Picks and Pans Review: The Anastasia Syndrome and Other Stories

updated 01/29/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/29/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Mary Higgins Clark

Clark has probably gotten more nervous passengers through more bumpy flights than any author alive. Her ability to build suspense from Page One is blissfully evident in her first collection of short stories. There's a surprising twist, however: In the title novella, Clark probes the supernatural territory normally staked out by Stephen King.

London-based psychiatrist Reza Patel is noted for his controversial theory, the "Anastasia Syndrome," which holds that personalities from the past can propel themselves into bodies in the present. Soon Patel is counseling our heroine, Judith Chase, a best-selling author of historical books who has grown too close to her subject (the 17th-century British Civil War). Then a series of terrorist bombings begins.

Patel has every reason to apply his theory to his new patient—and the reader has every reason to race toward the quite atypical Clark conclusion.

Damsels in more standard forms of distress flutter through the other four stories. Only "The Lost Angel," a hurried Christmas tale of a kidnapped child, fails. Otherwise this is a refreshing collection. And look: Here we are in Milwaukee already. (Simon and Schuster, $19.95)

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