The Lost Years

( 157 )

Overview

Now in mass market, the latest suspense from #1 New York Times bestselling author and Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark, where a biblical scholar is found murdered shortly after discovering the most revered and holy document in human history, which has now gone missing...

Dr. Jonathan Lyons, a seventy-year-old biblical scholar, believes he has found the rarest of parchments—a letter that may have been written by Jesus Christ. Stolen from the...

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The Lost Years

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Overview

Now in mass market, the latest suspense from #1 New York Times bestselling author and Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark, where a biblical scholar is found murdered shortly after discovering the most revered and holy document in human history, which has now gone missing...

Dr. Jonathan Lyons, a seventy-year-old biblical scholar, believes he has found the rarest of parchments—a letter that may have been written by Jesus Christ. Stolen from the Vatican library in the fifteenth century, it was assumed to be lost forever.

Under the promise of secrecy, Jonathan attempts to confirm his findings with several other biblical experts. But on the eve before his own murder, he confides to Father Aiden O’Brien, a family friend, that one of those whom he trusted most is determined to keep it from being returned to the Vatican.

The next evening Jonathan Lyons is found shot to death in his New Jersey home. His daughter, twenty-seven year old Mariah, finds her father’s body sprawled over his desk in his study, a fatal bullet wound in the back of his neck, and her mother, Kathleen, an Alzheimer’s victim, hiding in the study closet, incoherent and clutching the murder weapon. The police suspect that Kathleen, who in her lucid moments knows that Jonathan was involved with a much younger woman Lily Stewart, has committed the murder.

But Mariah believes that the key to her father’s death is tied to another question: Where is the missing parchment? Whom, among his close circle of friends, might he have consulted? And did one of them kill to keep possession of the letter?

What Mariah doesn’t know is that there was an eyewitness to the murder, someone whose unwise attempt to blackmail the killer begins a new circle of death, with Mariah as the ultimate target of one person’s obsession with a priceless historical treasure.

With all the elements that have made her a worldwide bestseller, Mary Higgins Clark’s The Lost Years is at once a breathless murder mystery and a hunt for what may be the most precious religious and archeological treasure of all time.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Is Mary Higgins Clark channeling Dan Brown? By any standard, this tale by the Queen of Suspense taps our fascination with the explosive power of recently rediscovered ancient texts and dark conspiracies. Protagonist Mariah Lyons' introduction to these engulfing mysteries is a letter written by Dr. Richard Callahan, her now deceased biblical scholar father. It contains a translation from a 2,000-year-old papyrus that appears to be a letter from Jesus himself. This monumental discovery leads to other, more personal revelations: Was her father murdered for this invaluable document? Is her own life in danger because of what she now knows? One of Clark's best mysteries in years; now in mass-market paperback and NOOK Book.

Publishers Weekly
In Clark's tedious new mystery-thriller (after I'll Walk Alone), Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons discovers a lost manuscript believed to be the only letter written by Jesus Christ. He tries to verify its authenticity with several fellow experts, but is soon found murdered in his study. When the police arrive, they find Jonathan's wife, Kathleen, clutching the murder weapon. Though she suffers from dementia, Kathleen knew of Jonathan's affair with a woman 20 years his junior, Lily. Armed with a motive and damning evidence, the police arrest Kathleen, but authorities soon realize Lily and the manuscript are missing. Jonathan and Kathleen's 28-year-old daughter, Mariah, must now take it upon herself to find her father's real killer and exonerate her confused mother. Though the set-up is intriguing, the mystery falls flat under the weight of dull characters, myriad red herrings, and an excess of unnecessary subplots. Those looking for a fun religious thriller would do better to reread The DaVinci Code. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
Tempers discreetly fray and corpses mount around a parchment that just might be the only surviving letter from Jesus Christ. Even though she has a serious case of Alzheimer's, the Bergen County police are certain that Kathleen Lyons is the person who shot her beloved husband Jonathan, a retired professor, in their home in Mahwah, N.J. After all, she was clearly in the house with him at the time; there was no sign of forced entry; her fingerprints were on the murder weapon; and she had a beaut of a motive, ever since her discovery that Jonathan hadn't waited till she was institutionalized and beyond knowing or caring to divorce her and take up with Prof. Lillian Stewart, the colleague he'd come to love. Unbeknownst to Detectives Simon Benet and Rita Rodriguez, there are at least two other motives for killing Jonathan. He'd just sent Lily on her way with regretful firmness, and he'd hinted around that he was holding a letter from Jesus to Joseph of Arimathea stolen from the Vatican Library years ago. So the suspects include not only the newly spurned Lily but the four amateur archeologists who'd joined Jonathan's last excavations and heard about the letter: biblical scholar Prof. Richard Callahan, irascible Prof. Charles Michaelson, quiet Prof. Albert West and computer-software millionaire Greg Pearson. It's up to Jonathan's old friends Alvirah and Willy Meehan (I'll Walk Alone, 2011, etc.) to help out the Bergen County force before one of this nondescript crew can swoop down on Jonathan's daughter Mariah, a financial officer who's this season's designated victim. Not much nourishment here for fans of The Da Vinci Code, but nothing to trouble Clark's gargantuan fan base either, as long as they don't mind all those felonies, all those criminals and all those coyly conspiratorial phone calls with Mr. Anonymous at the other end.
From the Publisher
Praise for Mary Higgins Clark's The Lost Years:

“Once again Mary Higgins Clark affirms why she is the ‘Queen of Suspense’… Ms. Clark has another winner for her readers to enjoy getting us there with this entertaining taut tale in which the suspense spins from family violence to biblical archeological violence.” —Mystery Gazette

“At once a breathless murder mystery and a hunt for what may be the most precious religious and archeological treasure of all time.” —BookReporter.com

"Clark, known rightly as the queen of suspense, performs her usual magic…An intriguing blend of religious history and contemporary mystery, “The Lost Years” confirms Clark’s status as a writer who is willing and able to bend her formula – and to do so successfully—to address topics not often found in the genre.” —Richmond Times Dispatch

“If you’re someone who enjoys sharing novels with others, though, beware: lend this book and you may never get it back. That’s because, for mystery fans, ‘The Lost Years’ is truly a keeper.” —Pittsburgh Tribune

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451668865
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 4/3/2012
  • Pages: 292
  • Sales rank: 418,767
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (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

1

Today is the day of my father’s funeral. He was murdered.

That was the first thought twenty-eight-year-old Mariah Lyons had as she awoke from a fitful sleep in the home where she had been raised in Mahwah, a town bordering the Ramapo Mountains in northern New Jersey. Brushing back the tears that were welling in her eyes, she sat up slowly, slid her feet onto the floor, and looked around her room.

When she was sixteen, she had been allowed to redecorate it as a birthday present and had chosen to have the walls painted red. For the coverlet and pillows and valances she had decided on a cheery red-and-white flowered pattern. The big, comfortable chair in the corner was where she always did her homework, instead of at the desk. Her eyes fell upon the shelf that her father had built over the dresser to hold her trophies from her high school soccer and basketball championship teams. He was so proud of me, she thought sadly. He wanted to redecorate again when I finished college, but I never wanted it changed. I don’t care if it still has the look of a teenager’s room.

She tried to remind herself that until now she had been one of those fortunate people whose only experience with death in the family had been when she was fifteen and her eighty-six-year-old grandmother had passed away in her sleep. I really loved Gran, but I was so grateful that she had been spared a lot of indignity, she thought. Her strength was failing and she hated to be dependent on anyone.

Mariah stood up, reached for the robe at the foot of the bed, and slipped into it, tying the sash around her slender waist. But this is different, she thought. My father did not die a natural death. He was shot while he was reading at his desk in his study downstairs. Her mouth went dry as she asked herself again the same questions she had been asking over and over. Was Mom in the room when it happened? Or did she come in after she heard the sound of the shot? And is there any chance that Mom was the one who did it? Please, God, don’t let it turn out to be that way.

She walked over to the vanity and looked into the mirror. I look so pale, she thought as she brushed back her shoulder-length black hair. Her eyes were swollen from all the tears of the last few days. An incongruous thought went through her mind: I’m glad I have Daddy’s dark blue eyes. I’m glad I’m tall like him. It sure helped when I was playing basketball.

“I can’t believe he is gone,” she whispered, recalling his seventieth birthday party only three weeks earlier. The events of the past four days replayed in her mind. On Monday evening she had stayed at her office to work out an investment plan for a new client. When she got home to her Greenwich Village apartment at eight o’clock, she had made her usual evening call to her father. Daddy sounded very down, she remembered. He told me that Mom had had a terrible day, that it was clear the Alzheimer’s was getting worse. Something made me phone back at ten thirty. I was worried about both of them.

When Daddy didn’t answer, I knew that something was wrong. Mariah thought back to that seemingly endless drive from Greenwich Village as she had rushed to New Jersey that night. I called them again and again on the way over, she thought. She remembered how she had turned into the driveway at eleven twenty, fumbling for her house key in the dark as she ran from the car. All the downstairs lights were still on in the house, and once she was inside, she went straight to the study.

The horror of what she had found replayed in her mind as it had been doing incessantly. Her father was slumped across his desk, his head and shoulders bloodied. Her mother, soaked in blood, was cowering in the closet near the desk, clutching her father’s pistol.

Mom saw me and started moaning, “So much noise… so much blood… ”

I was frantic, Mariah remembered. When I called 911, all I could scream was “My father is dead! My father has been shot!”

The police arrived in minutes. I’ll never forget how they looked at Mom and me. I had hugged Daddy, so I had blood all over me too. I overheard one of the cops say that by touching Daddy I had contaminated the crime scene.

Mariah realized she had been staring unseeingly into the mirror. Glancing down at the clock on the vanity she saw that it was already seven thirty. I have to get ready, she thought. We should be at the funeral parlor by nine. I hope Rory is getting Mom ready by now. Rory Steiger, a stocky sixty-two-year-old woman, had been her mother’s caregiver for the past two years.

Twenty minutes later, showered and her hair blown dry, Mariah came back into the bedroom, opened the door of the closet, and took out the black-and-white jacket and black skirt she had chosen to wear to the funeral. People used to be draped in black when there was a death in the family, she thought. I remember seeing pictures of Jackie Kennedy in a long mourning veil. Oh God, why did this have to happen?

When she was finished dressing, she walked over to the window. She had left it open when she had gone to bed and the breeze was making the curtains ripple on the sill. She stood for a moment looking out over the backyard, which was shaded by the Japanese maple trees her father had planted years ago. The begonias and impatiens he had planted in the spring ringed the patio. The sun made the Ramapo Mountains in the distance shimmer with tones of green and gold. It was a perfect late August day.

I don’t want it to be a beautiful day, Mariah thought. It’s as if nothing terrible has happened. But it has happened. Daddy was murdered. I want it to be rainy and cold and wet. I want the rain to weep on his casket. I want the heavens to weep for him.

He is gone forever.

Guilt and sadness enveloped her. That gentle college professor who was so glad to retire three years ago and spend most of his time studying ancient manuscripts had been violently murdered. I loved him dearly, but it’s so awful that for the last year and a half our relationship has been strained, all because of his affair with Lillian Stewart, the professor he met from Columbia University, whose very existence had changed all of our lives.

Mariah remembered her dismay when she came home a year and a half ago to find her mother holding pictures she had found of Lillian and her father with their arms around each other. I was so angry when I realized that this had probably been going on while Lily was with him on his archaeological digs to Egypt or Greece or Israel or God knows where, for the past five years. I was so furious that he actually had her in the house when we had his other friends, like Richard, Charles, Albert, and Greg, over for dinner.

I despise that woman, Mariah told herself.

The fact that my father was twenty years her senior apparently did not bother Lily, Mariah thought grimly. I’ve tried to be fair and understand.

Mom has been drifting away for years, and I know it was so tough on Dad to see her deteriorate. But she still has her somewhat good days. She still talks about those pictures so often. She was so hurt knowing that Dad had someone else in his life.

I don’t want to be thinking like this, Mariah said to herself as she turned away from the window. I want my father to be alive. I want to tell him how sorry I am that I asked him only last week if Lily of the Nile Valley had been a good traveling companion on their latest jaunt to Greece.

Turning away from the window, she walked over to the desk and studied a picture of her mother and father taken ten years ago. I remember how loving they used to be with each other, Mariah thought. They were married when they were in graduate school.

I didn’t make my appearance for fifteen years.

She smiled faintly as she remembered her mother telling her that as long as they had had to wait, God had given them the perfect child. Actually, Mom was being more than generous, she thought. Both of them were so strikingly handsome. And elegant. And charming. Growing up I certainly was no head-turner. A mop of long, straight black hair, so skinny that l looked undernourished, beanpole tall, and teeth that I grew into but were too big for my face when they first arrived. But I was lucky enough to end up being a decent composite of both of them.

Dad, Daddy, please don’t be dead. Be at the breakfast table when I get there. Have your coffee cup in hand, and be reading the Times or the Wall Street Journal. I’ll grab the Post and turn to “Page Six,” and you’ll look over your glasses and give me that look that means a mind is a dreadful thing to waste.

I don’t want to eat anything, I’ll just have coffee, Mariah decided as she opened the door of the bedroom and walked down the hall to the staircase. She paused on the top step but didn’t hear any sound from the connecting bedrooms where her mother and Rory slept. I hope that means they’re downstairs, she thought.

There was no sign of them in the breakfast room. She went into the kitchen. Betty Pierce, the housekeeper, was there. “Mariah, your mother wouldn’t eat anything. She wanted to go into the study. I don’t think you’ll like what she’s wearing but she’s pretty insistent. It’s that blue and green linen suit you bought her for Mother’s Day.”

Mariah considered protesting but then asked herself, What in the name of God is the difference? She took the coffee that Betty poured for her and carried it into the study. Rory was standing there looking distressed. At Mariah’s unasked question she jerked her head toward the closet door. “She won’t let me leave the door open,” she said. “She won’t let me stay in there with her.”

Mariah tapped on the closet door and opened it slowly while murmuring her mother’s name. Oddly sometimes her mother answered to it more easily than when Mariah called her “Mom.” “Kathleen,” she said softly. “Kathleen, it’s time to have a cup of tea and a cinnamon bun.”

The closet was large, with shelves on either side. Kathleen Lyons was sitting on the floor at the far end of it. Her arms were wrapped protectively around her body and her head was pressed against her chest as though she was bracing for a blow. Her eyes were shut tight and her silver hair was falling forward, covering most of her face. Mariah knelt down and embraced her, rocking her as if she was a child.

“So much noise… so much blood,” her mother whispered, the same words she had been repeating since the murder. But then she did let Mariah help her up and smooth back the short, wavy hair from her pretty face. Again Mariah was reminded that her mother had been only a few months younger than her father and would not look her age if it weren’t for the fearful way she moved, as though at any minute she could step into an abyss.

As Mariah led her mother out of the study she did not see the baleful expression on the face of Rory Steiger or the secret smile she permitted herself.

Now I won’t be stuck with her much longer, Rory thought.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 157 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(57)

4 Star

(34)

3 Star

(37)

2 Star

(15)

1 Star

(14)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 157 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 17, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    This is one of her best. I had backed off some of her more recen

    This is one of her best. I had backed off some of her more recent books because I thought they were getting a little predictable, but the historical and religious themes in this one interested me. I was not disappointed. This has everything a mystery should have, intrigue, suspense and a good story. Very enjoyable read.

    13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 6, 2012

    Would not get to the point

    Had some very intresting twista, but had so many details that it would take too long o get to the point

    11 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 1, 2012

    Not really

    This book lacks the good stuff

    9 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Dead Letter

    A good idea wrapped in a lot of superfluous schmaltz sums up this latest effort by Mary Higgins Clark. The plot involves the discovery by a Biblical scholar, Dr. Jonathan Lyons, of the only letter supposedly ever written by Jesus, and Lyons’ subsequent murder, presumably as a result. The mystery, of course, is which of his various friends and co-workers wants the manuscript to sell on the black market instead of it being returned to the Vatican library from which it was removed in the 1400’s.

    Instead of a straight police procedural, the story becomes bogged down in several side issues: Dr. Lyons’ daughter’s guilt over her alienation from her father over the issue of his mistress and her own “love life;” a couple of characters, Alvirah and Willy, who outwit the police and the perpetrator; and Lyons’ wife’s dementia, among other things.

    The author can still write smoothly, but the novel smacks of a manufactured outline, rather than a carefully developed plot, with each step carefully constructed to fit. It is unfortunate because the idea for the story is excellent, and if the characters were more deeply drawn, and the irrelevancies omitted, the novel could have been more intriguing.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome! Worth the money

    Awesome! Worth the money

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2012

    Disappointing

    I love this author amd was so looking forward to this book. Sadly I was very disappointed. Too many similar characters, boring book-- had to force myself to finish this. Hope her next one is better.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

    Just started

    I have just started reading and dont want to put it down! Another great mystery by MHC. She is my favorite author. I love all her stories and this one is no exception! It is worth the time and money. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars!!!!!

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    Waste of time

    Have neve read Mary Higgins Clark and after this book? Will not make it a habit. It is extremely simplistic and juvenile writing. A mystery for the elementary crowd? I was shocked at how little suspense, drama, twists etc their were. This is NOT a page turner! Don't waste your time on this one.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2012

    I thought this book would be about a parchment, which it was, bu

    I thought this book would be about a parchment, which it was, but to me placed as an "after-thought". Save your money on this one. The book was more about the subjects mother having dementia, stolen jewelry, to many characters. After reading the first 3-chapters I put the book down and have donated it to a book-reading club.

    4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2012

    This author is a favorite of mine and invariably turns out great

    This author is a favorite of mine and invariably turns out great mystery stories. I'm sure this book will not be a disappointment. I look forward to reading it.

    4 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2012

    OK

    Typical MHC, so you get what you should expect...if you are looking for historical or controversial religious content (i.e. a Dan Brown style) then you will be disappointed. A lot of characters with similar background info...so a little hard to keep track of "who might have done it" leading up to the end. One of the blander ones I have read, and I consider myself a fan (pre ordered this with high hopes almost 2 months early).

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    Loved it

    I had a feeling that the killer was the person in the end.i don't want to spoil it for the people who read the reviews.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2013

    Unique storyline

    Mary Higgins Clark is one of my favorite authors, and this book does not disappoint. She always keeps you guessing at "whodunnit".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2012

    Mapleleaf

    Yeah.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    Horrible

    I have read hundreds of mystery books and this is by far the worst one. I have tried numerous times to go back and read this but I just can't. It is so slow and corny and above all BORING!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2012

    Ninemile

    Predictable and boring.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2012

    Great premis but it's just another murder mystery.

    Great premis but it's just another murder mystery.

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Mary Higgins Clark's The Lost Years is thought provoking, and in

    Mary Higgins Clark's The Lost Years is thought provoking, and in my opinion, quite unlike anything else she has written. Dr. Jonathan Lyons, a Biblical scholar, thinks he has found the only letter Jesus Christ ever wrote while He lived on this earth - a letter written to Joseph of Arimethea. Since the Bible is silent about Jesus' life from age 12 (after He was found in the Temple by his mother and Joseph) to 30, I thought this premise was great. And even though Mariah was upset with her father for having an affair, she is determined to see that his murderer is brought to justice. I figured out who the culprit before I normally do with Mary's books, but hey, this was still an enjoyable read. I will recommend this book to anyone who asks me.

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

    Posted May 4, 2014

    Lacks the excitement of old Higgins Clark.

    Lacks the excitement of old Higgins Clark.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2014

    Great read! Clark scores a hit again.

    Don't pass this one up. Another winner!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 157 Customer Reviews

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