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Mary Higgins Clark, one of our favorite suspense book author known for bestselling novels like Daddy’s Little Girl, and Where Are The Children, passed away on Friday, January 31, at the age of 92, surrounded by friends and family.
Known as the “queen of suspense,” she wrote over 50 books during her long-time career as a bestselling author. Her latest book was Kiss The Girls and Make Them Cry, published in 2019. Two of her books, including also A Stranger Is Watching, have been turned into movies, and a few others have been made into TV films. She wrote books even after she turned 90 just two years ago.
Many of her books focused on women who overcame lots of obstacles and danger, and she always achieved what she wanted to with her books: keep readers enthralled and turning the pages.
She started her writing career at the very young age of 6, when she wrote her first poem. During school, she also impressed her teachers with her writing skills, so much that one teacher asked her to read her story in front of the entire class. Over the years, she held several jobs, including working as a hotel switchboard operator and flight attendant for Pan American to help pay her bill until in 1949 she married Warren Clark, who was at the time the regional manager of Capital Airways.
Next, while raising her children, she went back to school to study writing at New York University, and then she started getting her stories published in various magazines. A few years later, when magazines were no longer accepting new stories as the market was shrinking, and after her husband’s death in 1964, Mary started working as a scriptwriter on a radio show about American presidents. Eventually, she started writing books and slowly selling them, each for more money than before.
Her major first bestseller was Where Are The Children, a book that she initially titled Die a Little Death. It was bought by Simon & Schuster, and after its publication in 1975, it became the book that propelled Mary Higgins Clark to international popularity. Some of her books were co-authored with her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark.
In 1996, she married former Merrill Lynch Futures CEO John J. Conheeney.
Michael Korda, editor-in-chief emeritus of Simon & Schuster, wrote about Marry Higgins Clark,
Nobody ever bonded more completely with her readers than Mary did; she understood them as if they were members of her own family. She was always absolutely sure of what they wanted to read—and, perhaps more important, what they didn’t want to read.