Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...
>Mary Higgins Clark
A CLEAN-CUT CASE
SHE IS THE MASTER OF WHAT THE British call cozy mysteries, a seeming anachronism in this age of blood-soaked thrillers. "Schools put them on reading lists for 12-year-olds," says Mary Higgins Clark, "because there is no sex or violence." Yet it amuses Clark when fans refer to her books as "clean." "The first," she notes of 1975's Where Are the Children?, "was about childhood sexual molestation. It's not the subject but the way you treat the subject." With more than 30 million copies of her 15 titles in print in the U.S., Clark is doing something right.
The author of the new Moonlight Becomes You says she is happy to see other female suspense writers rising to the top. "There's more room for us today," Clark says. Though she cites Sue Grafton and Patricia Cornwall as favorites, her tastes are broad. "My new book starts with a woman buried alive. So I read Down to Earth, about funeral practices through the ages."
Clark, 65, lives in New Jersey near her five children (with airline executive Warren Clark) and six grandchildren. A widow for 32 years, she says she has no particular desire to remarry ("I made such a good choice at 21") and is enjoying the life of "an aging debutante. I have three buddies, all widows, and we go on trips together."
Those far-flung adventures, though, will someday come to an end. "In 1974, before I published Where Are the Children?" she recalls, "I went to a fortune teller. She told me, 'You're going to make a great deal of money and be famous. You'll live to old age and die abroad.' So after 80, I'll quit traveling."
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