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The Lost Years Hardcover – April 3, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Mary Higgins Clark's The Lost Years:

“Once again Mary Higgins Clark affirms why she is the ‘Queen of Suspense’… Ms. Clark has another winner for her readers to enjoy getting us there with this entertaining taut tale in which the suspense spins from family violence to biblical archeological violence.” --Mystery Gazette

“At once a breathless murder mystery and a hunt for what may be the most precious religious and archeological treasure of all time.”

"Clark, known rightly as the queen of suspense, performs her usual magic…An intriguing blend of religious history and contemporary mystery, “The Lost Years” confirms Clark’s status as a writer who is willing and able to bend her formula – and to do so successfully—to address topics not often found in the genre.” --Richmond Times Dispatch

“If you’re someone who enjoys sharing novels with others, though, beware: lend this book and you may never get it back. That’s because, for mystery fans, ‘The Lost Years’ is truly a keeper.” --Pittsburgh Tribune

About the Author

Mary Higgins Clark is the author of thirty suspense novels; three collections of short stories; a historical novel, Mount Vernon Love Story; and a memoir, Kitchen Privileges; she is the coauthor with Carol Higgins Clark of five suspense novels: Dashing through the Snow, Deck the Halls, He Sees You When You’re Sleeping, The Christmas Thief, and Santa Cruise. More than 100 million copies are in print in the United States alone, and her books are worldwide bestsellers.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451668864
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451668865
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (638 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,905 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

123 of 137 people found the following review helpful By hm on April 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan of Mary Higgins Clark's earlier work. I can vividly remember staying up until dawn to finish "A Cry in the Night" and "Where are the Children?". I think the last book of hers I really loved was "Remember Me". They are the kind that you don't really want to read if you're alone in the house, and they guaranteed chills.

Sadly, I think that the either the time has come that she should consider retiring (she is in her eighties, after all) or possibly her daughter is writing these books (and she does NOT have her mother's talent). This story is readable but I really didn't care who did it. I read it because I read all her books, but her last several have been just meh.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jane Doe on April 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have been a fan of Mary Higgins Clark since I read her first book many years ago. I have enjoyed them all. But her latest book was a huge disappointment. To me, the writing simply felt tired. The characters were flat, the plot was thin, the dialog was dull and the suspense that I have come to expect in the Higgins books was non-existent.

I'm usually empathetic with the heroine but this time I found her to be somewhat annoying and childish. The supporting cast was poorly developed and, frankly, I wasn't all that interested in them. I agree with another reviewer that the addition of Alvirah and Willy was a surprise. They have never been favorite characters of mine and their presence in this book seemed out of place, almost to the point of being unnecessary.

I haven't given up on Mary Higgins Clark. I'm hopeful her next book will be back to her usual high standards, with interesting characters and a suspenseful and well-thought out plot.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful By D. Bell on April 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As I was reading this book, I felt a strong sense of sympathy for the heroine, Mariah. Her mother had been suffering from Alzheimer's for several years; my late mother had it as well, so I understood how hard it is to be a son, daughter, or spouse of someone with the disease. Although I understood why Mariah resented the fact that her father was in love with another, younger woman, I could also sympathize with him because he could never have the woman he loved back the way she had been. That facet of the book alone made it fascinating to me.

It was good to see Alvirah & Willy again, especially now that I see Kathy Najimy's face on Alvirah. I also enjoyed reading about Wally and his unique scheme for (almost) foolproof burglaries.

On the negative side, I did not really feel I knew her father's four male friends that well. Although they were the main suspects, they weren't well drawn.

However, it's a fast read and a pleasant one (except for thinking about the Alzheimer's). I'm glad I bought it.
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59 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on April 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In 1474 A.D. Pope Sixtus IV ordered the destruction of the Joseph of Arimathea Parchment; the only known letter written by Jesus, because he believes the document was a fake. Instead it was snuck out of the Vatican and disappeared for over five centuries.

In the current day, Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons believes he has found the original Arimathea Parchment. He obtains affirmation from peers and shows it proudly to close friends. Jonathan's twenty something daughter Mariah comes home to find her father dead from a bullet in the head and her mom Kathleen, suffering from Alzheimer's, inside a closet holding the murder weapon and blood splattered all over her. The police believe Kathleen murdered her husband because in her lucid moments she knew Jonathan was having an affair and there are times when she is violent. While her mom is locked away in a psych ward, initially a depressed Mariah accepts the horrid conclusion that her mom killed her dad, but once the fog lifts from her mind, she logically begins to wonder whether the motive was the Joseph of Arimathea Parchment.

Once again Mary Higgins Clark affirms why she is the "Queen of Suspense" with this exciting biblical archeological thriller. The evidence points increasingly towards her mom as the murderer, but with help from friends Wiley and Alvirah, the dispirited heroine starts to find other viable suspects as she seeks someone filled with pride and avarice; but even then Mariah still lacks proof. Ms. Clark has another winner for her readers to enjoy getting us there with this entertaining taut tale in which the suspense spins from family violence to biblical archeological violence.

Harriet Klausner
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By reviewer1129 on April 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I always look forward to a new Mary Higgins Clark novel and I have never been disappointed.........before this book. It lacks the character development that is usually a trademark of hers. Alvirah and Willy are in this novel and add nothing to it - just copies of their involvement in earlier novels. Definitely not a page turner and definitely not a book that I would ever recommend. Hard to believe this was truly written by Mary Higgins Clark.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Smokey VINE VOICE on April 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mary Higgins Clark's latest suspense novel, "The Lost Years", plays on the popular fictional theme of significant religious documents. In Clark's book, historic document expert Professor Jonathan Lyons is found murdered in his study after authenticating what he believes is a letter written by Jesus Christ to Joseph of Arimathea. The letter has been rumored to exist, but has been lost, for centuries. If real, the letter is invaluable. Lyons' may -- or may not -- have told a small group of friends, all with an interest or an expertise in such documents, about his precious find. But the detectives investigating Lyons' death almost immediately arrest his wife, Kathleen, who is rapidly losing a battle against Alzheimer's disease. Although she is all too aware it is possible her mother killed her father, Mariah, the Lyons' 28-year-old daughter, sets out to prove Kathleen's innocence. The Lyons' friends, Alvirah and Willie Meehan, recurring characters in a number of Clark's books help her.

One of the book's strengths is the number of suspects, including Lyons' mistress Lillian and Kathleen's caretaker, that Clark presents. Clark uses the technique of including several chapters written from the villain's perspective to provide hints and keep readers guessing. Mariah's guilt over the distance that existed between her and her father is realistic and handled well. Clark's presentation of Kathleen's mental deterioration and how the police view her, is written sympathetically and with insight, if not a great deal of depth.

Romance is not quite as prominent as in some of Clark's other books and, although there are some exciting sections, the novel does not develop the imminent sense of danger to the heroine that Clark is so good at creating and which makes the best of her novels such great reads.

Still, while this is not Clark's best book, it is worth reading for those who enjoy romantic thrillers and like Clark.

Three and a half stars.
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