The Christmas Thief (Regan Reilly Series)

The Christmas Thief (Regan Reilly Series)

3.5 50
by Mary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark

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Mary Higgins Clark, America's Queen of Suspense, and her daughter, bestselling mystery writer Carol Higgins Clark, have again joined forces to create a suspenseful and humorous holiday tale.
Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner turned amateur sleuth, teams up with private investigator Regan Reilly to solve another Christmas mystery. In Deck the Halls, they


Mary Higgins Clark, America's Queen of Suspense, and her daughter, bestselling mystery writer Carol Higgins Clark, have again joined forces to create a suspenseful and humorous holiday tale.
Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner turned amateur sleuth, teams up with private investigator Regan Reilly to solve another Christmas mystery. In Deck the Halls, they rescued Regan's kidnapped father. This time they get in the middle of a case involving a beautiful eighty-foot blue spruce that has been chosen to spend the holidays as Rockefeller Center's famous Christmas tree. The folks who picked the tree don't have a clue that attached to one of its branches is a flask chock-full of priceless diamonds that Packy Noonan, a scam artist just released from prison, had hidden there over twelve years ago.
An excited Packy breaks his parole and heads to Stowe, Vermont, to reclaim his loot. Once there, he is horrified to discover that his special tree will be heading to New York City the next morning. With a bumbling crew consisting of Jo-Jo, Benny, and an unsuccessful poet, Milo, he knows he has to act fast.
What Packy does not know is that Alvirah and Regan are on a weekend trip to Stowe with Alvirah's husband, Willy; Regan's fiancé, Jack; Regan's parents, Luke and Nora; and Alvirah's friend Opal, a lottery winner who lost all her winnings in Packy's scam. On Monday morning when they're supposed to head home, they learn that the tree is missing, Packy Noonan may be in the vicinity, and Opal has disappeared.
From two of America's beloved storytellers, The Christmas Thief is filled with suspense, comic characters, and holiday cheer, and is sure to delight its readers.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mother and daughter Clark, each a bestseller in her own right, have produced a singularly slight and unmemorable tale with their third holiday suspense novel (after 2001's He Sees You When You're Sleeping). This time the villainy centers on an 80-foot Vermont spruce earmarked for the traditional Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. Unbeknownst to the tree's owners, its branches contain millions of dollars' worth of diamonds, secreted there more than a decade earlier by con man Packy Noonan to conceal the proceeds of an investment scam. One of the scam's victims happens to be vacationing near the site of the planned tree-cutting, along with Alvirah and Willy Meehan, who successfully resolved a kidnapping in their previous caper. When Packy is finally paroled, he heads straight for the treasure, enmeshing him, his confederates, the Meehans and a bevy of other characters in vandalism, abduction and other crimes. Unfortunately, there's no mystery concerning who's doing what or why and little sense of menace or suspense. Classic mystery fans may be amused by the contemporary take on Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Six Napoleons," but many readers, including those devoted to the Clarks' solo efforts, will be disappointed. Agent, Evva Pryor at McIntosh & Otis. (Nov. 9) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
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Regan Reilly Series
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Packy Noonan carefully placed an x on the calendar he had pinned to the wall of his cell in the federal prison located near Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. Packy was overflowing with love for his fellow man. He had been a guest of the United States Government for twelve years, four months, and two days. But because he had served over 85 percent of his sentence and been a model prisoner, the parole board had reluctantly granted Packy his freedom as of November 12, which was only two weeks away.

Packy, whose full name was Patrick Coogan Noonan, was a world-class scam artist whose offense had been to cheat trusting investors out of nearly $100 million in the seemingly legitimate company he had founded. When the house of cards collapsed, after deducting the money he had spent on homes, cars, jewelry, bribes, and shady ladies, most of the rest, nearly $80 million, could not be accounted for.

In the years of his incarceration, Packy's story never changed. He insisted that his two missing associates had run off with the rest of the money and that, like his victims, he, too, had been the victim of his own trusting nature.

Fifty years old, narrow-faced, with a hawklike nose, close-set eyes, thinning brown hair, and a smile that inspired trust, Packy had stoically endured his years of confinement. He knew that when the day of deliverance came, his nest egg of $80 million would sufficiently compensate him for his discomfort.

He was ready to assume a new identity once he picked up his loot; a private plane would whisk him to Brazil, and a skillful plastic surgeon there had already been engaged to rearrange the sharp features that might have served as the blueprint for the working of his brain.

All the arrangements had been made by his missing associates, who were now residing in Brazil and had been living on $10 million of the missing funds. The remaining fortune Packy had managed to hide before he was arrested, which was why he knew he could count on the continued cooperation of his cronies.

The long-standing plan was that upon his release Packy would go to the halfway house in New York, as required by the terms of his parole, dutifully follow regulations for about a day, then shake off anyone following him, meet his partners in crime, and drive to Stowe, Vermont. There they were to have rented a farmhouse, a flatbed trailer, a barn to hide it in, and whatever equipment it took to cut down a very large tree.

"Why Vermont?" Giuseppe Como, better known as Jo-Jo, wanted to know. "You told us you hid the loot in New Jersey. Were you lying to us, Packy?"

"Would I lie to you?" Packy had asked, wounded. "Maybe I don't want you talking in your sleep."

Jo-Jo and Benny, forty-two-year-old fraternal twins, had been in on the scam from the beginning, but both humbly acknowledged that neither one of them had the fertile mind needed to concoct grandiose schemes. They recognized their roles as foot soldiers of Packy and willingly accepted the droppings from his table since, after all, they were lucrative droppings.

"O Christmas tree, my Christmas tree," Packy whispered to himself as he contemplated finding the special branch of one particular tree in Vermont and retrieving the flask of priceless diamonds that had been nestling there for over thirteen years.

Copyright © 2004 by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark

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; two children’s books; and a memoir, Kitchen Privileges. With her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, she has coauthored five more suspense novels. Her books have sold more than 100 million copies in the United States alone.
Carol Higgins Clark is the author of the bestselling Regan Reilly mysteries. She is coauthor, along with her mother, Mary Higgins Clark, of a bestselling holiday suspense series. Also an actress, Carol Higgins Clark studied at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and has recorded several novels. She received AudioFile’s Earphones Award of Excellence for her reading of Jinxed. She lives in New York City. Her website is

Brief Biography

Saddle River, New Jersey and New York, New York
Date of Birth:
December 24, 1929
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
New York University; B.A., Fordham University, 1979

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The Christmas Thief (Regan Reilly Series) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
ToReadPerchancetoDream More than 1 year ago
Mary Higgins Clark has long been a favorite author of mine. Her daughter Carol Higgins Clark has been writing with her and alone for quite some time now, but I'm partial to Mary. This book was a joint effort. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. The main characters have been written about in other books, but in The Christmas Thief, they lacked substance. The attempt to fill the reader in on them and their personalities from past stories was half-hearted at best. The bad guys didn't come off any better, either. I think they were supposed to be bumblers, providing comic relief, but they weren't very funny - just inept. Worst of all, this was supposed to be a Christmas book, the main theme is about the tree which was earmarked to become the Rockefeller Center. It didn't feel "Christmassy" at all to me. Just because a book is set at Christmas time doesn't make it a Christmas book. The author must add those bits of Christmas spirit in the writing, and the Higgins Clark ladies failed to do it. I'm afraid I can't recommend this one. It's a very quick read, so if you find it at your library and are curious, you can go that route. Otherwise, keep looking.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I normally love Clark's books but I had a difficult time even finishing this one. The plot was lame, the characters were very unrealistic, and it was so predictable there was no suspense. Sometimes it seems that long-time authors just churn out new books without much thought, knowing it will sell on their name alone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a big Mary Higgins Clark fan, however, I found this book very disappointing. The plot was simplistic and unimaginative. The character development was so poor that I found myself thinking the thief seemed more human than the other characters. Save your money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this unabridged CD version for my daughter for Christmas. I am now listening to it myself. The screeching voices used to portray the characters is rendering this a trial to the ear. I will never buy another book read by Carol Higgins Clark! My daughter nor I are able to finish this assult on the eardrums. I am very disappointed because I always buy the latest 'Christmas novel' MHC has out as a gift.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an ok book. Maybe because its not my normal genre but I found the character development to be lacking & the plot seemed to progress like Clark was following a set formula, everything was pretty predictable
Guest More than 1 year ago
Many dramatic turn of events happen. Peter is a nice but sneaky. He is the guy that steals an object. In all of the commotion he ends up with a couple of accomplices. He is one of the smartest thieves around. Sometimes the bad boys are the best. The author really allows you to think about the plot. He does not jump around and he does not do a lot of flash backs. This is one of the many points I liked. The setting is near Colorado, but then goes to New York City. I would recommend this book to any one who has troubling reading. This book was an easy reader. It was also short and to the point. I would rate this book an 8. It was a real page turner.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Half way through the book a plot comes out. It combines a Mary book and a Carol book which is where characterization comes in, i didn't read any of them and was so lost. It was a waste of time and ended so lamely. If it's in your heart to read this, rent it from the library.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cute, funny book to read during the holiday season. I just felt that it was a little cheesy and unrealistic. I didn't feel the book had a good flow.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mary and Carol have done it again. This was a great Christmas mystery. It was fun to read! The characters are well defined and truly hilarious. I reccommend this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a refreshing story, it has it all, warmth, mystery, fun, and old friends. A must read for the season.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you loved Deck The Halls then you must read The Christmas Thief. It makes a great holiday read and a great gift for a mystery fan. It's fun, captivating, and the Packy Noonan character is really just a blast to follow. I highly suggest this one for a cold winter night by a fire.
BNreader56SC More than 1 year ago
The Christmas Thief is typical of the collaboration of this mother/daughter team of writers. Although I enjoyed the book it is not particularly memorable and the main characters of Regan and Jack Reilly almost seem like minor peripheral players with the antagonists taking a lead roll. I found myself rooting for the henchmen because they were more of a focus for the story. I felt sorry for their poor choices. Other Christmas books have had a better plot line and character development. If you want to read an okay but forgettable book, then check this out. I would look for a less expensive used copy if you intend to purchase.
Bsq More than 1 year ago
Loved it. I couldn't put. It down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It wasn't t really an "edge of your seat" read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
D2120 More than 1 year ago
Fun Christmas story but not enough of Regan Reilly
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The plot and characters were outstanding!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very entertaining
jeanie29 More than 1 year ago
Could not put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book and would tell others
tuffelman More than 1 year ago
This was the December read for my Mystery Book Club - chosen by me because of where the story takes place: the wonderful town of Stowe, Vermont and the nearby Von Trappe resort (think Sound of Music family). Having visited there I could picture the story unfolding. This was a light mystery full of familiar characters (Mary Higgins Clark and daughter Carol's "Regan Riley series") and just enough suspense to keep you reading - but not too heavy for a holiday read. Mystery Book Club members all agreed this was a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The stories just get better and better