I consider her heyday to be late 70s-early 80s, with a resurgence in the mid 90s. It's actually quite amazing that she is still producing new novels, especially considering she has written about 40 books, and Wikipedia tells me she is 81. That was a long aside.) The point is, I feel the 1st person point of view limits the overall story arc, and I miss the minor characters. The third characteristic I would like to emphasize is the romance. MHC is also the mistress of the mystery of the heart. For example, brave young prosecutor Katie DeMaio must not only find out who murdered a pregnant woman and uncover the secrets of a creepy fertility clinic, but also decide if she can put the past behind her and open her heart to the handsome medical examiner, Dr. Richard Carroll. Now that's entertainment.

So judge me if you will, for reading the suspenseful fiction of the elderly. Judge me for trying to figure out the mystery, but not before I figure out which man the heroine will end up with. But don't judge MHC. The woman knows what she's doing.

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