Before I Say Good-Bye

Before I Say Good-Bye

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by Mary Higgins Clark, Jan Maxwell

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Mary Higgins Clark, America's "Queen of Suspense," delves into the mystery of psychic powers and communication with the dead in her gripping new thriller, Before I Say Good-Bye.
When Adam Cauliff's new cabin cruiser, Cornelia II, blows up in New York harbor with him and several close business associates aboard, his wife, Nell MacDermott, is not…  See more details below


Mary Higgins Clark, America's "Queen of Suspense," delves into the mystery of psychic powers and communication with the dead in her gripping new thriller, Before I Say Good-Bye.
When Adam Cauliff's new cabin cruiser, Cornelia II, blows up in New York harbor with him and several close business associates aboard, his wife, Nell MacDermott, is not only distraught at the loss but wracked with guilt because she and Adam had just had a serious quarrel and she had told him not to come home.
The quarrel was precipitated by Nell's decision to try to win the congressional seat long held by her grandfather Cornelius MacDermott. Orphaned at age ten, she had been raised by "Mac," as she called him, and was always at his side on Capitol Hill. Politics was in her blood, and Adam had known her ambitions when they married. Suddenly, however, he became opposed to her plan to run for Congress.
Nell, like her great-aunt Gert, possesses psychic gifts, which her grandfather scoffingly dismisses as "flights of fantasy." As a child she had been aware of the deaths of both her parents and grandmother at the exact moment they died. She knew because at that very moment she sensed their presence near her.
Even though Nell has the rare gift of extrasensory perception, she is much too levelheaded to accept most of the claims made by many so-called psychics and is skeptical about Aunt Gert's fascination with mediums. After Adam's death, however, Gert begs Nell to see a medium, Bonnie Wilson, who has contacted her, claiming she is in touch with Adam. Still regretting her last angry words to Adam, Nell agrees, hoping that she will be able to reach him through the medium and part from him in peace.
As the investigation into the boat's explosion proceeds, Nell is shocked by the official confirmation that it was not an accident but the result of foul play. Adam, an architect, had been involved in a major construction project on land he had recently purchased and which had since had a spectacular rise in value.
Was Adam the target of the explosion? Or was it Winifred Johnson, his self-effacing, fifty-two-year-old assistant, who knew too much about bribery in the construction business and who was openly in love with him? Or was it Sam Krause, a builder with a questionable reputation who was involved in the new project? Or Jimmy Ryan, the debt-ridden construction foreman whose wife, after his death, discovers money hidden in their home? Or was it Peter Lang, the wealthy man-about-town real-estate entrepreneur, whose minor traffic accident caused him to miss the fatal meeting on the boat?
As Nell searches for the truth about Adam's death, she carries out instructions from Adam transmitted through the medium. What she does not know is that she is being closely watched, and the nearer she comes to learning what actually happened on the boat that night, the nearer she is to becoming the next victim of a ruthless killer.

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Editorial Reviews
Spirited Suspense

Since the publication of her first blockbuster novel, Where Are the Children?, nearly 30 years ago, Mary Higgins Clark had been delighting her readers with high-class, spine-tingling suspense, becoming something of a legend in the publishing business. Her latest effort, Before I Say Good-bye, is no exception. It combines Clark's trademark woman-in-jeopardy theme with an elaborate plot that has more wrinkles in it than a shar-pei. And as if her usual chills and thrills weren't enough, Clark gives her readers a bonus in the form of a few ghosts and some spooky episodes of clairvoyance.

Nell MacDermott learned the meaning of tragedy at a tender age. She was only ten years old when she had a vision of her parents coming to school to say goodbye to her. Within an hour of that vision, Nell's grandfather, Congressman Cornelius MacDermott, arrived at the school with the news that Nell's parents had perished in a plane crash. Five years later, caught in a deadly riptide that threatened to drown her, Nell once again had a "visit" from her parents. This time, they gave her the courage and strength to hold on when her struggles against the riptide threatened to overwhelm her.

As an adult living in Manhattan, Nell views her strange experiences with a cautious and somewhat jaundiced eye. While she doesn't doubt the reality of what happened, she finds it hard to buy into the whole paranormal experience in general. And that suits her grandfather just fine, given that he expects Nell to step into his shoes as a congressman now that he's retired. Nell isn't averse to the idea; the old man's political inclinations are in her blood, too. But her husband, Adam, whom Cornelius has never liked, is strongly opposed to the idea.

Adam's objections become a moot point when his boat, occupied by himself and three other people, is blown to bits in a mysterious explosion. Reeling from her husband's death, Nell is forced to take a second look at her life...and her marriage. She doesn't much care for what she sees, and the picture rapidly grows worse when an investigation into the explosion reveals that it was no accident. Faced with the possibility that her husband wasn't who she thought he was and that a killer may well be on the loose, Nell is pulled into her own investigation. Her unusual abilities provide some assistance, but by the time the complex truth is revealed, Nell has had several visions of people's deaths -- including her own.

Clark has always been a master plotter, and her shrewd use of clever red herrings makes Before I Say Good-bye a treat for mystery fans. The characters are complex enough to be intriguing, imperfect enough to seem real, and enmeshed in a story that bundles up several deadly sins -- avarice, envy, pride, and wrath. The twists and turns will keep readers enthralled and guessing right up until the end. And the paranormal elements make for a spirited visit to a world where nothing is what it seems -- in this realm or the next. This one is Mary Higgins Clark at her chilling and charming best.

—Beth Amos

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Product Details

Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Abridged, 4 CDs, 4 hrs. 30 min.
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Product dimensions:
4.94(w) x 1.02(h) x 5.74(d)

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Chapter One

Nell set off at a brisk pace on her familiar walk from her apartment on Park Avenue and Seventy-third Street to her grandfather's office on Seventy-second and York. From the peremptory summons she had received, demanding that she be there by three o'clock, she knew that the situation with Bob Gorman must have come to a head. As a result she was not looking forward to the meeting.

Deep in thought, she was oblivious to the admiring glances that occasionally came her way. After all, she and Adam were happily married. Still, she knew that some people found a tall woman, with the slim, strong body of an athlete, short chestnut-colored hair that was now forming into humidity-caused ringlets, midnight-blue eyes, and a generous mouth, attractive. While growing up, and frequently attending public events with her grandfather, Nell's rueful observation was that when the media described her, that was usually the word used — "attractive."

"To me, attractive is like having a guy say, 'She's not much to look at, but what a personality!' It's the kiss of death. Just once I want to be described as 'beautiful' or 'elegant' or 'stunning' or even 'stylish,'" she had complained when she was twenty.

Typically, her grandfather's comment had been, "For God's sake don't be so silly. Be grateful you've got a head on your shoulders and know how to use it."

The trouble was that she knew already what he wanted to discuss with her today, and the way he was going to ask her to use her head was a problem. His plans for her and Adam's objections to them were most decidedly an issue.

At eighty-two, Cornelius MacDermott had lost little of the vigor that for decades had made him one of the nation's most prominent congressmen. Elected at thirty to represent the midtown Manhattan district where he had been raised, he stayed in that spot for fifty years, resisting all arguments to run for the Senate. On his eightieth birthday he had chosen not to run again. "I'm not trying to beat Strom Thurmond's record as the longest-serving guy on the Hill," he had announced.

Retirement for Mac meant opening a consulting office and making sure that New York City and State stayed in his party's political fold. An endorsement from him was a virtual laying on of hands for neophyte campaigners. Years ago he had created his party's most famous election commercial on TV: "What did that other bunch ever do for you?" followed by silence and a succession of bewildered expressions. Recognized everywhere, he could not walk down the street without being showered with affectionate and respectful greetings.

Occasionally he grumbled to Nell about his status as a local celebrity: "Can't set foot outside my door without making sure I'm camera ready."

To which she replied, "You'd have a heart attack if people ignored you, and you know it."

When she reached his office today, Nell waved to the receptionist and walked back to her grandfather's suite. "The mood?" she asked Liz Hanley, his longtime secretary.

Liz, a handsome sixty-year-old, with dark brown hair and a no-nonsense expression, raised her eyes to heaven. "It was a dark and stormy night," she said.

"Oh boy, that bad," Nell said with a sigh. She tapped on the door of the private office as she let herself in. "Top of the day, Congressman."

"You're late, Nell," Cornelius MacDermott barked, as he spun his desk chair around to face her.


"Not according to my watch. Three on the dot."

"I thought I told you to get here by three."

"I had a column to turn in, and unfortunately my editor shares your sentiments about punctuality. Now, how about showing me the winning smile that melts the voters' hearts?"

"Today I haven't got one. Sit down, Nell." Mac-Dermott indicated the couch situated beneath the corner window that offered panoramic views of the city east and north. He had chosen that office because it gave him a view of his longtime congressional district.

Nell called it his fiefdom.

As she settled on the couch, she looked at him anxiously. There was an unfamiliar weariness in his blue eyes, clouding his usual keenly observant expression. His erect carriage, even when he was seated, always gave the impression that he was taller than his actual height, but today even that seemed diminished. Even Mac's famous shock of white hair appeared thinner. As she watched, he clasped his hands together and shrugged his shoulders as though trying to dislodge an invisible burden. With sinking heart, Nell thought for the first time in her memory that her grandfather looked his age.

He stared past her for a long moment, then got up and moved to a comfortable armchair near the couch.

"Nell, we've got a crisis, and you've got to solve it. After being nominated for a second term, that weasel Bob Gorman has decided not to run. He's been offered a sweetheart deal to head up a new Internet company. He'll serve out his term till the election but says he can't afford to live on a congressman's salary. I pointed out to him that when I helped him get the nomination two years ago, all he talked about at the time was a commitment to serving the people."

She waited. She knew that last week her grandfather had heard the first rumors about Gorman not running for a second term. Obviously the rumors had been confirmed.

"Nell, there's one person — and only one, in my opinion — who could step in and keep that seat in the party." MacDermott frowned. "You should have done it two years ago when I retired and you know it." He paused. "Look, it's in your blood. You wanted to do it from the start, but Adam talked you out of it. Don't let that happen again."

"Mac, please don't start on Adam."

"I'm not starting on anyone, Nell. I'm telling you that I know you, and you're a political animal. I've been grooming you for my job since you were a teenager. I wasn't thrilled when you married Adam Cauliff, but don't forget, I helped him to get his start in New York when I introduced him to Walters and Arsdale, a fine architectural firm and among my most valued supporters."

Mac's lips tightened. "It didn't make me look good when, after less than three years, Adam walked out on them, taking their chief assistant, and opened his own operation. All right, maybe that's good business. But from the outset, Adam knew my plans for you, your plans for yourself. What made him change his mind? You were supposed to run for my seat when I retired, and he knew it. He had no right to talk you out of it then, and he has no right to try to talk you out of it now."

"Mac, I enjoy being a columnist. You may not have noticed, but I get mighty good feedback."

"You write a darn good column. I grant you that. But it's not enough for you and you know it."

"Look, my reluctance now isn't that Adam asked me to give up the idea of running for office."

"No? Then what do you call it?"

"We both want children. You know that. He sug-

gested I wait until after that happens. In ten years I'll only be forty-two. That would be a good age to start running for elective office."

Her grandfather stood impatiently. "Nell, in ten years the parade will have passed you by. Events move too fast to wait. Admit it. You're aching to throw your hat in the ring. Remember what you said when you informed me you were going to call me Mac?"

Nell leaned forward, clasped her hands together and tucked them under her chin. She remembered; it happened when she was a freshman at Georgetown. At his initial protest, she had held her ground. "Look, you always say I'm your best friend, and your friends call you Mac," she had told him. "If I keep calling you Grandpa, I'll always be perceived as a kid. When I'm with you in public I want to be considered your aide-de-camp."

"What's that supposed to mean?" he had responded.

She remembered how she'd held up the dictionary. "Listen to the definition. In brief, an aide-de-camp is 'a subordinate or confidential assistant.' God knows for the present I'm both to you."

"For the present?" he had asked.

"Until you retire and I take over your seat."

"Remember, Nell?" Cornelius MacDermott said, breaking her reverie. "You were a cocky college kid when you said that, but you meant it."

"I remember," she said.

He came and stood right in front of her, leaning forward, his face right in front of hers. "Nell, seize the moment. If you don't, you'll regret it. When Gorman confirms that he isn't running, there'll be a scramble for the nomination. I want the committee to consider candidates behind you from the get-go."

"When is the get-go?" she asked cautiously.

"At the annual dinner, on the 30th. You and Adam will be there. Gorman will be announcing his intention to leave when his term is complete; he'll get teary-eyed and sniffle and say that, while it was a difficult decision for him to make, something has made it much easier. Then he's going to dry his eyes and blow his nose, point to you and bellow that you, Cornelia MacDermott Cauliff, are going to run for the seat previously occupied by your grandfather for nearly fifty years. It will be Cornelia replacing Cornelius. The wave of the third millennium."

Obviously pleased with himself and his vision, Mac-Dermott smiled broadly. "Nell, it'll bring the house down."

With a pang of regret, Nell remembered that two years ago, when Bob Gorman ran for Mac's seat, she had had a wild sense of impatience, a compulsion to be there, a need to see herself in his place. Mac was right. She was a political animal. If she didn't get into the arena now, it could be too late — or at least, too late for a shot at this seat, which was where she wanted to start a political career.

"What's Adam's problem, Nell? He didn't use to pull this stuff on you."

"I know."

"Is anything wrong between you two?"

"No." She managed a dismissive smile to signify the suggestion was absurd.

How long had it been going on? she wondered. At what point had Adam become distracted, even remote? At first her concerned questions, asking him what was wrong, had been brushed off lightly. Now she detected an edge of anger. Only recently she had told him point-blank that if there was a serious problem with their relationship, then she deserved to hear about it. "I mean any kind of problem, Adam. Being in the dark is the worst problem of all," she had said.

"Where is Adam?" her grandfather asked.

"He's in Philadelphia."

"Since when?"

"Yesterday. He's speaking at a seminar for architects and interior designers. He'll be back tomorrow."

"I want him at the dinner on the 30th, standing by your side, applauding your decision. Okay?"

"I don't know how much applauding he'll do," she said, a hint of dejection in her voice.

"When you were married he was gung-ho to be the spouse of a future politician. What happened to change his mind?"

You did, Nell thought. Adam became jealous of the time you demanded from me.

When she and Adam were first married, he'd been enthusiastic over the idea that she would continue to be active as Mac's assistant. But that had changed when her grandfather announced his retirement.

"Nell, we now have a chance for a life that doesn't revolve around the almighty Cornelius MacDermott," Adam had said. "I'm sick of your being at his beck and call. Do you think that will get better if you campaign for his old seat? I have news for you. He won't give you the chance to breathe, unless he's exhaling for you."

The children they'd hoped for hadn't arrived, and they became part of his argument. "You've never known anything except politics," Adam pleaded. "Sit it out, Nell. The Journal wants you to do a regular column. You might like the freedom."

His entreaties had helped her make the decision not to pursue the nomination. Now, as she considered her grandfather's arguments, along with his unique combination of ordering and coaxing her, Nell dispassionately admitted something to herself: commenting on the political scene wasn't enough. She wanted to be in on the action.

Finally she said, "Mac, I'm going to put my cards on the table. Adam is my husband and I love him. You, on the other hand, have never even liked him."

"That isn't true."

"Then let's put it another way. Ever since Adam opened his own firm, you've had the shiv out for him. If I run for this office, it will be like the old days. You and I will be spending a lot more day-to-day time together, and if that's going to work you've got to promise me that you'll treat Adam the way you'd want to be treated if the positions were reversed."

"And if I promise to embrace him to my bosom, then you'll run?"

When she left Cornelius MacDermott's office an hour later, Nell had given her word that she would seek the congressional seat being vacated by Bob Gorman.

Copyright © 2000 by Mary Higgins Clarke

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Before I Say Good-Bye 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 92 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much. Of course I am a lover of anything that has to do with the supernatural. This book was a definate page turner and you cannot put it down. It keeps you guessing the entire time. I loved this book so much that I was almost to the point of crying when the book ended. I think anyone would enjoy this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a thoroughly enjoyable book. Like most people said, it does have a lot of characters. I was worried that i might not be able to follow it, so i wrote all the characters names down as they were introduced. It was much easier that way. This book was very easy to read, and each character introduced was vital to the plot. The only thing that kind of through me off was the way that the ending was so predictable. Still a MUST READ!!!! get this book for your own good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my second Mary Higgins Clark book, and I need no more to tell she is from now on one of my favorite authors. No matter how many clues one thinks she is giving, the next page puts some new doubts. Excellent book, excellent writer
VickiDee More than 1 year ago
Not as action packed as her other stories. Still a good read. I love Mary Higgins Clark's books
momsteddybear More than 1 year ago
It was so nice to find a Mary Higgins Clark book that I had not already read. I think I have read every one of her books. I even turned my daughter on to her. Very suspenseful, could not turn the pages fast enough at the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! Loved the plot and characters! Very good romantic suspense novel! Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy reading and very interesting!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't want to put down but it's hard to keep up with all the characters
MamaLouBebe More than 1 year ago
Life can be strange, and shocking. This book keeps you caught up in the plot right to the very end!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This action packed thriller grasped my attention as the book was nearing the end. Mary Higgins Clark uses many foreshadowing clues to disguise the ending, which is no sooner revealed, than the moment you shut the book. The novel also reveales to readers that dreams can come true, if only you overcome the many obstacles standing in your path.
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Go to 'noip'.
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JoyECS More than 1 year ago
Good story.
Mistress_Nyte More than 1 year ago
I've read several of MHC's books before, and this one did not disappoint. Twists, turns, and a great ending. The characters were all very well developed, and you even develop a type of sympathy for Adam, even though he's a bit of a bastard. I do recommend this book, and it will keep its place on my bookshelf.
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