The Lottery Winner

( 22 )

Overview

Alvirah Meehan, one of Mary Higgins Clark's most beloved characters, returns in these dazzling, intertwined tales of sleuthing and suspense. Alvirah, the former cleaning lady who struck it rich in the lottery, made her first appearance in Weep No More, My Lady. Now, with her devoted mate, Willy, the ever-resourceful Alvirah delves into crime-solving on a grand scale — and with her own inimitable style.
Among their many adventures, Alvirah and Willy find a dead actress in their ...

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Overview

Alvirah Meehan, one of Mary Higgins Clark's most beloved characters, returns in these dazzling, intertwined tales of sleuthing and suspense. Alvirah, the former cleaning lady who struck it rich in the lottery, made her first appearance in Weep No More, My Lady. Now, with her devoted mate, Willy, the ever-resourceful Alvirah delves into crime-solving on a grand scale — and with her own inimitable style.
Among their many adventures, Alvirah and Willy find a dead actress in their Central Park South condominium upon their return from London in "The Body in the Closet." Needing a break from the big city, they escape to Cape Cod — only to meet a would-be heiress framed for murder in "Death on the Cape." When Alvirah and Willy seek the tranquillity of the Cypress Point Spa, it's the perfect getaway — until a jewel thief turns up in "The Lottery Winner." Back in Manhattan, the search for a neighbor's missing newborn makes for a suspense-filled Christmas in "Bye, Baby Bunting."

From the author of Remember Me and I'll Be Seeing You comes this brilliant collection of interconnected tales of sleuthing and suspense feature the return of Alvirah Meehan and her mate, Willis, who are back by popular demand. "No one knows better than Mary Higgins Clark how to turn fear into entertainment."--Associated Press.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collection of six mystery stories featuring Alvirah Meehan and her husband, Willy, spent 12 weeks on PW's bestseller list. (Nov.)
Library Journal
When Clark found she had a winner in Alvirah Meehan, the former cleaning lady who made a mint off the lottery in Weep No More, My Lady (LJ 8/87), she began writing stories featuring Alvirah and her bumbling husband, Willy. Five previously published tales and two new surprises are collected here. (For details of Clark's sojourn at the American Library Association annual conference, see p. 45.)
Emily Melton
Clark's books are always megahits, and her fans love the nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat suspense that is her trademark. So it's a little surprising that this collection of six interrelated stories featuring Willy and Alvirah Meehan lacks Clark's usual energy and pizzazz. The Meehans, who first appeared in Clark's "Weep No More, My Lady", have struck it rich in the lottery. No longer do they slave away at housecleaning (Alvirah) and plumbing (Willy). Their days are spent pursuing the hedonistic pleasures of the idle rich, although, to their credit, Alvirah and Willy haven't lost touch with their roots. Alvirah seems to have a "talent" for murder, both for being in the general vicinity when one occurs and for uncloaking the villain before anyone else. For readers who enjoy the nouveau riche approach to crime solving ({á}a la Jonathan and Jennifer Hart or Nick and Nora Charles), these stories may prove mildly entertaining, but because they're so short, there's little opportunity for any real development of motive, plot, or character. And while the Meehans are basically nice, easy-to-like folks, the stories about their escapades are flat, facile, and distinctly lacking in suspense. Still, the Clark name ensures demand, and with a 500,000-copy first printing, you can be sure Simon & Schuster plans a full-throttle promotional effort. Buy accordingly.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671867171
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 11/1/1995
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 233,390
  • Lexile: 870L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Higgins Clark, #1 international and New York Times bestselling author, has written thirty-three 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. She is also the coauthor with Carol Higgins Clark of five holiday suspense novels. Her books have sold more than 100 million copies in the United States alone.

Biography

The Queen of Suspense, Bronx-born and -bred Mary Higgins Clark has achieved international success against heavy odds. Her father died when she was 11, and her mother struggled to raise and provide for Mary and her two brothers. Clark attended secretarial school after high school and worked for three years in an advertising agency before leaving to become a stewardess for Pan American Airlines. Throughout 1949, she flew international flights to Europe, Africa, and Asia. " I was in a revolution in Syria and on the last flight into Czechoslovakia before the Iron Curtain went down," she recalls. In 1950, she quit her job to marry Warren Clark, a neighbor nine years her senior whom she had known and admired since she was 16.

In the early years of her marriage, Clark began writing short stories, making her first sale in 1956 to Extension Magazine. Between writing and raising a family, the decade flew by. Then, in 1964, Warren Clark suffered a fatal heart attack, leaving his young widow with five children to support. She went to work writing radio scripts; and, around this time, she decided to try her hand at writing books. Inspired by a radio series she was working on, she drafted a biographical novel about George Washington. It was published in 1969 under the title Aspire to the Heavens. (In 2002, it was re-issued as Mount Vernon Love Story.) Her first suspense novel, Where Are the Children?, appeared in print in 1975. It was a huge hit and marked a turning point in her life. Since then, she has developed a loyal fan base, and each of her novels has hit the bestseller lists. She has also co-written stories and novels with her daughter Carol, a successful author in her own right.

In the 1970s, Clark enrolled in Fordham University at Lincoln Center, graduating summa cum laude in 1979. A great supporter of education, she has served as a trustee of her alma mater and Providence College and holds numerous honorary degrees. She remains active in Catholic affairs and has been honored with many awards. Her publisher, Simon & Schuster, funds an annual award in her name to be given to authors of suspense fiction writing in the Mary Higgins Clark tradition.

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

Read an Excerpt


from "The Lottery Winner"

"Alvirah. Come at once. I need you desperately!"

Alvirah's eyes snapped open. In a split second she emerged from a comfortable dream in which she was at a state dinner at the White House to the reality of being awakened at three in the morning by a pealing telephone, followed by the panicky voice of Baroness Min von Schreiber.

"Min, what's wrong?" she cried.

Willy grunted awake beside her. "Honey, what's the matter?" he mumbled.

Alvirah laid a soothing hand across his lips. "Sshhh." Then she repeated, "Min, what's wrong?"

Min's tragic groan rushed across the continent from the Cypress Point Spa in Pebble Beach, California, to the luxury apartment on Central Park South. "We are going to be ruined. There is a jewel thief among the guests. Mrs. Hayward's diamonds have disappeared from the wall safe in her cottage."

"Saints preserve us," Alvirah said. "What is Scott doing about it?" Scott Alshorne, the sheriff of Monterey County, had befriended Alvirah when she helped solve a murder at the spa a few years earlier.

"Oh, dear me, it's so complicated. We cannot call Scott," Min said, her voice uneven. "Nadine Hayward is hysterical. She doesn't dare admit to her husband that the insurance lapsed on the diamonds. She persuaded him to give the handling of their personal insurance policies to her son by her first marriage so he'd get the commission, and he gambled the premium check away. The insurance company would be responsible because her son was their agent, but then he would be prosecuted, and she can't bring herself to file a claim and have him sent to prison. So she has some wild idea of having paste copies made of the diamonds to fool her husband."

By now Alvirah was fully awake. "Having paste copies worked in 'The Necklace' by de Maupassant. I wonder if Mrs. Hayward has read it."

"De MOWpassant, not de MOPpassant," Min corrected. Then she sighed heavily. "Alvirah, it is ridiculous to let anyone get away with stealing four million dollars' worth of jewelry. We can't just ignore this. Another theft could occur. You must rush here. I need you. You must take charge of identifying the culprit. As my guest, of course. And bring Willy. He could use the exercise classes. I shall assign him a personal trainer."

Fifteen hours later the limousine carrying Willy and Alvirah passed the Pebble Beach Club, then the estates lining Shore Drive. It rounded the bend, passing the tree that gave the Cypress Point Spa its name. Driving through the ornate iron gates of the spa, the car wound its way toward the main house, a rambling three-story ivory stucco mansion with pale blue shutters. Even though she was exhausted, Alvirah's eyes were snapping with anticipation.

"I love this place," she told Willy. "I hope Min gave us Tranquility. it's my favorite cottage. I remember the first time I came here. It was right after we won the lottery, and the prospect of spending a week hobnobbing with all the celebrities made me think I'd died and gone to heaven."

"I know, honey," Willy said.

"It was the beginning of ending out how the other half lives. What a lesson! Why --" Alvirah stopped suddenly, realizing she'd been about to remind Willy that when she'd helped to solve a murder at the spa, she'd almost gotten herself killed doing it.

It was obvious Willy remembered. He put his hand over hers and said, "Honey, I don't want you to get yourself in trouble worrying about somebody's lost jewelry."

"I won't. It will be fun to help out, though. It's been too quiet lately. Oh, look, there's Min."

The car had pulled up to the front door. Min came sweeping down the steps to greet them, her arms outstretched. She was wearing a blue linen dress that clung to her full but excellent figure. Her hair, not a shade different than it must have been twenty years ago, was twirled in an elaborate French twist. She was wearing pearl and gold earrings and a matching necklace; as always, she looked as though she had stepped out of a page in Vogue.

"And to think she's five years older than me," Alvirah muttered in awe. Behind Min, a stately Baron Helmut von Schreiber descended, his military carriage making him seem taller than his five feet seven. His perfectly trimmed goatee drifted a bit in the breeze as his welcoming smile revealed perfect teeth. Only the crinkles around his blue-gray eyes hinted that he was in his early fifties.

The chauffeur hopped out to open the door, but Min beat him to it. "You are true friends," she gushed, her arms open to embrace them. Suddenly she stopped and stared. "Alvirah, where did you buy that suit? It is well cut, but you must not wear beige. It washes you out." Then she stopped again, shaking her head this time. "Oh, but all of that will wait."

The chauffeur was directed to take the luggage to Tranquility cottage. "A maid will unpack for you," Min informed them. "We must talk."

Obediently they followed her up to her sumptuous office on the second floor of the mansion. Helmut closed the door and went over to the sideboard.

"Iced tea, beer, something stronger?" he asked.

Alvirah always was tickled by the fact that absolutely no liquor was allowed on the premises of Cypress Point Spa -- except in Min and Helmut's private quarters. She opted for iced tea. Willy looked pathetically grateful at the thought of a beer. Really, she thought, it had been mean to roust him out of bed in the middle of the night, but it was the only way they could make the nine o'clock flight.

Even then, they hadn't been able to get in first class, and each of them was squeezed into a middle seat, between other people. Willy's first words when they got off the plane were, "Honey, I didn't know how much I'd gotten used to the good life."

Sipping the iced tea, Alvirah got right to the point. "Min, exactly what happened? When was the robbery discovered?"

"Late yesterday afternoon. Nadine Hayward arrived on Saturday, so she'd been here three days. Her husband is staying at their condo in the Pebble Beach Club. He's in a golf tournament there. They're going on to San Francisco for a charity ball, so Nadine brought all her best jewelry and put it in the wall safe in her cottage."

"She's been here before?" Alvirah asked.

"Regularly. Ever since she married Cotter Hayward, she comes to the spa whenever he's in one of his tournaments. He's a fine amateur golfer."

Alvirah frowned. "That's what's been throwing me. There was another woman named Hayward one of the times I was here -- a couple of years ago. She was Mrs. Cotter Hayward too.'

"That was the first wife, Elyse. She still visits the spa, but usually not at the same time as Nadine. Even though she loathes Cotter, she was not happy about being replaced, especially since she unfortunately introduced the new wife to him."

"They fell in love under this roof," Helmut said with a sigh. "These things happen. But to complicate matters, Elyse is also a guest this week."

"Wait a minute," Alvirah said. "You mean to tell me that Elyse and Nadine are both here?"

"That's exactly it. Naturally we have placed them at tables distant from each other in t he dining room and arranged their schedules so they should never be in the same exercise classes."

"Alvirah, honey, I think you're getting off the subject," Willy suggested. "Why don't you stick to finding out about the robbery and then maybe we can go over to the cottage and catch a nap?"

"Oh, Willy, I'm sorry." Alvirah shook her head. "I'm so inconsiderate. Willy needs more sleep than I do, and he couldn't close an eye on the plane. His seat was between two kids who were playing checkers on his tray table. The parents wouldn't let them sit together because they fight so much."

"Why didn't the parents sit with them?" Min asked.

"They had their hands full with three-year-old twins, and you know how good hearted Willy is."

"The robbery," Willy prompted.

"This is what happened," Min said. "At five o'clock Nadine had gone to the salon to have her hair recombed. She got back to Repose cottage at ten minutes of six to find it torn apart. All the drawers had been rifled, her suitcases pulled out. Someone, or perhaps several people, had thoroughly searched every inch of the cottage."

"What were they looking for?" Alvirah asked.

"The jewelry, of course. You know how everyone gets dressed up for the evening. The women love to show off their gems to each other. Nadine had worn a diamond necklace and bracelet the night before. Someone was looking for those pieces but couldn't know that she also had the Hayward tiara, rings and two other bracelets with her as well." Min sighed then burst out, "Why did the stupid woman have to bring everything she owned? Surely she couldn't wear all of that to the charity ball."

Helmut patted her hand. "Minna, Minna, I cannot allow you to let your blood pressure rise. Think beautiful thoughts." He took up the story. "What is odd is that the intruder apparently stumbled onto the safe only after searching through everything else. It is hidden behind the picture of Minna and myself in the sitting room of the cottage."

"Wait a minute," Alvirah interrupted. "You just said that you thought someone must have seen Nadine wearing the jewelry the night before. Did she leave the spa that evening?"

"No. She was at what we jokingly call the cocktail hour, then at dinner, then at the Mozart recital in the music room."

"Then the only people who would have seen her are the other guests and the staff, and every one of them would know enough to look for the safe. All the cottages have one now." Alvirah sucked in her breath and smoothed the skirt of the beige suit she had been sure would find approval in Min's eyes. I did forget that she said beige washes me out, she thought ruefully. Oh, well.

She resumed her train of thought. "That's something else. Was the safe jimmied?"

"No. Someone knew the combination Nadine had set."

"Or was a professional and knew how to find it," Willy added. "What makes you think the thief isn't a thousand miles away right now?"

Min sighed. "Our only hope is that if it was an inside job and Alvirah can track down the perpetrator, we may be able to force him or her to return the gems. All the guests are known to us. Their reputations are impeccable. There are only three new staff members, and their movements are absolutely accounted for." Min looked suddenly ten years older. "Alvirah, this is the sort of problem that can ruin us. Cotter Hayward is a very difficult man. He will not only prosecute Nadine's son, but I also wouldn't put it past him to find some reason to hold us responsible for the theft."

"When is Nadine supposed to leave for San Francisco and the charity ball?" Alvirah asked.

"On Saturday. That gives you three days to perform a miracle."

Copyright © 1994 by Mary Higgins Clark

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Table of Contents

The Body in the Closet 13
Death on the Cape 55
Plumbing for Willy 99
A Clean Sweep 137
The Lottery Winner 175
Bye, Baby Bunting 229
Author's Note 267
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 22 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2002

    A Wonderful Book

    I first started to read this book because my mom recommended it to me. Then, after I was almost done, I decided to do it for a book report. I made up my report, and I found that it is easy to do a report on. I also just enjoyed reading it. It isn't too confusing, and Alvirah is someone that you can understand. She is almost like a real person, not just a character.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2012

    Good stories!

    The Lottery winner is an interesting series of stories about Alvirah & Willy Meehan who were simple working class people until she won a 40 million dollar lottery. Alvirah is a woman who is concerned about people and their problems, and she is always eager to help out when they're in trouble. She wears a lapel pin that has a tiny recording device that aids her in solving crimes. The continuation of the main characters in these stories keeps you wanting to read more about the adventures of Alvirah & her husband, Willy. These stories are, in my opinion, the most entertaining of Mary Higgins Clark's books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    highly recommend

    Just right! I love the fact that it tells little short stories about there winnigs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Good Quick Reading

    This is my favorite collection of short stories with my favorite characters that Mary Higgins Clark has created.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Frustrating

    I was very disappointed with this book. I felt the reading level was for a ten year old. Only thing that kept me reading is I hate to waste money.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2012

    Not my favorite from Mary Higgins Clark.

    This book consisted of about six short stories revolving around a returning character from other books. The short stories are good but they are solved relatively quickly and since they are so many in one book, they dont go into much detail. This one is probably my least favorite of Mary Higgins Clark's books that i have read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Great Book

    This is a gret book. I couldnt put it down. Mary Higgens Clark definatly knows how to keep a reader reaing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2003

    The Lottery Winner

    In this book, Willy and Alvirah Meehan solve many different mysteries. Alvirah is a reporter and loves all the excitement. But Willy worries about his wife's saftey, and would like her to just take things nice and easy. I didn't really care much for this Marry Higgins Clark book. I didn't get into it as much as other MHC books. I think that the character Alvirah, solved the different crimes to easy, and it was really hard to believe.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2000

    The Body in the Closet

    I loved this story, it had tons of details. I would recommend this book to anybody that enjoys mysteries. You would never know the theme of the story if you didn't listen or read the whole book. But, this book is outstanding. So if you are into mysteries than you definetly need to read this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2000

    a reviewer

    This is truely one of the better books I've read. It's full of suspense and questions. It has a great storyline and is very good.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2000

    Alvirah and Willy are back!

    One of everyone's favorite characters is back! Your favorite snoop who had a brush with death in Weep No More My Lady is in her own book with a bunch of great short stories! She will keep you under her spell from the first page to the last!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2000

    Alvirah is back again!

    I truly enjoyed the Alvirah character in the MHC novel, 'Weep no more, my lady'. It was a pleasure to find her once again in this light-hearted romp. Great compilation of easy reading and fun. :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted May 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted October 7, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted August 21, 2010

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    Posted June 7, 2011

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    Posted March 29, 2011

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