Mary Higgins Clark Sold Millions of Page-Turners

Suspense novelist, 92, wanted readers to not be able to put her books down
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 1, 2020 8:00 AM CST
Suspense Novelist Connected With Readers
Mary Higgins Clark, shown at her home in Saddle River, New Jersey, in 2004, became a novelist after her husband died.   (AP Photo/Mike Derer, File)

Mary Higgins Clark, the tireless and long-reigning "Queen of Suspense" whose tales of women beating the odds made her one of the world's most popular writers, died Friday at age 92. Her publisher, Simon & Schuster, announced that she died of natural causes in Naples, Florida, the AP reports. "Nobody ever bonded more completely with her readers than Mary did," her longtime editor Michael Korda said in statement. "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 — and yet she managed to surprise them with every book."

Widowed in her late 30s with five children, she became a perennial bestseller over the second half of her life, writing or co-writing A Stranger Is Watching, Daddy's Little Girl and more than 50 other favorites. Sales topped 100 million copies and honors came from all over. Many of her books were adapted for movies and television. Mary Higgins Clark specialized in women triumphing over danger, such as the besieged young prosecutor in Just Take My Heart or the mother of two and art gallery worker whose second husband is a madman in A Cry in the Night. Clark's goal was simple, if rarely easy: Keep the readers reading. "You want to turn the page," she said in 2013. "There are wonderful sagas you can thoroughly enjoy a section and put it down. But if you're reading my book, I want you stuck with reading the next paragraph. The greatest compliment I can receive is, 'I read your darned book till 4 in the morning, and now I'm tired.'"

(Read more obituary stories.)

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