Nancy Harmon long ago fled the heartbreak of her first marriage, the macabre deaths of her two little children, and the shocking charges against her. She changed her name, dyed her hair, and left California for the windswept peace of Cape Cod. Now remarried, she has two more beloved children, and the terrible pain has begun to heal — until the morning when she looks in the backyard for her little boy and girl and finds only one red mitten. She knows that the nightmare is beginning again….
When I was in high school and college, I graduated from Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden to Sandra Brown and Mary Higgins Clark mysteries. In fact, when I was in college, I still had dreams about becoming a mystery novelist and came up with an idea for a story. Much to my surprise, the very next Mary Higgins Clark novel I picked up had the same basic premise, right down to what the main character looked like and her occupation! So I let her keep writing books, convinced that I had no original ideas to write my own book. With the upcoming publication of the sequel to her most popular book, I thought I’d revisit Where Are the Children? (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (Audible) (AbeBooks)
Nancy was a young woman living on the west coast when her two children were discovered murdered, and she became the prime suspect. She was later convicted for their deaths but was let go on a technicality. She started over, changed how she dressed, cut her hair and dyed it, and moved to Cape Cod. She got remarried, had more children, and lived a quiet life off the Cape, constantly living in fear that she would be recognized from the highly sensationalized trial.
Unfortunately, the absolute worst happens when Nancy’s face appears on the local newspaper, pinning her down, and don’t you know it, her new children disappear, too! Of course, suspicion naturally falls on Nancy.
Looking back to when this book was written, just a few years after I was born, this story featured some pretty heavy topics like pedophilia, so it’s hinted at, and Higgins Clark doesn’t come right out and say it. Of course, now writers can just write about it without having to couch their language, so it just goes to show you that the author was very skilled at making a suspenseful book while skirting around a terrible subject.
Considering the fact that this was Higgins Clark first suspense book, it was fast-paced and well written. The thrills and chills were all there. It certainly launched a successful career of one of my favorite writers when I was in my teens and early 20’s. I can’t wait to see how Alafair Burke continues this story with Nancy’s adult children in Where Are the Children Now (Amazon US) (Amazon UK), due out this spring.
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