The Anastasia Syndrome and Other Stories

The Anastasia Syndrome and Other Stories

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by Mary Higgins Clark
     
 

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In the short novel The Anastasia Syndrome, prominent historical writer Judith Chase is living in London and preparing for her marriage to Sir Stephen Hallett, expected to become England's next Prime Minister. Orphaned during World War II, Judith wants to trace her origins. In this quest, she goes to a renowned psychiatrist and becomes the victim of his

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Overview

In the short novel The Anastasia Syndrome, prominent historical writer Judith Chase is living in London and preparing for her marriage to Sir Stephen Hallett, expected to become England's next Prime Minister. Orphaned during World War II, Judith wants to trace her origins. In this quest, she goes to a renowned psychiatrist and becomes the victim of his experiments in regression. When a woman in a dark green cape sets off bombs in London, Sir Stephen and Judith are faced with an intangible, mysterious force threatening their very existence.
Obsessive love is the subject of Terror Stalks the Class Reunion; psychic contact with a dead twin sister is the only defense against a murder in Double Vision; Lucky Day, compared to O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi, begins premonition of imminent danger; in The Lost Angel, mother follows her intuition in a harrowing search for her missing child.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Entertaining, edge-of-the-seat crowd pleasers ... They never fail to win the race."
The New York Times Book Review

"The Anastasia Syndrome and other stories amply demonstrate clark's skill at maintaining suspense by creating nightmarish situations that lie just beneath the surface of ordinary life."
Publishers Weekly

Herbert Mitgang
''The Anastasia Syndrome,'' a novella that leads off her first collection of short stories, is a perfect example of escape literature: undemanding, unbelievable and entertaining....In four short stories that follow ''The Anastasia Syndrome,'' Ms. Clark writes about a lost angel at Christmas; a supernatural phenomenon; an attempted murder involving twins and the theater, and a class reunion that turns into a frightening obsession of a rejected lover that almost leads to disaster. Of these stories, only ''Terror Stalks the Class Reunion'' is fully realized and in the strong, straightforward style of Mrs. Clark's best-selling novels. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collection's title novella concerns a woman ``retrogressed'' to the 17th century's English Civil War by Dr. Patel, famous for treating a woman claiming to be the Russian royal family's Anastasia. According to PW, these five tales ``amply demonstrate Clark's skill at maintaining suspense by creating nightmarish situations that lie just beneath the surface of ordinary life.'' (Mar.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671701239
Publisher:
Pocket Books
Publication date:
03/01/1991
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
299,061
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 6.76(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
790L (what's this?)

Read an Excerpt


From "The Anastasia Syndrome"

With a combination of reluctance and relief, Judith closed the book she had been studying and laid her pen on top of her thick notebook. She had been working steadily for hours, and her back felt cramped as she pushed back the old-fashioned swivel chair and got up from the desk. The day was overcast. Long ago, she had turned on the powerful desk light she had bought to replace the elaborately fringed Victorian lamp which belonged in this furnished rental flat in the Knightsbridge district of London.

Flexing her arms and shoulders, Judith walked over to the window and looked down at Montpelier Street. At 33, the grayness of the January day was already merging with the approaching dusk and the slight shudder of the windowpanes testified that the wind was still brisk. Unconsciously she smiled, remembering the letter she had received in answer to her inquiry about this place:

"Dear Judith Chase,

The flat will be available from 1 September until 1 May. Your references are most satisfactory, and it is a comfort to me to know that you will be engaged in writing your new book. The Civil War in seventeenth-century England has proved marvelously fertile to romantic writers and it is gratifying that a serious historical writer of your stature has chosen it. The flat is unpretentious but spacious and I think you will find it adequate. The lift is frequently out of order; however, three flights of stairs are not too formidable, do you think? I personally climb them by choice."

The letter ended with a precise, spidery signature: "Beatrice Ardsley." Judith knew from mutual friends that Lady Ardsley was 83.

Her fingertips touched the windowsill and she felt the cold, raw air forcing its way through the wooden frame. Shivering, Judith decided that she would have just enough time for a hot bath, if she hurried. Outside, the street was almost empty. The few pedestrians were scurrying along rapidly, their heads bent into their necks, coat collars rolled up. As she turned away, she saw a toddler running down the street just below her window. Horrified, Judith watched as the little girl tripped and fell into the road. If a car came around the corner, the driver wouldn't see her in time. There was an elderly man halfway down the street. She pulled at the window to scream for him to help, but then a young woman appeared from nowhere, darted into the road, scooped up the child and cradled it in her arms.

"Mummy, Mummy," Judith heard it cry.

She closed her eyes and buried her face in her hands as she heard herself wailing aloud, "Mummy, Mummy." Oh God. Not again!

She forced herself to open her eyes. As she had expected, the woman and toddler had vanished. Only the old man was there, making his careful way along the sidewalk.

The phone rang as she was fastening a diamond pin to the jacket of her silk faille cocktail suit. It was Stephen.

"Darling, how did the writing go today?" he asked.

"Very well, I think." Judith felt her pulse quicken. Forty-six years old and her heart leaped like a schoolgirl's at the sound of Stephen's voice.

"Judith, there's a bloody emergency Cabinet meeting and it's running late. Do you mind terribly meeting me at Fiona's? I'll send the car."

"Don't do that. A taxi will be quicker. If you're late, it's state business. If I'm late, it's bad business."

Stephen laughed. "God, you do make my life easy!" His voice lowered. "I'm besotted with you, Judith. Let's only stay as long as we must at the party, then go off for a quiet dinner together."

"Perfect. Good-bye, Stephen. I love you."

Judith replaced the receiver, a smile playing on her lips. Two months ago, she had been seated at a dinner party next to Sir Stephen Hallett. "Quite the biggest catch in England," her hostess, Fiona Collins, confided. "Stunning looks. Charming. Brilliant. Home Secretary. It's common knowledge that he'll be the next Prime Minister. And darling Judith, best of all, he's eligible."

"I met Stephen Hallett once or twice in Washington years ago," Judith said. "Kenneth and I liked him very much. But I came to England to write a book, not to get involved with a man, charming or not."

"Oh nonsense," Fiona snapped. "You've been widowed for 10 years. That's quite long enough. You've made your name as an important writer. Darling, it really is nice to have a man around the house, especially if the house turns out to be 10 Downing Street. My bones tell me that you and Stephen would be perfect together. Judith, you're a beautiful woman, but you always send out signals saying 'Stay away, I'm not interested.' Don't do that tonight, please."

She had not sent out those signals. And that night Stephen had escorted her home and come up for a nightcap. They had talked till nearly dawn. When he left, he had kissed her lightly on the lips. "If I have passed a more pleasant evening in my life, I don't remember it," he had whispered.

Copyright © 1989 by Mary Higgins Clark

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Meet 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. She also wrote The Cinderella Murder with bestselling author Alafair Burke. Her books have sold more than 100 million copies in the United States alone.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Saddle River, New Jersey and New York, New York
Date of Birth:
December 24, 1929
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Education:
New York University; B.A., Fordham University, 1979
Website:
http://www.simonsays.com/subs/index.cfm?areaid=12

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Anastasia Syndrome and Other Stories 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
ButterfliesAngels84 More than 1 year ago
Clark never fails to have on the edge of your seat stories. I couldn't believe that in 5 short stories there was so much thrill. Quick read and loved every minute of it. Anyone into thrill would not be able to put this book down!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that The Anastasia Syndrome was very well written. I got deep into the book, soo deep, that I finished it in a day. The Anastasia Syndrome is one of the best books I've read
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was saddned at the end of The Anatasia Syndrome, but lets face I wish all of your books would go on forever. I love it how you let us every now and then catch a glimpse of past characters. I almost want to ask how the 'Lottery Winners' are doing these days. I hope that some day you could go back and surprise us with Judith's return. :-)
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was pretty good for short stories. I was a little disappointed with the ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once in awhile I will re read books that have intrigued me. I have openly and conciously picked this one up several times starting on any random page as I know it will capture me. This is one of the best all time shorts I have had the pleasure.