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A Cry In The Night Mass Market Paperback – Unabridged, December 1, 1993


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mary Higgins Clark, #1 international and New York Times bestselling author, has written thirty-four suspense novels; three collections of short stories; a historical novel, Mount Vernon Love Story; two children’s books, including The Magical Christmas Horse; and a memoir, Kitchen Privileges. With her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, she has coauthored five more suspense novels, and also wrote The Cinderella Murder with bestselling author Alafair Burke. Her books have sold more than 100 million copies in the United States alone.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Prologue

Jenny began looking for the cabin at dawn. All night she had lain motionless in the massive four-poster bed, unable to sleep, the stillness of the house oppressive and clutching.

Even after weeks of knowing it would not come, her ears were still tuned for the baby's hungry cry. Her breasts still filled, ready to welcome the tiny, eager lips.

Finally she switched on the lamp at the bedside table. The room brightened and the leaded crystal bowl on the dresser top caught and reflected the light. The small cakes of pine soap that filled the bowl cast an eerie green tint on the antique silver mirror and brushes.

She got out of bed and began to dress, choosing the long underwear and nylon Windbreaker that she wore under her ski suit. She had turned on the radio at four o'clock. The weather report was unchanged for the area of Granite Place, Minnesota; the temperature was twelve degrees Fahrenheit. The winds were blowing at an average of twenty-five miles per hour. The windchill factor was twenty-four below zero.

It didn't matter. Nothing mattered. If she froze to death in the search she would try to find the cabin. Somewhere in that forest of maples and oaks and evergreens and Norwegian pines and overgrown brush it was there. In those sleepless hours she had devised a plan. Erich could walk three paces to her one. His naturally long stride had always made him unconsciously walk too fast for her. They used to joke about it. "Hey, wait up for a city girl," she'd protest.

Once he had forgotten his key when he went to the cabin and immediately returned to the house for it. He'd been gone forty minutes. That meant that for him the cabin was usually about a twenty-minute walk from the edge of the woods.

He had never taken her there. "Please understand, Jenny," he'd begged. "Every artist needs a place to be totally alone."

She had never tried to find it before. The help on the farm was absolutely forbidden to go into the woods. Even Clyde, who'd been the farm manager for 30 years, claimed he didn't know where the cabin was.

The heavy, crusted snow would have erased any path, but the snow also made it possible for her to try the search on cross-country skis. She'd have to be careful not to get lost. With the dense underbrush and her own miserable sense of direction, she could easily go around in circles.

Jenny had thought about that, and decided to take a compass, a hammer, tacks and pieces of cloth. She could nail the cloth to trees to help her find her way back.

Her ski suit was downstairs in the closet off the kitchen. While water boiled for coffee, she zipped it on. The coffee helped to bring her mind into focus. During the night she had considered going to Sheriff Gunderson. But he would surely refuse help and would simply stare at her with that familiar look of speculative disdain.

She would carry a thermos of coffee with her. She didn't have a key to the cabin, but she could break a window with the hammer.

Even though Elsa had not been in for over two weeks, the huge old house still glistened and shone with visible proof of her rigid standards of cleanliness. Her habit as she left was to tear off the current day from the daily calendar over the wall phone. Jenny had joked about that to Erich. "She not only cleans what was never dirty, she eliminates every weekday evening."

Now Jenny tore off Friday, February 14, crumpled the page in her hand and stared at the blank sheet under the bold lettering, Saturday, February 15. She shivered. It was nearly 14 months since that day in the gallery when she'd met Erich. No that couldn't be. It was a lifetime ago. She rubbed her hand across her forehead.

Her chestnut-brown hair had darkened to near-black during the pregnancy. It felt drab and lifeless as she stuffed it under the woolen ski cap. The shell-edged mirror to the left of the kitchen door was an incongruous touch in the massive, oak-beamed kitchen. She stared into it now. Her eyes were heavily shadowed. Normally a shade somewhere between aqua and blue, they reflected back at her wide-pupiled and expressionless. Her cheeks were drawn. The weight loss since the birth had left her too thin. The pulse in her neck throbbed as she zipped the ski suit to the top. Twenty-seven years old. It seemed to her that she looked at least ten years older, and felt a century older. If only the numbness would go away. If only the house weren't so quiet, so fearfully, frighteningly quiet.

She looked at the cast-iron stove at the east wall of the kitchen. The cradle, filled with wood, was beside it again, its usefulness restored.

Deliberately she studied the cradle, made herself absorb the constant shock of its presence in the kitchen, then turned her back on it and reached for the thermos bottle. She poured coffee into it, then collected the compass, hammer and tacks and strips of cloth. Thrusting them into a canvas knapsack she pulled a scarf over her face, put on her cross-country ski shoes, yanked thick, fur-lined mittens on her hands and opened the door.

The sharp, biting wind made a mockery of the face scarf. The muffled lowing of the cows in the dairy barn reminded her of the exhausted sobs of deep mourning. The sun was coming up, dazzling against the snow, harsh in its golden-red beauty, a far-off god that could not affect the bitter cold.

By now Clyde would be inspecting the dairy barn. Other hands would be pitching hay in the polebarns to feed the scores of black Angus cattle, which were unable to graze beneath the hard-packed snow and would habitually head there for food and shelter. A half-dozen men working on this enormous farm, yet there was no one near the house -- all of them were small figures, seen like silhouettes, against the horizon....

Her cross-country skis were outside the kitchen door. Jenny carried them down the six steps from the porch, tossed them on the ground, stepped into them and snapped them on. Thank God she'd learned to ski well last year.

It was a little after seven o'clock when she began looking for the cabin. She limited herself to skiing no more than thirty minutes in any direction. She started at the point where Erich always disappeared into the woods. The overhead branches were so entangled that the sun barely penetrated through them. After she'd skied in as straight a line as possible, she turned right, covered about one hundred feet more, turned right again and started back to the edge of the forest. The wind covered her tracks almost as soon as she passed any spot but at every turning point she hammered a piece of cloth into the tree.

At eleven o'clock she returned to the house, heated soup, changed into dry socks, forced herself to ignore the tingling pain in her forehead and hands, and set out again.

At five o'clock, half frozen, the slanting rays of the sun almost vanishing, she was about to give up for the day when she decided to go over one more hilly mound. It was then she came upon it, the small, bark-roofed log cabin that had been built by Erich's great-grandfather in 1869. She stared at it, biting her lips as savage disappointment sliced her with the physical impact of a stiletto.

The shades were drawn; the house had a shuttered look as though it had not been open for a time. The chimney was snow-covered; no lights shone from within.

Had she really dared to hope that when she came upon it, that chimney would be smoking, lamps would glow through the curtains, that she'd be able to go up to the door and open it?

There was a metal shingle nailed to the door. The letters were faded but still readable: ABSOLUTELY NO ADMITTANCE. VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED. It was signed Erich Fritz Krueger and dated 1903.

There was a pump house to the left of the cabin, an outhouse discreetly half-hidden by full-branched pines. She tried to picture the young Erich coming here with his mother. "Caroline loved the cabin just as it was," Erich had told her. "My father wanted to modernize the old place but she wouldn't hear of it."

No longer aware of the cold, Jenny skied over to the nearest window. Reaching into the knapsack, she pulled out the hammer, raised it and smashed the pane. Flying glass grazed her cheek She was unaware of the trickle of blood that froze as it ran down her face. Careful to avoid the jagged peaks, she reached in, unfastened the latch and shoved the window up.

Kicking offher skis, she climbed over the low sill, pushed aside the shade and stepped into the cabin. The cabin consisted of a single room about twenty feet square. A Franklin stove on the north wall had wood piled neatly next to it. A faded Oriental rug covered most of the white pine flooring. A wide-armed, high-backed velour couch and matching chairs were clustered around the stove. A long oak table and benches were near the front windows. A spinning wheel looked as though it might still be functional. A massive oak sideboard held willowware china and oil lamps. A steep stairway led to the left. Next to it, rows of file baskets held stacks of unframed canvases. The walls were white pine, unknotted, silk-smooth and covered with paintings. Numbly Jenny walked from one to the other of them. The cabin was a museum. Even the dim light could not hide the exquisite beauty of the oils and watercolors, the charcoals and pen-and-ink drawings. Erich had not even begun to show his best work yet. How would the critics react when they saw these masterpieces? she wondered.

Some of the paintings on the walls were already framed. These must be the next ones he planned to exhibit. The pole-barn in a winter storm. What was so different about it? The doe, head poised, listening, about to flee into the woods. The calf reaching up to its mother. The fields of alfalfa, blue-flowered, ready for harvest. The Congregational Church with worshipers hurrying toward it. The main street of Granite Place suggesting timeless serenity.

Even in her desolation, the sensitive beauty of the collection gave Jenny a momentary sense of quietude and peace.

Finally she bent over the unframed canvases in the nearest rack. Again admiration suffused her being. The incredible... --This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Reprint edition (December 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671886665
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671886660
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (491 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

If I were to define myself in one sentence, I would say, "I'm a nice Irish Catholic girl from the Bronx."

I was a Christmas Eve baby all those years ago, the second of the three children of Nora and Luke Higgins. Mother was pushing forty when they married and my father was forty-two. My older brother was named Joseph. Nineteen months later I, Mary, was born. Three and a half years later, my little brother, John, came along.

We lived in a very nice section of the Bronx on a street off Pelham Parkway. I loved our house. I still love it. After my father died, when I was eleven, my mother had to sell it.

I went to Saint Francis Xavier Grammar School. Two years ago I went back and was Principal for a Day. Escorted by two of the tiniest children, I was led into the auditorium while the whole student body sang "Hello Mary. You're back where you belong." I still tear up thinking about it.

I was awarded a scholarship to Villa Maria Academy which is in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx, otherwise I couldn't have afforded to set foot in it.

I went to Woods Secretarial School and at eighteen had my first full-time job as Secretary to the creative director of Remington Rand's in-house advertising agency. If I were making that choice now I would have gone to college even though God knows we needed the income. On the other hand the three years I spent in Remington Rand was a tutorial in advertising which served me well when I was widowed with five small children. Another plus was that I left Remington to be a flight stewardess with Pan American Airways and when my contemporaries were seniors in college, I was flying to Europe, Africa and Asia.

Warren Clark and I were married on December 26, 1949 and had five children in the next eight years; Marilyn, Warren, David, Carol and Patricia. Warren died of a heart attack in 1964. The highest compliment I can pay my kids are that they are like him.

I sold my first short story when I was twenty-eight. It was alled 'Stowaway'. It had been rejected forty times before a magazine in Chicago bought it for one hundred dollars.

My first book was about George Washington. It was published in 1969 and disappeared without a trace. Three years ago Simon and Schuster co-published it with the Mount Vernon Historical Society and retitled 'Mount Vernon Love Story', it became a bestseller.

My first suspense novel 'Where Are the Children' was bought in 1974 for three thousand dollars by Simon and Schuster. Thirty-three books later, I'm still with S&S.

Time to wind up - at least for the present. As soon as I sold 'Children' I enrolled in Fordham College. Went there for five years at night and earned a B.A. in Philosophy. Summa cum laude, if you please.

I never thought I'd marry again but ten years ago I threw a cocktail party on St. Patrick's day. My daughter, Pat, urged me to invite John Conheeney. Her opening words about him were, "Have I got a hunk for you!" He came to the party and we were married eight months later.

I'm Honorary Chairman of FraXa Research. My grandson, David, has the Fragile X syndrome, which is the second leading cause of retardation after Downs Syndrome. Basically the brain of the people who have it can't send out the proper signals because there's a kind of short circuit in the synapses that carry the signals. We raise money for research with the goal of finding a medication that will work around that short circuit. I go all over the country to the fund-raisers as new chapters of FraXa are opened.

I'm always asked to name my favorite book. They're ALL my favorites. If there is one book that is very special to me, it is my memoir 'Kitchen Privileges' because writing it made me relive my early life including those first struggles to become a writer. I think 'Kitchen Privileges' is both tender and funny and it's me.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 18, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After finishing the incredibly stale LET ME CALL YOU SWEETHEART, I was about ready to give up on Mary Higgins Clark. If you're someone who, like me, was beginning to wonder what all the Clark hoopla was about, run out quick and get a copy of A CRY IN THE NIGHT, which can be described as a sort of modern cross between PSYCHO and REBECCA. This is a very well-done book, and it succeeds on many levels.
Jenny MacPartland is a divorced mother of two who is swept off her feet by Erich Krueger, a kind, handsome artist who marries her and takes her back to his sprawling farm in Minnesota. Not long after she arrives, she begins to sense tension in the air. Erich begins to behave strangely. Her ex-husband, Kevin, comes down to visit her, stirring up trouble. The whole place is overshadowed by the strange presence of Caroline, Erich's long-dead mother, to whom Jenny bears a striking resemblance. Soon Jenny begins to have dizzy spells and wonders if she is sleepwalking during the night. What began as a dream for both the protagonist and the reader has transformed into a horrific nightmare.
Clark handles this transformation with considerable deftness, demonstrating her masterful control of pace and characterization. The plot is especially convoluted and intricate; in fact, there are as many surprising twists as there are pages. Unlike LET ME CALL YOU SWEETHEART and WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN?, in which the terror kicks in only in the last few chapters or so, A CRY IN THE NIGHT turns on the suspense less than halfway through the novel and never lets up the pressure. This is an unusually chilling book, but aside from all the suspenseful pleasures of the story, it is also a very sad and emotionally involving drama. There is no pat resolution or happy ending here, but the denouement, if bittersweet, is wholly satisfying. This reader is, I'm happy to report, an officially converted Clark fan.
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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I absolutely love Mary Higgins Clark and I believe that I have read all of her books, but A Cry in the Night really is the shining star of her collection. She takes a very naive woman who is trying hard, as a single mother and working full-time to support her family, and puts her in this very convienent position that she can't say no to. I was amazed that after the first and second times I read it that I wanted to reread it over so many times. Clark is interesting and beautifully creates suspense and a very real apathy toward the character. Just writing this review makes me want to pick up my very worn copy and start this book all over again. I am impressed by all of her books, but the only problem I have is the lack of originality when it comes to the character's plots. They all seem the same to me. You have this attractive, successful woman who has a great job, is single predominately, and comes across a mystery that she somehow has managed to get herself involved in. Every one of her books, with the exception of this one and maybe one or two others, is like this. Nevertheless, I am still a huge fan of her books and would recommend anyone who loves a great mystery to definitely try this book. It is well worth your time.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Coppertop on February 16, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
MHC writes mostly suspense that really only get seriously frightening at the end. Not this one - its terrifying. This woman marries a man who turns out to be a maniac. The story of her and her two children is very scary. While not a book I would reread (too scary), it is definitely one to remember.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Aimee Coleman on December 20, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the first book of Mary higgins Clark's that I read and it was so good that I've kept reading her books. I'm a picky person when it comes to what I read, but after I finished this book I wanted more of them to read. It's about a divorced woman (Jenny) struggiling to survive with two smal children and a job at an art galary. She meets a new and very talented artist (Erich) and falls in love. It only toke a month for them to get married and setteled on his family's estate. After a while things start to get strange. Erich is always gone and is oddly attached to his long dead mother. Jenny is suspected in the murder of her ex-husband, and her new born child dies suddenely. She decides she wants to get away. Away from Erich who by now is scaring her with his overpossesiveness and lack of ability to forget his mother's death. This decission leads her into a terrifing and thriling journey that may cost her and her children their lives.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Kirkman on January 15, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this book to the fullest, and found it hard to put down at all.

Jenny MacPartland, a single mother of 2 little girls, meets Erich Krueger, the man of her dreams. Or so it appears. The two hit it off, and they marry quickly in spite of Jenny's friends warnings and first impressions of Eric. So suddenly, Jenny and the girls, along with Erich, move to Minnesota to live in Eric's beautiful mansion. But once there, Jenny discovers what a REAL eye-opener marriage can be. Erich begins acting strangely, and speaks of his late mother Caroline whom he is unaturally obsessed with it seems. Jenny holds an uncanny resemblance to Caroline, and Erich grows more and more possessive of her. He never wants her out of sight, yet, he refuses to sleep in the same bed most of the time. He's busy. In the cabin. What lies behind the walls of the cabin are deadly, horrible secrets. And when Jenny uncovers what Erich is really like after he takes the girls from her, she may need to run for her life.
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