Mary Higgins Clark

Mary Higgins Clark was born on 24th December 1927 and passed away on January 31st, 2020.

She is the only daughter in a family of three children. Mary Higgins Clark is one and half years younger than her elder brother Joseph and three years older than her younger brother John. Mary Higgins Clark’s father Luke Higgins and mother Nora are of Irish descent though Nora was born in the United States of America. At her childhood age, Mary had an interest in writing. At the age of seven, Mary Higgins Clark shockingly composed her first poem and frequently crafted some short plays that her friends enacted.

Mary Higgins Clark was still a baby during the time of Great Depression in the world. Initially her family never felt the effect of the Depression. This is because her family was able to sustain itself and also assist some of the jobless Americans who knocked at their door. Mary Higgins Clark’s family began to experience some financial constraints when she turned ten. This was as a result of the accumulated debts by customers who failed to be prompt in paying the bar tabs they owed her father. Her father had no option other than retrenching some of his employees and spending more hours at work. Events took a painful turn in 1939, when Mary went home early from Mass to learn that her father had died while asleep.

Her mother Nora struggled as a widow to raise them, and Mary was forced to get out of her bedroom which her mother rented out to boarders. His elder brother posed risk of contracting osteomyelitis after cutting his foot by a piece of metal six months after the death of their father. However, he recovered through prayers by Mary Higgins and her mother.

Mary Higgins Clark graduated from Saint Francis Xavier Grammar School and managed to secure a scholarship at Villa Maria Academy. The principal together with other teachers encouraged her to develop her writing career. Here, Mary made the first attempt publishing her work but unfortunately her work got rejected.

Mary Higgins Clark worked at Shelton Hotel as a switchboard operator in order to help her mother pay their bills. Her brother Joseph graduated in 1944 from high school and immediately joined Navy to help his mother to pay bills and serve his country during war times. Six months later, Joseph contracted spinal meningitis and passed on.

After Joseph’s death, Mary Higgins Clark completed high school and attended Wood Secretarial School on a partial scholarship. One year after completing her course, she secured a secretarial job at the creative department of an advertising division at Remington-Rand. In 1949, Mary worked with the Pan Am international flights that saw her travel across the globe. On the 26th day of December 1949, Mary Higgins Clark gave up her flying career and married Warren Clark. She then started taking writing courses at NYU, to keep herself busy.

In 1956, after forty rejections and six years without professional milestones, the Extension Magazine came to terms with Mary to purchase her story for $100. At personal level, Mary Higgins Clark and her husband were moving on well with their children Marilyn, Warren Junior, David, Carol and last born Patty. Warren used to work while Mary spent her time writing and encouraging her children to find ways to earn money. Mary Higgins Clark filmed a television commercial herself for the Fab laundry detergent which was aired during times of the ‘I Love Lucy show’. Together with her husband they made a trip to Hawaii using the cash she earned from this commercial.

In 1959 Mary’s husband Warren was diagnosed with severe angina complications. This rendered him to several heart attacks that finally saw him die in 1964. His mother collapsed at his bedside on that particular night on discovering her son’s death. Mary Higgins Clark lost her husband and mother-in-law at the same time.

The initial contract of Mary Higgins Clark as a radio scriptwriter gave her duty to write sixty five scripts, each script running on a four-minute program that dealt with the portrait patriot series. With her impressive work, she was further requested to write two extra radio series. In the late 1960s, the market for short stories collapsed and that meant that Mary’s short stories could not find a publisher. Mary spent the next six years writing on the relationship between Martha and George Washington’s fictionalized account by name,’Aspire to the Heavens’. This book did sell well and encouraged Mary to complete it to full-length and look for a publisher. Four months after the publication of this novel, Marry Higgins Clark got another blow by losing her mother Nora.

Mary Higgins Clark knew clearly that education for her children was essential, and therefore was determined to provide them with the best education so that they could not struggle financially in future. To be a role model, she joined Fordham University in 1971 at Lincoln Centre and graduated in 1979 with a BA in philosophy. Her children enumerated her example since they too graduated and are currently working. When her children were in college, Mary Higgins Clark got more frustrations from her employer; she decided to quit her job and team up with her former colleagues to form their own company that was concerned with writing and marketing the radio scripts. Mary Higgins Clark did not receive her salary for eight months as it was a year of building the company. This circumstance strained the family finances.

Mary Higgins Clark never gave up writing. She reverted to writing suspense stories, which she loved while she was a child. Fortunately, these suspense stories gave her first success as a writer of short stories. After a short duration of time, her younger brother; Johnny died and Mary was left to be a sole bread winner to her family.

Throughout her widowhood, Mary Higgins Clark dated and was later married to Raymond Ploetz as from 1978 to 1986, what she tells to be a ‘disastrous marriage experience’. However, she later divorced him. She remarried again in 1996 to Conheeney John; a retired CEO to Merrill Lynch Futures Company. Currently the couple lives in Saddle River in New Jersey.

Mary Higgins Clark wrote many fictionally books ranging from; ‘Aspire to the Heavens’ which was reissued in 2000 as ‘Mount Vernon Love Story’ to 2014’s edition, ‘I’ve Got You under My Skin’. She has also written two factual books; the 1993’s ‘Mother Salut’ and 2001’s ‘Kitchen Privileges, A Memoir’. She adapted five movies from the 1982’s ‘A Stranger Is Watching’ to 2002’s movie ‘All Round the Town’. Her television adaptations range from 1983’s ‘The Cradle Will Fall’ to 2004’s ‘Try to Remember’ series. She truly did exclusive writing works despite the many persisting set backs in her life.

Books in order of publication by series:

Alvirah and Willy Books

Weep No More, My Lady(1987) 
The Lottery Winner(1994) 
All Through the Night(1998) 
Deck the Halls(2000) 
The Christmas Thief(2004) 
Santa Cruise(2006) 
Dashing Through the Snow(2008) 
I’ll Walk Alone(2011) 
The Lost Years(2012) 
As Time Goes By(2016) 
All By Myself Alone(2017) 

Under Suspicion Books

I’ve Got You Under My Skin(2014) 
The Cinderella Murder(2014) 
All Dressed in White(2015) 
The Sleeping Beauty Killer(2016) 
Every Breath You Take(2017) 
You Don’t Own Me(2018) 

Standalone Novels

Aspire To The Heavens(1968) 
Where Are The Children?(1975) 
A Stranger is Watching(1977) 
The Cradle Will Fall(1980) 
A Cry in the Night(1982) 
Weep No More, My Lady(1987) 
While My Pretty One Sleeps(1989) 
The Anastasia Syndrome and Other Stories(1989) 
Loves Music, Loves to Dance(1991) 
All Around the Town(1992) 
I’ll Be Seeing You(1993) 
Death on the Cape and Other Stories(1993) 
Remember Me(1994) 
The Lottery Winner(1994) 
Let Me Call You Sweetheart(1995) 
Silent Night(1995) 
Moonlight Becomes You(1996) 
My Gal Sunday: Henry and Sunday Stories(1996) 
Pretend You Don’t See Her(1997) 
You Belong to Me(1998) 
All Through the Night(1998) 
We’ll Meet Again(1999) 
Before I Say Good-Bye(2000) 
Deck the Halls(2000) 
He Sees You When You’re Sleeping(2001) 
On the Street Where You Live(2001) 
Daddy’s Little Girl(2002) 
The Second Time Around(2003) 
Nighttime Is My Time(2004) 
The Christmas Thief(2004) 
No Place Like Home(2005) 
Two Little Girls in Blue(2006) 
Santa Cruise(2006) 
Ghost Ship: A Cape Cod Story(2007) 
I Heard That Song Before(2007) 
Where Are You Now?(2008) 
Dashing Through the Snow(2008) 
Just Take My Heart(2009) 
The Shadow of Your Smile(2010) 
I’ll Walk Alone(2011) 
The Magical Christmas Horse(2011) 
The Lost Years(2012) 
Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting(2013) 
Inherit the Dead(2013) 
Melody Lingers On(2015) 
I’ve Got My Eyes on You(2018) 
Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry(2019) 

Short Story Collections

Death Wears a Beauty Mask and Other Stories(2015)


Murder on the Aisle: The 1987 Mystery Writers of America Anthology(1987) 
Caribbean Blues(1988) 
Malice Domestic 2(1993) 
Bad Behavior(1995) 
The Plot Thickens(1997) 
The Night Awakens(1998) 
Manhattan Mayhem(2015) 

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Kitchen Privileges: A Memoir(2002)
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