The Cinderella Murder (Under Suspicion Series #1)

The Cinderella Murder (Under Suspicion Series #1)

3.9 72
by Mary Higgins Clark, Alafair Burke

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In this collaboration between “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark and bestselling author Alafair Burke, “the snappy pace, layered characters, and many plot surprises will keep readers guessing in this fascinating mystery” (Booklist).

Television producer Laurie Moran is delighted when the pilot for her reality drama, Under…  See more details below


In this collaboration between “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark and bestselling author Alafair Burke, “the snappy pace, layered characters, and many plot surprises will keep readers guessing in this fascinating mystery” (Booklist).

Television producer Laurie Moran is delighted when the pilot for her reality drama, Under Suspicion, is a success. Even more, the program—a cold case series that revisits unsolved crimes by recreating them with those affected—is off to a fantastic start when it helps solve an infamous murder in the very first episode.

Now Laurie has the ideal case to feature in the next episode of Under Suspicion: the Cinderella Murder. When Susan Dempsey, a beautiful and multi-talented UCLA student, was found dead, her murder raised numerous questions. Why was her car parked miles from her body? Had she ever shown up for the acting audition she was due to attend at the home of an up-and-coming director? Why does Susan’s boyfriend want to avoid questions about their relationship? Was her disappearance connected to a controversial church? Was she close to her computer science professor because of her technological brilliance, or something more? And why was Susan missing one of her shoes when her body was discovered?

With the help of Under Suspicion host Alex Buckley, Laurie knows the case will attract great ratings, especially when the former suspects include Hollywood’s elite and tech billionaires. The suspense and drama are perfect for the silver screen—but is Cinderella’s murderer ready for a close-up?

Together Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke deliver “plenty of intrigue and excitement” (Publishers Weekly) in this exciting start to a new series that will keep you guessing until the final page.

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Editorial Reviews

In this whodunit series starter, "Queen of Suspense" Mary Higgins Clark is joined by veteran mystery writer Alafair Burke (Angel's Tip; Dead Connection). The Cinderella in this case is a beautiful, talented actress/student whose dead body is found missing a shoe; hence the title. Unfortunately for true crime TV producer Laurie Moran, this case is more knotty than any fairy tale; in fact, suspects in Susan Dempsey's violent demise are much more numerous than a small battalion of evil stepsisters. Luckily, one by one, the clues are unlocked by amateur sleuth Moran and the show's host. A dynamic new author duo adds new verve to a classic; now in mass-market paperback and NOOK Book.

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
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Under Suspicion Series , #1
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Read an Excerpt

The Cinderella Murder


It was two o’clock in the morning. Right on time, Rosemary Dempsey thought ruefully as she opened her eyes and stirred. Whenever she had a big day ahead she would inevitably wake up in the middle of the night and start worrying that something would go wrong.

It had always been like this, even when she was a child. And now, fifty-five years old, happily married for thirty-two years, with one child, beautiful and gifted nineteen-year-old Susan, Rosemary could not be anything but a constant worrier, a living Cassandra. Something is going to go wrong.

Thanks again, Mom, Rosemary thought. Thanks for all the times you held your breath, so sure that the birthday upside-down cake I loved to make for Daddy would flop. The only one that did was the first one when I was eight years old. All the others were perfect. I was so proud of myself. But then, on his birthday when I was eighteen, you told me you always made a backup cake for him. In the single act of defiance that I can remember, I was so shocked and angry I tossed the one I had made in the garbage can.

You started laughing and then tried to apologize. “It’s just that you’re talented in other ways, Rosie, but let’s face it, in the kitchen you’re klutzy.”

And of course you found other ways to tell me where I was klutzy, Rosemary thought. “Rosie, when you make the bed, be sure that the spread is even on both sides. It only takes an extra minute to do it right.” “Rosie, be careful. When you read a magazine, don’t just toss it back on the table. Line it up with the others.”

And now, even though I know I can throw a party or make a cake, I am always sure that something will go wrong, Rosemary thought.

But there was a reason today to be apprehensive. It was Jack’s sixtieth birthday, and this evening sixty of their friends would be there to celebrate it. Cocktails and a buffet supper, served on the patio by their infallible caterer. The weather forecast was perfect, sunshine and seventy degrees.

It was May 7 in Silicon Valley and that meant that the flowers were in full bloom. Their dream house, the third since they’d moved to San Mateo thirty-two years ago, was built in the style of a Tuscan villa. Every time she turned into the driveway, she fell in love with it again.

Everything will be fine, she assured herself impatiently. And as usual I’ll make the birthday chocolate upside-down cake for Jack and it will be perfect and our friends will have a good time and I will be told how I’m a marvel. “Your parties are always so perfect, Rosie . . . The supper was delicious . . . the house exquisite . . . ,” and on and on. And I will be a nervous wreck inside, she thought, an absolute nervous wreck.

Careful not to awaken him, she wriggled her slender body over in the bed until her shoulder was touching Jack’s. His even breathing told her that he was enjoying his usual untroubled sleep. And he deserved it. He worked so hard. As she often did when she was trying to overcome one of her worry attacks, Rosemary began to remind herself of all the good things in her life, starting with the day she met Jack on the campus of Marquette University. She had been an undergraduate. He had been a law student. It was the proverbial love at first sight. They had been married after she graduated from college. Jack was fascinated by developing technology, and his conversation became filled with talk of robots, telecommunications, microprocessors, and something called internetworking. Within a year they had moved to Northern California.

I always wanted us to live our lives in Milwaukee, Rosemary thought. I still could move back in a heartbeat. Unlike most human beings, I love cold winters. But moving here certainly has worked out for us. Jack is head of the legal department of Valley Tech, one of the top research companies in the country. And Susan was born here. After more than a decade without the family we hoped and prayed for, we were holding her in our arms.

Rosemary sighed. To her dismay, Susan, their only child, was a Californian to her fingertips. She’d scoff at the idea of relocating anywhere. Rosemary tried to wrest her mind away from the troublesome thought that last year Susan had chosen to go to UCLA, a great college but a full five-hour drive away. She had been accepted closer to home at Stanford University. Instead she had rushed to enroll at UCLA, probably because her no-good boyfriend, Keith Ratner, was already a student there. Dear God, Rosemary thought, don’t let her end up eloping with him.

The last time she looked at the clock, it was three thirty, and her last impression before falling asleep was once again an overwhelming fear that today something was going to go desperately wrong.

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The Cinderella Murder 3.9 out of 5 based on 8 ratings. 72 reviews.
lilacqueen75 More than 1 year ago
I love a good mystery that keeps me guessing and I was guessing right up until the end with this one. Mary Higgins Clark is a go-to for me. I've been reading her books for around 25 years and I really do enjoy them. I enjoyed this one because her last book was about a murder mystery that Laurie was trying to solve with her tv program, Under Suspicion. This story was about another episode that Laurie was going to produce, so the reader sees some of the same familiar characters in a new setting. Laurie is really smart and really self-reliant. I love how protective her lawyer friend, Alex, and her father, Leo, are of her. I also love seeing how far she's come since her own tragic past. She's moving on and healing. She's determined to help solve a 20 year old case about a talented young college girl who is murdered. She really wants to help put this girl's mother at peace. There are so many suspects, with more popping up at every turn. I really enjoyed the way it all unfolded. As usual, a great mystery with great characters. It looks like this might be part of a new little series, which I think is wonderful! Content: I've noticed MHC's other books usually have some swearing, but this one had no language; mention of child abuse, not graphic at all; murders and violence that are very mild; mild romance. Clean.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great opener for a series of novels. Interesting concept, excellent writing, and believable characters made this one a winner. These two authors are wonderful solo writers, but I think they are even better as a team. I will be reading the next one as soon as it comes out. Great job, ladies! Stephanie Clanahan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of Mary Higgins Clark for many years, but The Cinderella Murder was quite disappointing. The characters seemed shallow, especially the main character who seemed willing to do anything to show she was smarter than the police just so she could get her story.
ehow68 More than 1 year ago
I've followed Mary Higgins Clark from her first book. I think the Cinderella Murder does not meet her previous standard of writing. Definitely not an interesting read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the storyline & i hope they write additional stories & continue making this an ongoing series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the start of a new series based on the book, I'v Got You Under My Skin. In that book Laurie Moran's husband's murder was solved. Within the first 20 pages of Cinderella Murders, it states that it is unsolved. In orrder for a series to work, continuity must be maintained by the authors and their editors.
Balmod More than 1 year ago
I always like her books, but it seems that she's happened upon a series. This is the second book with the same core cast of characters; the TV producer, her father, (a retired cop), her son and a budding love interest! As a producer she creates shows where she tries to solve older unsolved mysteries. The mystery is good and the "guest" characters are interesting! I'm throughly enjoying this new concept and I can't wait for the next one! Like her other books, it's a fast and satisfying read.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
I loved this story.  It was nice to have some old characters back.  This kept me wondering who could have murdered this poor girl so long ago.  I had a hard time putting this book down.  I can't wait for more.
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Not disappointed
Anonymous 5 months ago
Didn't realize who did it intil the last chapters
Anonymous 6 months ago
tedfeit0 12 months ago
The premise of this novel is based on a television program, “Under Suspicion,” investigating an unsolved murder, interviewing and cross-examining the various participants and witnesses, hopefully uncovering new information and possibly even identifying the murderer. The same characters that appeared in a previous book, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” inhabit the present one. The cold case under review involves the 20-year-old unsolved murder of Susan Dempsey, a UCLA co-ed and aspiring actress. The title is derived from the fact that the murder victim lost a shoe while fleeing the perpetrator in Laurel Canyon Park. The story progresses mechanically, and the characters seem somewhat stilted. The novel lists two authors, Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke, but the latter’s contribution seems problematical since the writing certainly reads, to this reviewer, more like Ms. Clark’s style. I’m guessing that in all probability, Ms. Burke, a law professor, provided the expertise for the legal aspects in the story, the questioning of the “suspects,” and the like. “The Cinderella Murder” is a light read, certainly entertaining and professionally written. Definitely recommended for a summer beach read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I read it continually for two days and was disappointed when it came to an end! I just wanted to keep reading and getting the details of the characters' lives. I love Mary higgins Clark and this book was exceptional. There were many twists and turns in the book. However, I wish I wouldn't have figured out the killer so easily and once I knew who it was, other parts of the story seemed to be irrelevant.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mmldaj More than 1 year ago
This was a great read. Mary Higgins Clark is an excellent writer. Can't wait for the next book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a page turner. The cast of characters are well balanced. I love the fact that it took me until the end to figure it out. 20 years ago a smart and beautiful college student was found murdered. The main suspects are on the Hollywood screens. Then enters more characters and then some of the cast face death. The way the book brings all scenarios together is remarkable. Buy the book and embark on a great mystery
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You didn't murder him. He was my slave master. He killed my family. It would be murder if he never did anything wrong and didn't want to be killed.