Where Are the Children?

Where Are the Children?

4.3 169
by Mary Higgins Clark, Lindsay Crouse

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He could feel the chill coming in through the cracks around the windowpanes. Clumsily he got up and lumbered over to the window. Reaching for one of the thick towels he kept handy, he stuffed it around the rotting frame.

The incoming draft made a soft, hissing sound in the towel, a sound that vaguely pleased him. He looked

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He could feel the chill coming in through the cracks around the windowpanes. Clumsily he got up and lumbered over to the window. Reaching for one of the thick towels he kept handy, he stuffed it around the rotting frame.

The incoming draft made a soft, hissing sound in the towel, a sound that vaguely pleased him. He looked out at the mist-filled sky and studied the whitecaps churning in the water. From this side of the house it was often possible to see Provincetown, on the opposite shore of Cape Cod Bay.

He hated the Cape. He hated the bleakness of it on a November day like this; the stark grayness of the water; the stolid people who didn't say much but studied you with their eyes. He had hated it the one summer he'd been here -- waves of tourists sprawling on the beaches; climbing up the steep embankment to this house; gawking in the downstairs windows, cupping their hands over their eyes to peer inside.

He hated the large FOR SALE sign that Ray Eldredge had posted on the front and back of the big house and the fact that now Ray and that woman who worked for him had begun bringing people in to see the house. Last month it had been only a matter of luck that he'd come along as they'd started through; only luck that he'd gotten to the top floor before they had and been able to put away the telescope.

Time was running out. Somebody would buy this house and he wouldn't be able to rent it again. That was why he'd sent the article to the paper. He wanted to still be here to enjoy seeing her exposed for what she was in front of these people...now, when she must have started to feel safe.

There was something else that he had to do, but the chance had ns office. He might not even look at it for a while.

Impatiently, he turned from the window. His thick, trunklike legs were tight in shiny black trousers. He'd be glad when he could lose some of this weight. It would mean that awful business of starving himself again, but he could do it. When it had been necessary he'd done it before. Restlessly he rubbed a hand over his vaguely itchy scalp. He'd be glad when he could let his hair grow back in its natural lines again. The sides had always been thick and would probably be mostly gray now.

He ran one hand slowly down his trouser leg, then impatiently paced around the apartment, finally stopping at the telescope in the living room. The telescope was especially powerful -- the kind of equipment that wasn't available for general sale. Even many police departments didn't have it yet. But there were always ways to get things you wanted. He bent over and peered into it, squinting one eye.

Because of the darkness of the day, the kitchen light was on, so it was easy to see Nancy clearly. She was standing in front of the kitchen window, the one that was over the sink. Maybe she was about to get something ready to put into the oven for dinner. But she had a warm jacket on, so she was probably going out. She was standing quietly, just looking in the direction of the water. What was she thinking of? Whom was she thinking of? The children -- Peter...Lisa...? He'd like to know.

He could feel his mouth go dry and licked his lips nervously. She looked very young today. Her hair was pulled back from her face. She kept it dark brown. Someone would surely have recognized her if she'd left it the natural red-gold shade. Tomorrow she'd be thirty-two. But she still didn't look her age. She had an intriguing young quality, soft and fresh and silky.

He swallowed nervously. He could feel the feverish dryness of his mouth, even while his hands and armpits were wet and warm. He gulped, then swallowed again, and the sound evolved into a deep chuckle. His whole body began to shake with mirth and jarred the telescope. Nancy's image blurred, but he didn't bother refocusing the lens. He wasn't interested in watching her anymore today.

Tomorrow! He could just see the expression she'd have at this time tomorrow. Exposed to the world for what she was; numbed with worry and fear; trying to answer the question...the same question the police had thrown at her over and over seven years ago.

"Come on, Nancy," the police would be saying again. "Come clean with us. Tell the truth. You should know you can't get away with this. Tell us, Nancy -- where are the children?"

Copyright © 1975 by Mary Higgins Clark

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Indescribably suspenseful...a special kind of terror."
-- San Francisco Chronicle

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Abridged, 2 cassettes, 3 hrs.
Product dimensions:
4.60(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter One Ray came down the stairs pulling the knot closed on his tie. Nancy was sitting at the table with a still-sleepy Missy on her lap. Michael was eating his breakfast in his poised, reflective way.

Ray tousled Mike's head and leaned over to kiss Missy. Nancy smiled up at him. She was so darn pretty. There were fine lines around those blue eyes, but you'd still never take her for 32. Ray was only a few years older himself, but always felt infinitely her senior. Maybe it was that awful vulnerability. He noticed the traces of red at the roots of her dark hair. A dozen times in the last year he'd wanted to ask her to let it grow out, but hadn't dared.

"Happy birthday, honey," he said quietly.

He watched as the color drained from her face.

Michael looked surprised. "Is it Mommy's birthday? You didn't tell me that."

Missy sat upright. "Mommy's birthday?" She sounded pleased.

"Yes," Ray told them. Nancy was staring down at the table. "And tonight we're going to celebrate. Tonight I'm going to bring home a big birthday cake and a present, and we'll have Aunt Dorothy come to dinner. Right, Mommy?"

"Ray... no." Nancy's voice was low and pleading.

"Yes. Remember, last year you promised that this year we'd..."

Celebrate was the wrong word. He couldn't say it. But for a long time he'd known that they would someday have to start changing the pattern of her birthdays. At first she'd withdrawn completely from him and gone around the house or walked the beach like a silent ghost in a world of her own.

But last year she'd finally begun to talk about them... the two other children. She'd said, "They'd be so big now... ten and eleven. I try to think how they would look now, but can't seem to even imagine.... Everything about that time is so blurred. Like a nightmare that I only dreamed."

"It's supposed to be like that," Ray told her. "Put it all behind you, honey. Don't even won- der what happened anymore."

The memory strengthened his decision. He bent over Nancy and patted her hair with a gesture that was at once protective and gentle.

Nancy looked up at him. The appeal on her face changed to uncertainty. "I don't think --"

Michael interrupted her. "How old are you, Mommy?" he asked practically.

Nancy smiled -- a real smile that miraculously eased the tension. "None of your business," she told him.

Ray took a quick gulp of her coffee. "Good girl," he said. "Tell you what, Mike. I'll pick you up after school this afternoon and we'll go get a present for Mommy. Now I'd better get out of here. Some guy is coming up to see the Hunt place. I want to get the file together."

"Isn't it rented?" Nancy asked.

"Yes. That Parrish fellow who's taken the apartment on and off has it again. But he knows we have the right to show it anytime. It's a great spot for a restaurant and wouldn't take much to convert. It'll make a nice commission if I sell it."

Nancy put Missy down and walked with him to the door. He kissed her lightly and felt her lips tremble under his. How much had he upset her by starting this birthday talk? Some instinct made him want to say, Let's not wait for tonight. I'll stay home and we'll take the kids and go to Boston for the day.

Instead he got into his car, waved, backed up and drove onto the narrow dirt lane that wound through an acre of woods until it terminated on the cross-Cape road that led to the center of Adams Port and his office.

Ray was right, Nancy thought as she walked slowly back to the table. There was a time to stop following the patterns of yesterday -- a time to stop remembering and look only to the future. She knew that a part of her was still frozen. She knew that the mind dropped a protective curtain over painful memories -- but it was more than that.

Copyright © 1975 by Mary Higgins Clark

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Where are the Children? 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 169 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read this book back in the 80's. It was the first "adult" chapter book I ever read & I loved it! Mysteries/Suspense became my very favorite book genre and I followed MHC's books all through my teens. Along with Agatha Christie, Clark became 1 of my top favorite authors. When reading Where Are the Children? keep in mind this book was written 34yrs ago &things were done differently back then (ex.police investigations) & little conviences such as cell phones were unheard of! It is still 1 of my favorites &I revisit it every 5-6 yrs or so.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Imagine escaping your horrific past. What if that past has found you again? Now you have to go through the same nightmare all over again? Well that is what's going on with Nancy. Her past was full of horrors. She lost her mother and her children. Seven years later she's remarried. But something similar is about to occur. Her children have gone missing. She can't escape the past. I think anyone that's going to read this book is going to understand the true meaning of fictional mystery.
kittyPA More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent and had many twists and turns. As soon as I thought I knew what was going on, everything changed. It was a very good book. My only other comment is I would like to have known more about how the kidnapper "rose from the dead."
Megan Mckinsey More than 1 year ago
I am only 12 and i love this book. Great book
Barbara North More than 1 year ago
Read this 30 years ago and have since read everything she has written...just got through with I'll Walk Alone...Fantastic Book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This heartbreaking thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the book. It is suspenseful, yet incredibly sad. You can feel the emotions of the young mother, and put yourself in her shoes. Get ready to be scared in a way that you've never been scared before. Where Are The Children is an alarming, shocking story about a woman who has already lost two kids, and is now going through the kidnapping of two more. This is definitely a hair-raising book that will give you chills.
BlondieBT More than 1 year ago
This was a very exciting page turner!! Suspence, mystery, romantic all in one!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had read Where Are the Children? many years ago but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it again. As a woman, this story touches me deeply.
nj2az More than 1 year ago
I've read most of her holiday books, and wanted to see what else she's written. I believe this was a controversial book in it's time because it touches on taboo subjects like pedophilia.
Great suspenseful read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was by far in my top two favorite book list! I could not put it down. I read the entire book in less than three hours. Mrs.Higgins' writing style definitely allows the reader room for imaginaton and to keep on guessing. I would definitely recommend this book but only under the condition that yu have a few quiet hours to yourself because I guarantee that once you pick it up you will be unable to put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book about a month ago for the first time. I loved it I can't believe this was her first mystery novel. It was very suspenseful I did not want to put it down a real page turner.
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Really enjoyed. Easy read, finished in a couple hours, another reason to love her books. Fast paced and good suspense.
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BrandyGirl More than 1 year ago
There was nothing boring about this book, it moves right along. Just don't think these are the types of stories I am into.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put this book down. Read it in one day just because I couldn't wait to finish this. Truly unexpected plot line. Great read.
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One of her best
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