We'll Meet Again

( 77 )

Overview

“The mistress of high tension” (The New Yorker) and undisputed Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark brings us another New York Times bestselling novel that she “prepares so carefully and executes with such relish” (The New York Times Book Review) about the murder of a respected doctor—and his beautiful young wife charged with the crime.

Dr. Gary Lasch, famous Greenwich, Connecticut doctor and founder of the HMO Remington Health Management, is found dead in his home, his skull ...

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Overview

“The mistress of high tension” (The New Yorker) and undisputed Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark brings us another New York Times bestselling novel that she “prepares so carefully and executes with such relish” (The New York Times Book Review) about the murder of a respected doctor—and his beautiful young wife charged with the crime.

Dr. Gary Lasch, famous Greenwich, Connecticut doctor and founder of the HMO Remington Health Management, is found dead in his home, his skull crushed by a blow with a heavy bronze sculpture, and his wife, Molly, in bed covered with his blood. It was the Lasches’ housekeeper, Edna Barry, who made the grisly discovery the morning after Molly’s unexpectedly early return from Cape Cod, where she had gone to seclude herself upon learning of her husband’s infidelity. As the evidence against Molly grows, her lawyer plea-bargains a manslaughter charge to avoid a murder conviction.

Released from prison nearly six years later, Molly reasserts her innocence to reporters, among them an old school friend, Fran Simmons, an investigative reporter and anchor for a true-crime show. Molly convinces Fran to research and produce a program on her husband’s death. As hidden aspects of Gary Lasch’s life and the affairs of Remington Health Management come to light, is Fran herself the next target for murder?

The Queen of Suspense, Mary Higgins Clark, brings chills to springtime with We'll Meet Again , her newest blockbuster. In this surefire bestseller, murder comes between friends and terror stalks the innocent. When a convicted murderer is set free, it's time to settle old scores. You don't want to miss this dark, suspenseful tale from one of America's most beloved storytellers. We've got an excerpt from We'll Meet Again that is sure to hook you.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Booklist Clark is a master of suspense and an excellent storyteller. We'll Meet Again is first-rate entertainment.

The Daily Sun (Perry, GA) Mary Higgins Clark is one of those rare novelists whose books get better with each passing year. She is already one of the most beloved mystery writers of our generation and as such could coast along turning out pale imitations of her past hits. But not our Mary; she has to keep being more inventive and more entertaining with each new story she creates. Her latest is We'll Meet Again and it is one of her best....Find a comfortable chair and dive in. You owe yourself this pleasure.

Roanoke Times (VA) We'll Meet Again speeds along at an enjoyable breakneck pace....

The Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN) Another page-turner....

Arvada Community News (Denver) This is Mary Higgins Clark at her finest and her millions of fans will love it.

The Florida Times-Union A fast, fun read....You'll be reading late into the night as you have with previous Mary Higgins Clark bestsellers.

Abilene Reporter-News (TX) When it comes to suspense, there's no writer today more capable of keeping the reader completely absorbed than Mary Higgins Clark. She does it again in We'll Meet Again.

The Indianapolis Star Clark is a longtime master of suspense....As with all Mary Higgins Clark books, the action is fast-paced, starting with the first page....An engaging plot...filled with the ingredients Clark's fans have come to love.

New York Times Book Review
[Molly] suffers with becoming grace and dignity for the victim of the diabolical plot that Clark prepares so carefully.
Kay Black
Good, strong, believable characters, the horrors of medical help and HMO's and hints of romance plus murder make for a good psychological murder mystery. We'll Meet Again is a winner! It is a page-turner that you won't want to put down.
Mystery Reader.com
NY Times Book Review
[A] diabolical plot that Mary Higgins Clark prepares so carefully and executes with such relish.
NY Times Book Review
Molly suffers with becoming grace and dignity for the victim of the diabolical plot that Clark prepares so carefully.
Library Journal
Molly Lasch, a Greenwich, CT, socialite, has just been released on parole from prison. She had been convicted of the murder of her husband, Dr. George Lasch, a prominent physician and hospital administrator. With no clear memory of having committed the crime, Molly sets out to determine what actually happened. To establish her guilt or innocence in her own mind, she enlists the support of her former schoolmate and investigative television reporter Fran Simmons. The two women uncover medical improprieties and attempted coverups that may lead to alternate suspects. As the mystery unfolds, Molly gradually recalls the details of the crime. A cast of characters is introduced, most of whom had as strong a motive for killing Dr. Lasch as did Molly. Jan Maxwell's reading sustains a proper level of suspense as the plot takes unexpected turns, effectively portraying the troubled demeanor of Molly. A good selection from the mystery and suspense genre.--Catherine Swenson, Norwich Univ. Lib., Northfield, VT Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
NY Times Book Review
[Molly] suffers with becoming grace and dignity for the victim of the diabolical plot that Clark prepares so carefully.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671004569
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 4/1/2000
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 209,565
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.00 (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

Chapter One

Gus Brandt, executive producer for the NAF Cable Network, looked up from his desk at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan. Fran Simmons, whom he'd recently hired as an investigative reporter for the six o'clock news hour and for regular assignments to his hot new True Crime program, had just entered his office.

"The word's in," he said excitedly. "Molly Carpenter Lasch is being paroled from prison. She gets out next week."

"She did get parole!" Fran exclaimed. "I'm so glad."

"I wasn't sure you'd remember the case. You were living in California six years ago. Do you know much about it?"

"Everything, actually. Don't forget, I went to Cranden Academy in Greenwich, with Molly. I had the local papers sent to me throughout the trial."

"You went to school with her? That's great. I want to schedule a full background story on her for the series as soon as possible."

"Sure. But Gus, don't think I have an inside track with Molly," Fran warned. "I haven't laid eyes on her since the summer we graduated, and that was fourteen years ago. At the same time I began U. Cal, my mother moved to Santa Barbara, and I lost touch with just about everybody in Greenwich."

There'd actually been many reasons for both her and her mother relocating to California, leaving Connecticut as far behind as memory would allow. On the day of Fran's graduation from the academy, her father had taken her and her mother out for a festive dinner of celebration. At the end of the meal he had toasted Fran's future at his alma mater, kissed both of them, and then, saying that he'd left his wallet in the car, he had gone out to the parking lot and shot himself. In the next few days the reason for his suicide became apparent. An investigation quickly determined that he'd embezzled $400,000 from the Greenwich Library Building Fund drive he'd volunteered to chair.

Gus Brandt knew that story already, of course. He'd brought it up when he came to Los Angeles to offer her the job at NAF-TV. "Look, that's in the past. You don't need to hide away out here in California, and besides, coming with us is the right career move for you," he'd said. "Everyone who makes it in this business has to move around. Our six o'clock news hour is beating the local network stations, and the True Crime program is in the top ten in the ratings. Besides, admit it: you've missed New York."

Fran almost had expected him to quote the old chestnut that outside New York it's all Bridgeport, but he hadn't gone that far. With thinning gray hair and sloping shoulders, Gus looked every second of his fifty-five years, and his countenance carried permanently the expression of someone who had just missed the last bus on a snowy night.

The look was deceptive, however, and Fran knew it. In fact, he had a razor-sharp mind, a proven track record for creating new shows, and a competitive streak second to none in the industry. With hardly a second thought, she'd taken the job. Working for Gus meant being on the fast track.

"You never saw or heard from Molly after you graduated?" he asked.

"Nope. I wrote her at the time of the trial, offering my sympathy and support, and got a form letter from her lawyer saying that while she appreciated my concern, she would not be corresponding with anyone. That was over five and a half years ago."

"What was she like? When she was young, I mean."

Fran tucked a strand of light brown hair behind her ear, an unconscious gesture that was an indication she was concentrating. An image flashed through her mind, and for an instant she could see Molly as she'd been at age sixteen, at Cranden Academy. "Molly was always special," she said after a moment. "You've seen her pictures. She was always a beauty. Even when the rest of us were still gawky adolescents, she was already turning heads. She had the most incredible blue eyes, almost iridescent, plus a complexion models would kill for and shimmering blond hair. But what really impressed me was that she was always so composed. I remember thinking if she met the pope and the queen of England at the same party, she'd know how to address them and in what order. And yet, the funny part was that I always suspected that, inside, she was shy. Despite her remarkable composure, there was something tentative about her. Kind of like a beautiful bird perched at the end of a branch, poised but ready at any second to take flight."

She'd glide across the room, Fran thought, remembering seeing her once in an elegant gown. She looked even taller than five eight because she had such gorgeous carriage.

"How friendly were you two?" Gus queried.

"Oh, I wasn't really in her orbit. Molly was part of the moneyed country club set. I was a good athlete and concentrated on sports more than on social activities. I can assure you my phone was never ringing off the hook on Friday night."

"As my mother would have put it, you grew up nice," Gus said dryly.

I was never at ease at the academy, Fran thought. There are plenty of middle-class families in Greenwich, but middle class wasn't good enough for Dad. He was always trying to ingratiate himself with wealthy people. He wanted me to be friends with the girls who came from money or who had family connections.

"Apart from her appearance, what was Molly like?"

"She was very sweet," Fran said. "When my father died and the news came out about what he had done — the embezzling and the suicide and everything — I was avoiding everyone. Molly knew I jogged every day, and early one morning she was waiting for me. She said she just wanted to keep me company for a while. Since her father had been one of the biggest donors to the library fund, you can imagine what her show of friendship meant to me."

"You had no reason to be ashamed because of what your father did," Gus snapped.

Fran's tone became crisp. "I wasn't ashamed of him. I was just so sorry for him — and angry too, I guess. Why did he think that my mother and I needed things? After he died, we realized how frantic he must have been in the days just before, because they were about to audit the library fund's books, and he knew he'd be found out." She paused, then added softly, "He was wrong to have done all that, of course. Wrong to have taken the money and wrong to think we needed it. He was weak also. I realize now he was terribly insecure. But at the same time, he was an awfully nice guy."

"So was Dr. Gary Lasch. He was a good administrator too. Lasch Hospital has a top-drawer reputation, and Remington Health Management isn't like so many of the cockamamie HMOs that are going bankrupt and leaving patients and doctors high and dry." Gus smiled briefly. "You knew Molly and you went to school with her, so that gives you some insight. Do you think she did it?"

"There's no question that she did it," Fran said promptly. "The evidence against her was overwhelming, and I've covered enough murder trials to understand that very unlikely people ruin their lives by losing control for that one split second. Still, unless Molly changed dramatically after the time I knew her, she'd be the last person in the world I would have said was likely to kill someone. But for that very reason, I can understand why she might have blocked it out."

"That's why this case is great for the program," Gus said. "Get on it. When Molly Lasch gets out of Niantic Prison next week, I want you to be part of the reception committee welcoming her."

Copyright © 1999 by Mary Higgins Clark

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First Chapter

Prologue

The State of Connecticut will prove that Molly Carpenter Lasch, with the intent to cause the death of her husband, Dr. Gary Lasch, did in fact cause his death; that as he sat at his desk, his back to her, she shattered his skull with a heavy bronze sculpture; that she then left him to bleed to death as she went upstairs to their bedroom and fell asleep....

The reporters seated behind the defendant scribbled furiously, roughing out the articles they would have to file in just a couple of hours if they were to meet their deadlines. The veteran columnist from Women's News Weekly began inking her usual gushing prose: "The trial of Molly Carpenter Lasch, charged with the murder of her husband, Gary, opened this morning in the mellow dignity of the courtroom in historic Stamford, Connecticut."

Media from all over the country were covering the trial. The New York Post reporter was jotting down a description of Molly's appearance, noting in particular how she had dressed for her first day in court. What a knockout, he thought, a remarkable blend of classy and gorgeous. It was not a combination that he often saw — especially at the defense table. He noticed how she sat, tall, almost regal. No doubt some would say "defiant." He knew she was twenty-six. He could see that she was slender. Had collar-length, dark blond hair. That she wore a blue suit and small gold earrings. He craned his neck until he could see that she was still wearing her wedding band. He made note of it.

As he watched, Molly Lasch turned and looked around the courtroom as though searching for familiar faces. For a moment their eyes met, and he noted that hers were blue;, they can't hurt me. She was aware of the eyes on her, curious and judgmental. Some of the people she had known best and longest had come up to her in the corridor, kissing her cheek, squeezing her hand. Jenna Whitehall, her best friend since their high school years at Cranden Academy, was one of them. Jenna was a corporate lawyer now. Her husband, Cal, was chairman of the board of Lasch Hospital and of the HMO Gary had founded with Dr. Peter Black.

They've both been wonderful, Molly thought. Needing to get away from everything, she had sometimes stayed with Jen in New York during the past months, and it had helped tremendously. Jenna and Cal still lived in Greenwich, but during the week, Jenna frequently overnighted at a Manhattan apartment they kept near U.N. Plaza.

Molly had seen Peter Black in the corridor as well. Dr. Peter Black — he always had been so pleasant to her, but like Gary's mother, he ignored her now. The friendship between him and Gary dated from their days in medical school. Molly wondered if Peter would be able to fill Gary's shoes as head of the hospital and the HMO. Shortly after Gary's death, he'd been elected by the board to take over as chief executive officer, with Cal Whitehall as chairman.

She sat numbly as the trial actually began. The prosecutor began calling witnesses. As they came and went, they seemed to Molly to be just blurred faces and voices. Then Edna Barry, the plump sixty-year-old woman who had been their part-time housekeeper, was on the stand. "I came in at eight o'clock on Monday morning, as usual," she stated.

"Monday morning, April 9th?"

"Yes."

"How long had you been working for Gary and Molly Lasch?"

"Four years. But I'd worked for Molly' s mother from the time Molly was a little girl. She was always so gentle."

Molly caught the sympathetic look Mrs. Barry cast toward her. She doesn't want to hurt me, she thought, but she's going to tell how she found me, and she knows how it will sound.

"I was surprised because the lights were on inside the house," Mrs. Barry was saying. "Molly's suitcase was in the foyer, so I knew she was back from the Cape."

"Mrs. Barry, please describe the layout of the first floor of the house."

"The foyer is large — it's really more of a reception area. When they had large parties they would serve cocktails there before dinner. The living room is directly beyond the foyer and faces the front door. The dining room is to the left, down a wide hallway and past a service bar. The kitchen and family room are in that wing as well, while the library and Dr. Lasch's study are in the wing to the right of the entrance."

I got home early, Molly thought. There hadn't been much traffic on I-95, and I was earlier than I'd expected to be. I only had one bag with me, and I brought it in and put it down. Then I locked the door and called Gary's name. I went directly to the study to look for him.

"I went into the kitchen," Mrs. Barry told the prosecutor. "There were wine glasses and a tray of leftover cheese and crackers on the counter."

"Was there anything unusual about that?"

"Yes. Molly always tidied up when they had company."

"What about Dr. Lasch?" the prosecutor asked. Edna Barry smiled indulgently. "Well, you know men. He wasn't much for picking up after himself." She paused and frowned. "But that was when I knew something was wrong. I thought that Molly must have come and gone."

"Why would she have done that?"

Molly saw the hesitance in Mrs. Barry's face as once again she looked over at her. Mother was always a little annoyed that Mrs. Barry called me Molly and I called her Mrs. Barry. But I didn't care, she thought. She's known me since I was a child.

"Molly hadn't been home when I went in on Friday. The Monday before that, while I was there, she'd left for the Cape. She seemed terribly upset."

"Upset, how?"

The question came quickly and abruptly. Molly was aware of the hostility the prosecutor felt for her, but for some reason it didn't worry her.

"She was crying as she packed her bag, and I could see that she was very angry. Molly's an easygoing person. It takes a lot to ruffle her. In all the years I'd worked there, I'd never once seen her so upset. She kept saying,'How could he? How could he?' I asked her if there was anything I could do."

"What did she say?"

"She said,'You can kill my husband.'"

"'You can kill my husband!'"

"I knew she didn't mean it. I just thought they'd probably had an argument, and I figured she was leaving for the Cape to cool down."

"Did she often go off like that? Just pack up and leave?"

"Well, Molly likes the Cape; says she can clear her head there. But this was different — I'd never seen her leave like this, so upset." She looked at Molly, sympathy in her eyes.

"All right, Mrs. Barry, let's go back to that Monday morning, April 9th. What did you do after you'd seen the condition of the kitchen?"

"I went to see if Dr. Lasch was in the study. The door was closed. I knocked, and there was no answer. I turned the knob and noticed it felt sticky. Then I pushed open the door and saw him." Edna Barry's voice quivered. "He was slumped over in his chair at the desk. His head was caked with dried blood. There was blood all over him and the desk and the chair and the carpet. I knew right away he was dead."

Listening to the housekeeper's testimony, Molly thought back to that Sunday night. I came home, let myself in, locked the front door, and went down to the study. I was sure Gary would be there. The door was closed. I opened it....I don't remember what happened after that.

"What did you do then, Mrs. Barry?" the prosecutor asked.

"I dialed 9-1-1 right away. Then I thought about Molly, that maybe she was hurt. I ran upstairs to her bedroom. When I saw her in there, on the bed, I thought she was dead too."

"Why did you think that?"

"Because her face was crusted with blood. But then she opened her eyes and smiled and said, 'Hi, Mrs. Barry, I guess I overslept.'"

I looked up, Molly thought as she sat at the defense table, and then realized I still had my clothes on. For a moment I thought I'd been in an accident. My clothes were soiled, and my hands felt all sticky. I felt groggy and disoriented and wondered if maybe I was in a hospital instead of my own room. I remember wondering if Gary had been hurt too. Then there was a pounding at the door downstairs, and the police were there.

All about her, people were talking, but the voices of the witnesses were blurring again. Molly was vaguely aware of the days of the trial passing, of going in and out of the courtroom, of watching people coming and going on the witness stand.

She heard Cal and Peter Black and then Jenna testify. Cal and Peter told how on Sunday afternoon they had called Gary and said they were coming over, that they knew something was wrong.

They sa id they found Gary terribly upset because Molly had learned he was having an affair with Annamarie Scalli.

Cal said that Gary told him that Molly had been at their home in Cape Cod all week and wouldn't talk to him when he called, that she slammed down the phone when she heard his voice.

The prosecutor asked, "What was your reaction to Dr. Lasch's confession of this affair?"

Cal said they were deeply concerned, both for their friends' marriage and also for the potential damage to the hospital of a scandal involving Dr. Lasch and a young nurse. Gary had assured them there would be no scandal. Annamarie was leaving town. She was planning to give up the baby for adoption. His lawyer had arranged a $75,000 settlement and confidentiality statement that she had already signed.

Annamarie Scalli, Molly thought, that pretty, dark-haired, sexy-looking young nurse. She remembered meeting her at the hospital. Had Gary been in love with her, or was it just a casual affair that got out of hand when Annamarie became pregnant? Now she'd never know. There were so many unanswered questions. Did Gary really love me? she wondered. Or was our life together a sham? She shook her head. No. It hurt too much to think like that.

Then Jenna had taken the stand. I know it hurts her to testify, Molly thought, but the prosecutor had subpoened her, and she had no choice.

"Yes," Jenna had acknowledged, her voice low and halting, "I did call Molly at the Cape on the day that Gary died. She told me that he had been involved with Annamarie and that Annamarie was pregnant. Molly was totally devastated." Vaguely she heard what they were saying. The prosecutor asking if Molly was angry. Jenna saying Molly was hurt. Jenna fin ally admitted that Molly was very angry with Gary.

"Molly, get up. The judge is leaving."

Philip Matthews, her lawyer, was holding her elbow, urging her to stand. He kept his hand under her arm, steadying her as they exited the courtroom. Outside, flashbulbs exploded in her face. He made her hurry through the crowd, propelling her into a waiting car. "We'll meet your mother and father at the house," he said as they drove away.

Her parents had come up from Florida to be with her. They wanted her to move, to get out of the house where Gary had died, but she couldn't do that. It was her grandmother's present to her and she loved it. At her father's insistence, she had agreed to at least redecorate the study. All the furniture was given away, and the room was redone from top to bottom. The heavy mahogany paneling had been stripped off, and Gary's treasured collection of early-American furniture and art had been removed. His paintings, sculptures, carpets, oil lamps, and Wells Fargo desk along with his maroon leather couch and chairs had been replaced with a brightly patterned chintz sofa and matching love seat and bleached oak tables. Even then, the door to the study was always kept closed.

One most valued piece in his collection, a thirty-inch-high sculpture of a horse and rider, an original Remington bronze, was still in the custody of the prosecutor's office. That was what they said she had used to smash the back of Gary's head.

Sometimes, when she was sure her parents were asleep, Molly would tiptoe downstairs and stand in the doorway of the study and try to remember every detail of finding Gary.

Finding Gary. No matter how hard she tried, when she thought back to that night, there was n o single moment when she remembered talking to him or approaching him as he sat at his desk. She had no memory of picking up that sculpture, of grasping the front legs of the horse and swinging it with enough force to cave in his skull. But that's what they said she had done.

At home now, after another day in court, she could see the growing concern on her parents' faces, and she could feel the increased protectiveness with which they hugged her. She stood stiffly inside their embraces, then stepped away and looked at them dispassionately.

Yes, a handsome couple — everyone called them that. Molly knew she looked like Ann, her mother. Walter Carpenter, her father, towered over both of them. His hair was silver now. It used to be blond. He called it his Viking streak. His grandmother had been Danish.

"I'm sure we'd all welcome a cocktail," her father said as he led the way to the service bar.

Molly and her mother had a glass of wine, Philip requested a martini. As her father handed it to him, he said, "Philip, how damaging was Black's testimony today?"

Molly could hear the forced, too-hearty tone of Philip Matthews's answer: "I think we'll be able to neutralize it when I get a crack at him."

Philip Matthews, powerful thirty-eight-year-old defense lawyer, had become a kind of media star. Molly's father had sworn he would get Molly the best money could buy, and that comparatively young as he was, Matthews was it. Hadn't he gotten an acquittal for that broadcasting executive whose wife was murdered? Yes, Molly thought, but they didn't find him covered with her blood.

She could feel the cloudiness in her head clearing a little, although she knew it would come back. It always did. But at thi s moment she could understand the way everything must seem to the people in the courtroom, especially to the jurors. "How much longer will the trial last?" she asked.

"About another three weeks," Matthews told her.

"And then I'll be found guilty," she said matter-of-factly. "Do you think I am? I know that everybody else thinks I did it because I was so angry at him." She sighed wearily. "Ninety percent of them think I'm lying about not remembering anything, and the other ten percent think I can't remember that night because I'm crazy."

Aware that they were following her, she walked down the hall to the study and pushed open the door. The sense of unreality was already closing in again. "Maybe I did do it," she said, her voice expressionless. "That week at the Cape. I remember walking on the beach and thinking how unfair it all was. How after five years of marriage and losing the first baby and wanting another one so terribly, I'd finally gotten pregnant again, then had a miscarriage at four months. Remember? You came up from Florida, Mom and Dad, because you were worried that I was so heartbroken. Then only a month after losing my child, I picked up the phone and heard Annamarie Scalli talking to Gary, and I realized she was pregnant with his child. I was so angry, and so hurt. I remember thinking that God had punished the wrong person by taking my baby."

Ann Carpenter put her arms around her daughter. This time Molly did not resist the embrace. "I'm so scared," she whispered. "I'm so scared."

Philip Matthews took Walter Carpenter's arm. "Let's go into the library," he said. "I think we'd better face reality here. I think we're going to have to consider a plea bargain."


Molly stood b efore the judge and tried to concentrate as the prosecutor spoke. Philip Matthews had told her the prosecutor reluctantly agreed to allow her to plead guilty to manslaughter, which carried a ten year sentence, because the one weakness in his case was Annamarie Scalli, Gary Lasch's pregnant mistress, who had not yet testified. Annamarie had told investigators that she was home alone that Sunday night.

"The prosecutor knows I'll try to throw suspicion on Annamarie," Matthews had explained to her. "She was angry and bitter at Gary, too. We might have had a crack at a hung jury, but if you were convicted, you'd be facing a life sentence. This way you'll be out in as little as five."

It was her turn to say the words that were expected of her. "Your Honor, while I cannot remember that horrible night, I acknowledge that the state's evidence is strong and points to me. I accept that the evidence has shown that I killed my husband." It's a nightmare, Molly thought. I will wake up soon and be home and safe.

Fifteen minutes later after the Judge had imposed the ten year sentence she was led away in handcuffs toward the van that would transport her to Niantic Prison, the State Women's Correctional Center.

Copyright © 1999 by Mary Higgins Clark

Five and a Half Years Later

Chapter 1

Gus Brandt, executive producer for the NAF Cable Network, looked up from his desk at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan. Fran Simmons, whom he'd recently hired as an investigative reporter for the six o'clock news hour and for regular assignments to his hot new True Crime program, had just entered his office.

"The word's in," he said excitedly. "Molly Carpenter Lasch is being paroled from prison. She gets out next week."

"She did get parole!" Fran exclaimed. "I'm so glad."

"I wasn't sure you'd remember the case. You were living in California six years ago. Do you know much about it?"

"Everything, actually. Don't forget, I went to Cranden Academy in Greenwich, with Molly. I had the local papers sent to me throughout the trial."

"You went to school with her? That's great. I want to schedule a full background story on her for the series as soon as possible."

"Sure. But Gus, don't think I have an inside track with Molly," Fran warned. "I haven't laid eyes on her since the summer we graduated, and that was fourteen years ago. At the same time I began U. Cal, my mother moved to Santa Barbara, and I lost touch with just about everybody in Greenwich."

There'd actually been many reasons for both her and her mother relocating to California, leaving Connecticut as far behind as memory would allow. On the day of Fran's graduation from the academy, her father had taken her and her mother out for a festive dinner of celebration. At the end of the meal he had toasted Fran's future at his alma mater, kissed both of them, and then, saying that he'd left his wallet in the car, he had gon she like? When she was young, I mean."

Fran tucked a strand of light brown hair behind her ear, an unconscious gesture that was an indication she was concentrating. An image flashed through her mind, and for an instant she could see Molly as she'd been at age sixteen, at Cranden Academy. "Molly was always special," she said after a moment. "You've seen her pictures. She was always a beauty. Even when the rest of us were still gawky adolescents, she was already turning heads. She had the most incredible blue eyes, almost iridescent, plus a complexion models would kill for and shimmering blond hair. But what really impressed me was that she was always so composed. I remember thinking if she met the pope and the queen of England at the same party, she'd know how to address them and in what order. And yet, the funny part was that I always suspected that, inside, she was shy. Despite her remarkable composure, there was something tentative about her. Kind of like a beautiful bird perched at the end of a branch, poised but ready at any second to take flight."

She'd glide across the room, Fran thought, remembering seeing her once in an elegant gown. She looked even taller than five eight because she had such gorgeous carriage.

"How friendly were you two?" Gus queried.

"Oh, I wasn't really in her orbit. Molly was part of the moneyed country club set. I was a good athlete and concentrated on sports more than on social activities. I can assure you my phone was never ringing off the hook on Friday night."

"As my mother would have put it, you grew up nice," Gus said dryly.

I was never at ease at the academy, Fran thought. There are plenty of middle-class families in Greenwich, but middle class wasn' t good enough for Dad. He was always trying to ingratiate himself with wealthy people. He wanted me to be friends with the girls who came from money or who had family connections.

"Apart from her appearance, what was Molly like?"

"She was very sweet," Fran said. "When my father died and the news came out about what he had done — the embezzling and the suicide and everything — I was avoiding everyone. Molly knew I jogged every day, and early one morning she was waiting for me. She said she just wanted to keep me company for a while. Since her father had been one of the biggest donors to the library fund, you can imagine what her show of friendship meant to me."

"You had no reason to be ashamed because of what your father did," Gus snapped.

Fran's tone became crisp. "I wasn't ashamed of him. I was just so sorry for him — and angry too, I guess. Why did he think that my mother and I needed things? After he died, we realized how frantic he must have been in the days just before, because they were about to audit the library fund's books, and he knew he'd be found out." She paused, then added softly, "He was wrong to have done all that, of course. Wrong to have taken the money and wrong to think we needed it. He was weak also. I realize now he was terribly insecure. But at the same time, he was an awfully nice guy."

"So was Dr. Gary Lasch. He was a good administrator too. Lasch Hospital has a top-drawer reputation, and Remington Health Management isn't like so many of the cockamamie HMOs that are going bankrupt and leaving patients and doctors high and dry." Gus smiled briefly. "You knew Molly and you went to school with her, so that gives you some insight. Do you think she did it?"

""There's no question that she did it," Fran said promptly. "The evidence against her was overwhelming, and I've covered enough murder trials to understand that very unlikely people ruin their lives by losing control for that one split second. Still, unless Molly changed dramatically after the time I knew her, she'd be the last person in the world I would have said was likely to kill someone. But for that very reason, I can understand why she might have blocked it out."

"That's why this case is great for the program," Gus said. "Get on it. When Molly Lasch gets out of Niantic Prison next week, I want you to be part of the reception committee welcoming her."

Copyright © 1999 by Mary Higgins Clark

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Reading Group Guide

1. Mary Higgins Clark is wonderfully adept at using imagery to help readers create a detailed mental picture of a character. For example, Molly is described as looking like "a beautiful bird perched at the end of a branch, poised but ready at any second to take flight." (p. 15) Find and discuss another example of imagery used to fine-tune a character's external and internal identity.

2. Reread the scene in chapter eight where Fran is unpacking in her new apartment, and compare it to Molly's "homecoming" to Greenwich. How does each woman's different situation affect the way she handles the transition into her new life: the way she acts, thinks, feels, and even eats.

3. Molly's conviction in Gary's murder was originally due in large part to a rush to judge by the police, anxious to close their investigation. Do you think that police are often so anxious to solve a case that they zero in too quickly on one suspect? Do you think the police would have been able to spot the actual killer had they not assumed so quickly that Molly was guilty?

4. Discuss Fran's role as a reporter versus her role as Molly's friend. Does this "conflict of interest" compromise the integrity of Fran's reporting -- or does it spur her on to investigate even harder? Does a reporter who grows too close to her subject have an ethical responsibility to remove herself from the story?

5. One of the major clues in the mystery surrounding Gary's murder is the "clicking" noise that Molly recalls hearing the night he died -- a noise she comes closer and closer to identifying as the story progresses. This is just one example of how the author builds suspense throughout the novel. Discuss other ways in which thestory is revealed in bits and pieces as Molly regains her memory, and how the author uses the device of amnesia to build suspense.

6. Many suspense novels are later adapted for television or the movies. Compare these different mediums and how the advantages and limitations of each one affects the way a story unfolds. For example, in what ways does the plot of We'll Meet Again differ from the storyline for a television show like "Murder She Wrote?" Which medium offers more ways to dramatize the story, add layers to the narrative, and build suspense?

7. Mary Higgins Clark offers a frightening glimpse of today's health-care system in crisis, underscoring the desire of some doctors to make important medical discoveries -- often at the expense of their patients. Do you think that illegal medical experimentation occurs in our hospitals on a widespread basis? Overall, are today's doctors more interested in making money than providing good medical care?

8. Molly Lasch, after her release from prison, decides to see the "other woman" in her husband's life, Annemarie Scalli. How do these two women relate to each other and what does Molly learn from Annamarie about her husband, as a man and as a doctor?

9. Did you find it puzzling that Fran is sympathetic to Molly even when she thinks Molly is guilty of murder? Is Fran more likely to show compassion to a person in trouble because of what happened to her father?

10. Mrs. Barry was deeply concerned that her son Wally might have killed Gary Lasch, but she told no one. Was her failure to report her suspicions the understandable reaction of a mother protecting her troubled son? Was it a criminal act? If Mrs. Barry had come forward at the time of the murder, do you think Wally would have been blamed for it? Or would her disclosure have forced the police to expand their investigation, perhaps enough to expose the real killer?

11. Discuss the unique dynamics of Cal and Jenna's marriage. Is there any real love between them, or are they together only because each possesses something that the other one needs? How does the constant play for power between them affect their relationship? Was this marriage destined to fail from the very start?

12. At the end of the novel the real killer is disclosed. Did the author hint throughout the narrative who the real killer was -- or did this plot twist come as a surprise? Discuss ways in which the author plants real clues, as well as "red herrings," to build a mystery that is solved only in the final pages.

13) Both Molly and Fran came face-to-face with tragedy -- and survived. How does each woman deal with the cards fate has dealt them? Who do you think is the stronger woman, and why? In what ways have the tragedies they have faced made them into the women they are today?

14. Discuss how the author uses secondary characters in pivotal roles that propel the story forward. Which of these characters affected the outcome of the story the most? Gladys the waitress? The busboy? Lou Knox?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 77 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(52)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 77 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 26, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Mary Higgins Clark is the best mystery writer. You will not guess her ending and they are wrtten without dirty language. I truly enjoy all of her books.

    DJ78

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted October 10, 2005

    ONE OF HER BEST!

    ANOTHER EXCELLENT MYSTERY. I WAS TOTALLY SURPRISED BY THE ENDING. I LOVED IT. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 31, 2003

    GREAT BOOK TO READ

    THIS WAS AN EXCELLENT BOOK. I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. EVERY CHARTACTER WAS GOOD. ONE THING THAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK WAS THERE WAS NO FILTY LANGUAGE IN IT. A GREAT BOOK WITHOUT UGLY WORDS WAS FUN TO READ AND SHE STILL MADE HER POINT. I WISH OTHER AUTHORS WOULD DO THE SAME. I WILL READ MORE OF HER BOOKS

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 5, 2014

    Drizzle

    "Im not sure. But if they are going to be godmodders we have to be one too. So im sure we will fight them over. They couldn't stand the annoyance of another godmodder." Drizzlepaw said clawing off the vines. "Follow my every move."
    (Where do we go?)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    Extus Star

    Thanks. I don't know where Owl is, but Stygian wants him captured. He betrayed us in battle, and the punishment for that is death.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2014

    Btv

    Hrjdg

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    Extus Silver

    Brought in Flurrypaw and tied his paws to vines.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2014

    Firestorm

    Free of his binds, Firestorm looks around and sees no one, so he sneaks out with ease.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    Mynt

    Ya didnt kill me!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2014

    Sanctus K

    "Thanks Icheshards-" flopped asleep.

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

    Posted May 31, 2014

    Exceed Arguet

    He nods to Konoha and pads out.

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

    Posted May 31, 2014

    Tito ice

    When anyone gets on, post your name.

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

    Posted May 31, 2014

    Garetpaw

    is drug away.

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

    Posted March 19, 2012

    Highly reccommended.

    This was an interesting murder mystery story. I just wish there was a sequel to it.

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

    Posted February 4, 2012

    Loved it, A must read

    Story line was good and I was shocked how it ended. Good reading book

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

    Posted April 4, 2005

    Read All About It!

    This book is so amazing! I am only 16 and I did not think that I would like this book. This book is great for all ages.

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

    Posted May 22, 2003

    Capturign from first to last words

    As being a high school student i am really busy, but for this bok i found time to read it. It was captivating from the first to the lsat word. It also gave you suspitions on people that i just wanted to read onto see who really was giulty. I really enjoyed reading this book adn i'd recomend it anyone!

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

    Posted February 3, 2003

    A Little Different, But Entertaining

    WE'LL MEET AGAIN was realistic in that it didn't have at its ending a boy gets girl scenario, only romantic possibilities. While she gave clues to the killer's identity earlier than usual, and, as a healthcare worker, I didn't learn much about HMO's, this book was entertaining, and some clues throughout the book added suspense & gave an unexpected identity to Dr. Lasch's murderer. A reccommended read to mystery fans and regular Higgins Clark readers.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2002

    Disappointing...

    I was rather disappointed with this title. I noticed that this book had several praises noted on bn.com, but I just didn't find it as exhilerating as other Higgins Clark novels I have read. It was extremely predictable. I honestly had no desire to move on to the next page. As always, it was well-written, but it didn't capture my attention the way I hoped it would. All-in-all, I was disappointed with We'll Meet Again. I think the plot needed some work and the storyline needed to be a little less obvious.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2002

    We'll Meet Again

    Just could not put this one down! An amazing story by an author who just keeps getting better!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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