This year is beginning to feel cursed: this is the third obituary I’ve written in 2020 and it’s only the start of February.
Unfortunately, yesterday, 31st January 2020, prolific mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark died at the age of 92.
Whilst that is, undoubtably, a good age, and Higgins Clark clearly lived her life to the fullest, this is still a sad time for mystery lovers, who will miss her exceptional writing, thrilling plots and deeply human characters.
Throughout her long and illustrious career, Higgins Clark wrote an incredible number of books. The majority were standalone mystery novels, but she did create the Alvirah and Willy Meehan series about a husband and wife team who solve fiendish murders.
Her other most revered series was the Laurie Moran books, which focused on the producer of a show about unsolved crimes.
These books, as well as many of her standalone novels, made Higgins Clark such a success that she was branded the “Queen of Suspense” by many readers and critics, who both adored her works and found them thrilling and gripping.
Most of her novels revolved around women overcoming odds, uncovering truths and getting out of hideous situations, and these tales of resilience really resonated with her audience.
She drew a lot on her own life for inspiration for tough women, with the author’s childhood and early career were blighted by money worries, sickness among members of her close-knit family, and rejections of her early works.
In her early years, Higgins Clark was a secretary, and later a flight attendant to make ends meet. She had an exciting early life travelling the world, before she married and settled down to family life and decided to take up writing again.
Although her initial attempts to become a literary success were fruitless, Higgins Clark eventually found success as a mystery and suspense novel writer. Before this she wrote short stories and radio scripts, where she learned to write succinctly and to put an impressive amount of detail into just a few paragraphs.
Many of her books, including The Cradle Will Fall and A Cry in the Night were turned into successful TV shows or films, with some of her works even achieving critical acclaim on the stage, which is a rare success for a writer.
Her works translate so well because they are universally understandable, deeply emotional and completely gripping. Readers are unable to put the books down and audiences are entranced by these phenomenal stories.
As such, whilst the world lost yet another genius in the early months of 2020, Mary Higgins Clark will reman remembered for many decades to come thanks to her vast library of work.