To build up a reputation as one of the most solid and reliable of storytellers, it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel with each new book -- and Mary Higgins Clark knows perfectly well that her legion of admirers expect a certain standard narrative from her without any striking innovations or flourishes. And that dependability is fully on display in The Shadow of the Smile
, which delivers precisely the kind of reader-pleasing plotting that the author has virtually taken out a patent on -- no more, no less.
Olivia Morrow is well aware that her life is drawing to a close. At 83, she is the last of her clan, and as death approaches, Olivia is faced with a daunting decision: should she reveal a closely-guarded family secret or allow it to die with her? She possesses letters from a dead cousin, Catherine, who was a nun -- and who is now being considered as a candidate for sainthood by the Catholic Church. But the clandestine letters contain a startling fact: in her teenage years, Catherine became a mother, although she subsequently gave up her son for adoption. This is, of course, is incendiary information about someone who is scheduled for beatification. The letters also name the father, now a celebrated doctor of science. In the present, Catherine's granddaughter, Dr Monica Farrell, is the heir to the family fortune, but should the dying Olivia reveal these facts to her? Soon, the act of murder is weaved into this dangerous scenario, and there are those who want a long-guarded secret to remain just that.
Clark's admirers -- and they are many -- will know exactly what to expect from this latest book; it will glean no literary prizes, but will give great pleasure to those who have followed the writer's career over many years. --Barry Forshaw
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'This book is written skilfully in short chapters and moves at a fairly rapid pace, to say more aboit it would spoil the story. The author has certainly lived up to her excellent reputation and I have no hesitation recommending this as a delightful summer read' New Books, February Issue