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Saturday 14 May 2016

‘Death Wears a Beauty Mask and Other Stories’ by Mary Higgins Clark

Published by Simon & Schuster,
14 January 2016.
ISBN: 978-1-4711-4322-9

This book of short stories actually begins with a novella with the same title as the book itself. Janice Broad's sister Alexandra seems to have disappeared. She even neglected to collect her luggage on arrival at the airport after travelling from a modelling assignment.

The agency she works for is very anxious to find her as the commercial she is appearing in for a new beauty mask is nearing the deadline for its completion, can she be found before they lose the contract?
The next story is Stowaway which tells of a young lad escapee from the regime in Danubia hiding on a plane and how he makes a bid for freedom to Frankfurt.

This is followed by When the Bough Breaks, in which we meet Marion who is haunted by guilt of the death of her son three months before.

Voices in the Coalbin is a creepy of Laurie who was brought up by a grandmother who used to terrify her with stories of people who lived in the coalbin and the effect it has on her later on in life.

The Cape Cod Masquerade tells of a couple Alvira and Willy who have recently won forty million dollars on the lottery. She becomes an amateur sleuth and has helped to solve past crimes. When they rent a cottage on Cape Cod she thinks she recognises the neighbour next door as a woman wrongly accused of murdering her stepfather. She sets about helping her to find an elusive witness who never came forward and can prove her innocence.

Definitely a Crime of Passion tells of ex-president Henry Britland and how he tries to prove that Tommy, his former secretary of state is innocent of the murder of his lover Arabella.

The Man Next Door is a chilling story of a serial killer and how he sets about trapping his next victim who happens to live next door to him.

Haven’t We Met Before relates how an inhabitant of a hospital for the criminally insane, William Koenig believes he has been reincarnated several times and how it affects his life leading to at least ten murders. Jack Carroll a District Attorney believes he is not criminally insane and sets about to prove it.

The Funniest Thing Has Been Happening Lately tells of Fred Rand setting out to murder four people he considers responsible for the death of his eighteen year old daughter fifteen years ago.

The final and shortest story is The Tell Tale Purr, a black comedy about a grandson plotting to kill his grandmother for her money.
I'm not usually too keen on short stories but I thoroughly enjoyed these. A real mixture of themes ending on an amusing one to lighten the mood. I must thank Lizzie for introducing me to Mary Higgins Clark, she's brilliant.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell
Mary Higgins Clark is the author of twenty-two worldwide bestselling works of fiction and a memoir. She lives in Saddle River, New Jersey, with her husband.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf  (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

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