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Where Are the Children? by Mary Higgins…

Where Are the Children? (original 1975; edition 1992)

by Mary Higgins Clark

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1,565204,676 (3.54)26
Title:Where Are the Children?
Authors:Mary Higgins Clark
Info:Pocket (2005), Edition: 30 Anv, Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:mystery, read it

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Where Are the Children? by Mary Higgins Clark (1975)

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Mary Higgins Clark based her first suspense novel on the real life case of Alice Crimmins. Alice was a beautiful young mother who dominated the news in 1965 when she was accused of murdering her two young children. Mary Higgins Clark read about the case and as she explained in the forward of the book she based Where are the Children? on her suppositions of Alice's life after she was finally paroled.

In this story Alice is reimagined as Nancy Elderage a young woman who was tried for the murder of her own two children, Peter and Lisa. After her husband commits suicide and she is released from prison she starts life over in Cape Cod. She remarries and has two more children Michael and Missy with her new husband Ray Eldridge. One day the children disappear while playing outside and when her past is conveniently revealed in the town's newspaper on the day of the disappearance suspicion naturally falls on her.

I picked this book up because I saw a piece on Many Higgins Clark on CBS Sunday morning. I was so impressed with her life story and the book's connection to a real crime that I wanted to read it. The book is so specific to the 1970's. It's a real time trip. As for the mystery itself it was quite well thought out if somewhat predictable. The topic of pedophilia was not discussed much in the 70's so I can imagine the topic of this book was quite shocking when it came out. Overall it was a quick and enjoyable read. I also enjoyed learning more about Mary Higgins Clark. When her children were quite young her husband died leaving her the sole breadwinner of her family. She decided to become an author to support her family and despite many rejections and the failure of her first book she preserved to eventually become the Queen of the suspense thriller. If you would like to lean more about Mary Higgins Clark, her interview with CBS can be found here: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mary-higgins-clark-the-queen-of-suspense/ ( )
1 vote arielfl | Apr 20, 2017 |
[Where Are the Children?] was the first "suspense" novel written by Mary Higgins Clark, who is, I gather, at the age of 88 the Queen of Suspense Novelists. (It's the first of her books I've read.) ...Children? was three years in the writing, earned Clark a $3,000 advance, and surged to the top of best seller lists when it was published in 1975. Her bibliography comprises more than 50 titles.

I was challenged to read this novel by a syllabus for a lit course, English 102--Literary Analysis I: Prose Fiction, taught by David Foster Wallace. The required reading included books by Thomas Harris, Larry McMurtry, James Ellroy, and Stephen King along with this Clark book.

The story: Nancy Eldredge is an attractive wife and mother (two young children, Michael, 5, and Missy, 3) living in Adams Port on Cape Cod. It is her birthday, and her husband Ray, a realtor, insists that the family celebrate it for the first time ever. Ray heads off to work, and Nancy bundles their kids in warm coats and mittens and sends them out to play in the back yard. Making coffee, she peruses the local newspaper. An article about a California murder case, in which a young mother was tried and convicted of murdering her two small children. Freed on appeal, the mother escaped retrial because the star witness vanished. The article speculates this woman is now living on the Cape. Photos show a woman with a striking resemblance to Mrs. Eldredge. Panic-stricken, Nancy races into the yard and finds only Missy's red mitten caught in the swing. Her children are…GONE!

Clark scatters a fair number of red herrings; suspension of disbelief is occasionally required. But the story keeps pouring out. Twists and turns and surprises, some of which are too pat As in all good suspensers, you know it's going to end well, but the edge-teetering drives you onward until the final...uh...fall.

Overall, I liked the book; I read it in a day. Kept my interest. But I do have major quibbles about some of the characters and their motivations. Can't say more without blowing up the plot, of course.
  weird_O | Aug 13, 2016 |
This is the first book I read by Mary Higgins Clark, and it still resonates with me today! It kept me intrigued from the beginning. A young woman's children disappear, everyone believes she has killed them, but there are no bodies so she flees her marriage and California and crosses the continent and begins a new life. She eventually remarries, has children and is beginning to heal until the morning she looks out the back door and finds her children again missing. The nightmare is beginning again.
1 vote Gmomaj | May 27, 2016 |
My Rating: Three & 1/2 Stars

This was actually really, really good for a debut novel. Considering the subject matter, it clearly demonstrates that Mary Higgins Clark was ahead of her time when she wrote the book in 1975. I can see why it was a real standout; the shocking, suspense-filled thriller must've had everyone talking. Compared to present-day novels, Where Are The Children? is still a very good mystery. It aged well, but I did have a few problems that kept it from being a standout experience.

First, I had a difficult time connecting to the characters. It wasn't really until the very end that I even remotely liked Nancy. It helped once I understood what had happened to her, but then I struggled with her sudden turn around from the meek reclusive woman, to the She-Cat of Cap Cod. Anyway, I still enjoyed watching the transition and was able to suspend belief just because Nancy deserved something positive. I'm mean...c'mon...she'd been through enough. Who am I to rain on her "I am woman, hear me roar!" parade? Mom's do get a little crazy when it comes to protecting their babies. I would know.

Also, I had to struggle to make myself keep reading during the first half of the book. There was too much predictability and the dialogue was just boring. Granted, it's Clark's first novel and my first time to read her work...take it with a grain of salt. Maybe I was just sleepy or something.

I did like the overall plot of the story and the way multiple sub-plots all came together in the end. It's not a terribly long novel, either, so pick it up and give it a try! I'll be picking up one of her recent books soon as I'm super eager to see how the Queen of Suspense has grown in her writing over the years!
( )
1 vote Becky_McKenna | Mar 10, 2016 |
This book started off so well. And then, predictable and stupid towards the end. Why did it start off so well? The villan came across as a true villan should. Cold, manipulative, strategic and he was executing his plan to the letter. Then about midway through the book, the stupidity started to set in. All of a sudden he could no longer predict the future. He could not stay one step ahead of the good guys. He started making mistakes. This, all for a crime he was duplicating, repeating.

This is the story of Nancy Harmon (aka Nancy Eldridge)who is running from her past. Apparently she was caught up in a legal mess after being prosecuted for the death of her first two children under her first marriage to Carl Harmon. She simply lost her childeren to have them wash up in San Francisco Bay. So she decides to move east to escape the pressure and the publicity as her trial was labeled a Mis-Trial because of a lack of a witness that ran away. So she moves to Cape Cod and 7 years later she is re-married to Ray Eldridge and has two additional children.

It all started on her birthday where she read the front page news about her trial 7 years ago, and the article having detailed pictures that identified her to have her relive the nightmare of 7 years past. Did she kill her children? Did someone else do it?

As I said in my opening, this book turned out totally stupid. Suspensful? To some degree but then you reflect and you wonder how Mary Higgins Clark got away with writing this stuff. ( )
  DVerdecia | Jan 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Nancy Harmon, joven casada y madre de dos hijos, es acusada injustamente del asesinato de los pequeños, pero el fiscal debe retirar los cargos tras la desaparición del único testigo. La pesadilla se vuelve más aterradora cuando el marido de Nancy se suicida y ella, destrozada, se traslada a Cape Cod. En su nueva residencia, Nancy conoce a Ray Eldredge, con quien se casa. Nancy da a luz nuevamente a dos hijos, a quienes cuida con exagerada precaución. Cierto día los niños desaparecen, y la culpabilidad recae,una vez más, en Nancy. Además alguien envía al periódico local información sobre los terribles sucesos de su pasado, así como fotografías recientes de Nancy...
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To the memory of my mother, Nora C. Higgins, with love, admiration, and gratitude.
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He could feel the chill coming in through the cracks around the windowpanes.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671741187, Mass Market Paperback)

Nancy Harmon had fled the heartbreak of her first marriage, the macabre deaths of her two little children, the hostile front-page newspaper stories and the shocking charges against her. She changed her name, dyed her red hair sable brown, and left California for the wind-swept peace of Cape Cod. Now she was married again, had two more beautiful children, and the terrible pain had begun to heal...until the morning when she looked in the back yard for her little boy and girl, found only one red mitten, and knew that the nightmare was beginning again...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:22 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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....… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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