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You Belong to Me

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A killer who targets lonely women on cruise ships is at the center of Mary Higgins Clark's newest thriller You Belong to Me, a masterful combination of page-turning suspense and classic mystery.

When Dr. Susan Chandler decides to use her daily radio talk show to explore the phenomenon of women who disappear and are later found to have become victims of killers who prey on the lonely and insecure, she has no idea that she is exposing herself -- ...

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1998-01-01 Audio Cassette Good Ex-Library with normal markings. Audiobook cassettes. Tapes guaranteed to play perfectly or full refund is given. 100% satisfaction guaranteed. ... Shipped each business day. Read more Show Less

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A killer who targets lonely women on cruise ships is at the center of Mary Higgins Clark's newest thriller You Belong to Me, a masterful combination of page-turning suspense and classic mystery.

When Dr. Susan Chandler decides to use her daily radio talk show to explore the phenomenon of women who disappear and are later found to have become victims of killers who prey on the lonely and insecure, she has no idea that she is exposing herself -- and those closest to her -- to the very terror that she hopes to warn others against.

Susan sets out to determine who is responsible for an attempt on the life of a woman who called in to the show offering information on the mysterious disappearance from a cruise ship, years before, of Regina Clausen, a wealthy investment advisor. Soon Susan finds herself in a race against time, for not only does the killer stalk these lonely women, but he seems intent on eliminating anyone who can possibly further Susan's investigation.

As her search intensifies, Susan finds herself confronted with the realization that one of the men who have become important figures in her life might actually be the killer. And as she gets closer to uncovering his identity, she realizes almost too late that the hunter has become the hunted, and that she herself is marked for murder.

In its review of her previous novel Pretend You Don't See Her, the Detroit News said of Mary Higgins Clark, "What's how expertly [she] manages to keep us hooked time after time, and even better, create new plots, each as fresh as a mountain stream."

You Belong to Me is Mary Higgins Clark at her thrilling best.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
April 1998

In Mary Higgins Clark's latest thriller, You Belong to Me, intelligent and successful — yet lonely — women are the prey of the author's newest killer.

You Belong to Me opens on a luxury cruise ship with the killer eyeing his newest victim, Regina Clausen, a successful stock analyst. When Regina disembarks in Hong Kong, telling everyone she will meet up with the ship in Japan, no one is suspicious — until she never returns. Three years later, Regina's case is discussed on "Ask Dr. Susan," a New York-based, syndicated radio call-in show about vanished women. Dr. Susan is Susan Chandler, a smart, attractive former district attorney in her early 30s. A mysterious woman calls in to the show with information about Regina's disappearance. When the mysterious woman fails to show up at the secret prearranged meeting Susan has set up, Susan has no idea what a trail of terror she is about to follow.

The only chain linking these murders is a ring bearing the inscription "You Belong to Me." Susan becomes determined to solve the mystery that the police cannot. What she doesn't realize is that as she delves further into the mystery she becomes a target for the murderer, whose plans don't end with just adding Susan to his list of victims — he plans to continue with Susan's sister, Dee. Master of suspense Mary Higgins Clark has involved enough complex characters that the murderer is anyone's guess, creating yet another page-turner filled with twists and turns in this world of glamorous New Yorkers. Susan's world only begins withherbeautiful sister, Dee. There is also her father and his manipulative new wife, Binky; Alex Wright, the mega-millionaire Susan meets at Binky's party; Justin Wells, the husband of the mysterious caller with information about Regina; Hilda Johnson, an elderly woman who witnesses the "accident" that prevented the mysterious caller from ever making it to the meeting with Susan; Jane Clausen, Regina's wealthy mother, who is torn between protecting her daughter's privacy and solving the case; Douglas Layton, Jane Clausen's lawyer, whom she suspects of betraying her trust; Tiffany, a young waitress who may have a missing clue; and Dr. Donald Richards, author of a book on vanished women whose own young wife had met with a strange death.

Mary Higgins Clark is at it again, defying readers to put this book down before they make it to the final page — and see which characters make it there with them!

Library Journal
Jayne Atkinson reads this suspenseful work with increasing credibility. Psychologist Susan Chandler, host of a call-in radio show, runs a segment on missing women. These women left behind only the suspicion of foul play. Susan had no way of knowing that the wrong people would be listening that day or that her program would set off another chain of murders with herself poised as the penultimate victim. Atkinson gives the myriad characters unique inflections. She is also effective at tracking the fast-paced point-of-view leaps that mark the abridgment; minor characters are thoroughly introduced and killed off all in a single paragraph. However, the red herrings are particularly well done. Unfortunately, when the killer is finally unmasked, his/her motivations aren't really defensible not even in the madness of a killer's mind. Nevertheless, Clark's popularity and Atkinson's skill make this a must-buy for public libraries. Jodi Israel, Norwood, MA
Marilyn Stasio
As your cruise ship glides through tropical waters and an attentive stranger dances you on deck to look at the moon, try really hard not to think about Regina, Monica, Veronica and Constance, whose shipboard romances with a sexy psychopath prove fatal in Mary Higgins Clark's new suspense thriller, "You Belong To Me." -- Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
A smooth seducer who kills women he meets on luxury cruises would seem to be a natural for Clark ("Pretend You Don't See Her", 1997, etc.). But the devil isn't in the details this time, and a series of miscues lets the tension escape from her 16th novel. " Why do women vanish?" clinical psychologist Dr. Susan Chandler, host of radio's Ask Dr. Susan, asks her guest Dr. Donald Richards, author of 'Vanishing Women'. The main answer, of course, is that they're preyed upon by unscrupulous men. One such victim was Regina Clausen, who never returned to her ship from an excursion to Hong Kong three years ago. Now Carolyn Wells, a caller to Susan's show, reveals that she may have been the intended prey of a similar villain—a man who left her holding a photograph and a turquoise ring inscribed "You belong to me" when she escaped back to the arms of her jealous husband Justin. Susan and Don are both excited about the possible link to Regina Clausen's disappearance. But before Susan can meet Carolyn and examine the ring and photo, Carolyn's pushed under the wheels of a van by a man who walks off with the evidence. It's only the first of a series of four murderous assaults by an unusually enterprising killer bent on covering his tracks—a killer who's hiding in a thicket of handsome gentlemen with a special affinity for good-looking women and luxury cruises. So far so good; but this time the killer, for all his industry, is toothless—partly because his target victim isn't Susan but her forgettable sister Dee, who prattles about going on a cruise till you wish sheþd just go ahead and get herself killed, partly because Susan, more detective than victim, is clearly more than a matchfor the predator. All the usual trappings of upscale menace except the menace. Wait till next year's cruise. (Literary Guild main selection)
From the Publisher
USA Today Mary Higgins Clark at her page-turning best....The pace is near panic.

Entertainment Weekly Mary Higgins Clark has nothing to fear...we "belong" to her....

San Francisco Chronicle The Queen...returns with another delicious hoot of a plot...and a nice surprise in You Belong To Me...Clark does show her mettle as a mystery writer....We find the pages turning with increasing speed.

Chicago Tribune You Belong To Me...Trust me, this well-known old song will take on a new meaning the next time you hear it...Clark is a virtuoso....

Booklist A riveting tale of one woman's quest for the truth. Clark is a smart, entertaining storyteller...her fans will request You Belong To Me in droves.

The Seattle Times Mary Higgins Clark is the doyenne of American suspense fiction, our answer to Britain's P. D. James....

From Barnes & Noble
Investigating the "lonely-hearts'' murders of several wealthy women, radio talk show host Dr. Susan Chandler discovers almost too late the hunter has become the hunted and the killer may be a man she knows well.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780736641890
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged

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.


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


He had played this same game before and had anticipated this time out it would be something of a letdown. It came as a pleasant surprise then to find that it gave him even more of a thrill.

He had boarded the ship in Perth, Australia, only yesterday, planning to sail as far as Kobe, but he had found her immediately, so the extra ports would not be necessary. She had been seated at a window table in the liner's paneled dining room, a discreetly elegant space typical of the Gabrielle. The luxury cruise ship was the perfect size for his purposes, and in fact he always traveled on smaller ships, always chose a segment of a deluxe world tour.

He was cautious by nature, although in truth there was little likelihood of his being recognized by previous shipmates. He had become a master at altering his appearance, a talent he had discovered during his college drama club fling at acting.

As he studied Regina Clausen, he decided that she could use a makeover. She was one of those fortyish women who could have been quite attractive if she only knew how to dress, how to present herself. She was wearing an expensive-looking ice-blue dinner suit that would have been stunning on a blonde, but it did nothing for her very pale complexion, making her look washed out and wan. And her light brown hair, her natural and not unflattering color, was so stiffly set that even from across the wide room it seemed to age her, and even to date her, as though she were a suburban matron from the fifties.

Of course he knew who she was. He had seen Clausen in action at a stockholders' meeting only a few months ago, and he had also watched her on CNBC in her capacity as a stock research analyst. Certainly in those venues she had come across as forceful and very sure of herself.

That was why, when he had spotted her sitting wistfully and alone at the table, and later had witnessed her tremulous, almost girlish pleasure when one of the male hosts asked her to dance, he knew right away how easy it was going to be.

He raised his glass, and with the faintest movement in her direction, offered a silent toast.

Your prayers have been answered, Regina, he promised. From now on, you belong to me.

Copyright © 1998 by Mary Higgins Clark

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First Chapter

Chapter One

Three years later

Barring a blizzard or something bordering on a hurricane, Dr. Susan Chandler walked to work from her brownstone apartment in Greenwich Village to her office in the turn-of-the-century building in SoHo. A clinical psychologist, she had a thriving private practice and at the same time had established something of a public persona as host of a popular radio program, Ask Dr. Susan, that aired each weekday.

The early morning air on this October day was crisp and breezy, and she was glad she had opted for a long-sleeved, turtleneck sweater under her suit jacket.

Her shoulder-length dark blond hair, still damp from the shower, was windblown, causing her to regret not wearing a scarf. She remembered her grandmother's long-ago admonishment, "Don't ever go out with a wet head; you'll catch your death of cold," then realized that she seemed to think about Gran Susie a lot these days. But then, her grandmother had been raised in Greenwich Village, and Susan sometimes wondered if her spirit wasn't hovering nearby.

She stopped for a light at the corner of Mercer and Houston. It was only seven-thirty, and the streets weren't crowded yet. In another hour they would be teeming with Monday morning, back-to-work New Yorkers.

Thank God the weekend's over, Susan said to herself fervently. She had spent most of Saturday and Sunday in Rye with her mother, who had been in low spirits -- understandably so, Susan thought, since Sunday would have been her fortieth wedding anniversary. Then, not helping the general situation, Susan had had an unfortunate encounter with her older sister, Dee, who was visiting from California.

Sunday afternoon, b had met and become friends ten years ago at NYU, when Susan was a twenty-two-year-old second-year law student and Nedda was a guest lecturer. In her third year, Susan had scheduled her classes so that she could work two days a week clerking for Nedda.

All her friends, Nedda being the only exception, had been shocked when, after two years in the Westchester County District Attorney's office, Susan quit her job as assistant D.A. to go back to school and earn her doctorate in psychology. "It's something I have to do," was her only explanation at the time.

Sensing Susan's presence in her doorway, Nedda looked up. Her smile was brief but warm. "Well, look who's here. Good weekend, Susan, or should I ask?"

Nedda knew about both Binky's party and Susan's mother's anniversary.

"It was predictable," Susan said wryly. "Dee got to Mom's house on Saturday, and the two of them ended up sobbing their hearts out. I told Dee her depression was only making it harder for Mother to cope, and she blasted me. Said that if two years ago I had watched my husband swept to his death in an avalanche the way she had watched Jack die, I'd understand what she was going through. She also suggested that if I lent Mom a shoulder to cry on instead of always telling her to get on with her life, I'd be a lot more help to her. When I said that my shoulder is getting arthritic from all the tears, Dee got even angrier. But at least Mom laughed.

"Then there was Dad and Binky's party," she continued. "Incidentally, Dad now requests that I call him 'Charles,' which says it all on that subject." She sighed deeply. "And that was my weekend. Another one like that and I'll be the one who needs counseling. But th en I'm too cheap to hire a therapist, so I'll just end up talking to myself."

Nedda eyed her sympathetically. She was the only one of Susan's friends who knew the full story about Jack and Dee, and about Susan's parents and the messy divorce. "Sounds to me as though you need a survival plan," she said.

Susan laughed. "Maybe you'll come up with one for me. Just put it on my tab, good friend, along with all I owe you already for getting me the radio job. Now I'd better get going. I've got stuff to prepare before the show. And by the way -- have I said thanks recently?"

A year earlier, Marge Mackin, a popular radio host and a close friend of Nedda's, had invited Susan to sit in on her program during a highly publicized trial to comment, both as a legal expert and a psychologist. The success of that first on-air visit led to regular appearances on the program, and when Marge moved on to host a television program, Susan was invited to replace her on the daily radio talk show.

"You're being silly. You wouldn't have gotten the job unless you could handle it. You're darn good and you know it," Nedda said briskly. "Who's your guest today?"

"This week I'll be concentrating on why women should be safety conscious in social situations. Donald Richards, a psychiatrist specializing in criminology, has written a book called Vanishing Women. It deals with some of the disappearances he's been involved with. Many of the cases he solved, but a number of interesting ones are still open. I read the book and it's good. He covers the background of each woman and the circumstances under which she vanished. Then he discusses the possible reasons why such an intelligent woman might get involved with a killer , followed by the step-by-step process of attempting to find out what happened to her. So we'll talk about the book and some of the more interesting cases, and then we'll generally discuss how our listeners might avoid potentially dangerous situations."

"Good subject."

"I think so. I've decided to bring up the Regina Clausen disappearance. That one always intrigued me. Remember her? I used to watch her on CNBC and thought she was great. About six years ago I used my birthday check from Dad to buy a stock she recommended. It turned into a bonanza, so I guess I feel oddly like I owe her something."

Nedda looked up, frowning. "Regina Clausen disappeared about three years ago, after disembarking from a world cruise in Hong Kong. I remember it very well. It got a lot of publicity at the time."

"That was after I left the district attorney's office," Susan said, "but I was visiting a friend when Regina Clausen's mother, Jane -- she lived in Scarsdale at that time -- came in to talk to the D.A. to see if he could help, but there was no indication that Regina had ever left Hong Kong, so of course the Westchester County District Attorney had no jurisdiction. The poor woman had pictures of Regina and kept saying how much her daughter had looked forward to that trip. Anyhow, I've never forgotten the case, so I'll talk about it on air today."

Nedda's expression softened. "I know Jane Clausen slightly. She and I graduated from Smith the same year. She lives on Beekman Place now. She was always very quiet, and I gather Regina was also very shy socially."

Susan raised her eyebrows. "I wish I had realized you know Mrs. Clausen. You might have been able to arrange for me to speak with her. According to my notes, Regina's mother had no inkling that her daughter might be involved with someone, but if I could get her to talk about it, something that didn't seem important at the time might come out and provide some clues."

Nedda frowned in concentration. "Maybe it's not too late. Doug Layton is the Clausen family lawyer. I've met him several times. I'll call him at nine and see if he'll put us in touch with her."

At ten after nine, the intercom on Susan's desk buzzed. It was Janet, her secretary. "Douglas Layton, an attorney, is on line one. Brace yourself, Doctor. He doesn't sound happy."

Every day, Susan wished that Janet, an otherwise excellent secretary, did not feel the need to do a commentary on the people who called. Although the real problem, Susan thought, is that her reaction usually was right on target.

As soon as she began to speak to the Clausen family lawyer it became very clear that he was indeed not happy. "Dr. Chandler, we absolutely resent any exploitation of Mrs. Clausen's grief," he said brusquely. "Regina was her only child. It would be bad enough if her body had been found, but because it has not, Mrs. Clausen agonizes constantly, in a kind of limbo, wondering under what circumstances her daughter may be living, if indeed she is alive. I would have thought a friend of Nedda Harding would be above this kind of sensationalism, exploiting grief with pop psychology."

Susan clamped her lips together for an instant to cut off the heated response she was tempted to make. When she spoke, her tone was chilly, but calm. "Mr. Layton, you've already given the reason the case should be discussed. Surely it is infinitely worse for Mrs. Clausen to be wondering every day of her li fe whether her daughter is alive and suffering somewhere than to have definite knowledge of what really happened to her. I understand that neither the police in Hong Kong nor the private investigators Mrs. Clausen hired were able to uncover a single clue as to what Regina did or where she might have gone after she disembarked. My program is heard in five states. It's a very long shot, I know, but maybe someone who is listening today was on that ship, or was visiting Hong Kong at the same time, and will call in to tell us something helpful, hopefully about seeing Regina after she left the Gabrielle. After all, she was on CNBC regularly, and some people have an excellent memory for faces."

Without waiting for a response, Susan hung up, leaned over and turned on the radio. She had made promos for today's program, referring to her guest author and to the Clausen case. They had run briefly last Friday, and Jed Geany, her producer, had promised that the station would air them again this morning. She uttered a fervent plea that he had not forgotten.

Twenty minutes later, as she studied the school reports of a seventeen-year-old patient, she heard the first of the promos. Now let's keep our fingers crossed that someone who knows something about the case is listening too, she thought.

Copyright © 1998 by Mary Higgins Clark

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Interviews & Essays

On Sunday, April 26th, welcomed Mary Higgins Clark to discuss YOU BELONG TO ME.

Moderator: Thanks for checking out the Auditorium. Today we are pleased to welcome Mary Higgins Clark, who is joining us online to discuss her latest thriller, YOU BELONG TO ME. Welcome back to the live events Auditorium, Mary Higgins Clark. How was your weekend?

Mary Higgins Clark: Busy. I've been signing in three different places this weekend. I just got back from a signing, so happily, it's been busy.

Sam from Hoboken, NJ: Everybody in YOU BELONG TO ME seems so good-looking and single! I, personally, would love to date Susan Chandler. Did you have an inspiration for her character? She was so accomplished.

Mary Higgins Clark: When I'd figured out Susan, I thought that she should have been a prosecutor before, which would explain why her prosecutor's hat is part of the mix. And then, I think psychology is such a fascinating study, and we have Dr. Joy Browne and other people on the air who have listeners call in. But the other part of it is that people will call and discuss intimate parts of their life on radio and never realize that their voices could be recognized. I've always found that very intriguing. So I threw it all in the mix.

Roger Fields from Merced, CA: Where does the title of your book come from? It sounds so familiar -- is it part of a song?

Mary Higgins Clark: Yes, it's the title of a song that was very well known in the '40s: "You Belong to Me." And the lyrics of the song are an intrinsic part of the plot.

Fern from Chester, PA: Jealousy is a big theme in YOU BELONG TO ME. Even Susan Chandler's sister Dee is jealous of Susan's successes. Why did you decide to concentrate on that deadly sin in YOU BELONG TO ME?

Mary Higgins Clark: It was only, again, part of the plot. There's always the why -- why would one sister go after her sister's boyfriend. And I always remember the story of when my mother was a young woman, she was dating someone, but when the big dance was coming, he invited her younger sister to it. And my grandfather shouted, "He will not come into my home and choose between my daughters!" And my mother being my mother said, "Oh, for heaven's sake, let her go."

Carolyn from Illinois: Will you ever write any more stories with Willie and Elvira? I think that was some of your best, although I like all your books.

Mary Higgins Clark: I am writing a short Christmas book called ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT, where Willie and Elvira are the main characters. And there is an anthology that just came out called MURDER ON THE RUN, in which a new story on them appears.

Gareth from Framingham, MA: Hello, Ms. Higgins Clark. I was here for the online chat with your daughter Carol, and she mentioned that at times you read over each other's work and offer suggestions. I was wondering if Carol had any input in YOU BELONG TO ME or if you had any suggestions for TWANGED that were implemented? Thank you for taking my question.

Mary Higgins Clark: It's just as you say: We talk about the books, and she will throw me a chapter and say what do you think, and I will throw her a chapter and say what do you think. We simply are sounding boards for each other, because we know what the other wants to do with the story.

Mike from South Attleboro, MA: I'm a longtime fan of yours, Mrs. Clark. I enjoyed the Henry and Sunday stories in MY GAL SUNDAY. Do you plan to write any more stories with Henry and Sunday? Thank you!

Mary Higgins Clark: Well, they are in a brand-new anthology called MURDER FOR REVENGE -- a story about them called "Power Play" is in that collection.

Christian from Michigan: Where do you come up with such interesting women for your stories?

Mary Higgins Clark: I think that today I like to write about women who have made it on their own and chosen an interesting career. And I try to vary the careers they have chosen.

Penny from the Peach State: In writing YOU BELONG TO ME, did you know who the killer would be before you started? Or did it become evident as you wrote? I only ask because so many times I suspected a different character.

Mary Higgins Clark: I must know who the killer is before I write the first line. If four people might have done the deed, only one would have had the motive to commit the ultimate act -- the taking of another's life.

Andrea from Amarillo, Texas: Where do you get the ideas for your books? When do you write best? Do you have plans for your next novel? I love all of your books! Thank you.

Mary Higgins Clark: Thank you, Andrea. The ideas come from observation and life experience. I lecture once a year on a segment of an around-the-world cruise, and I've observed how many women were alone and lonely, even though they were both socially and financially very secure. That's how that story came into being. My favorite time to write is to start right after a cup of coffee in the morning and to stay with it for five or six hours. My next book will be a Christmas novel, ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT.

Mary Lou from Indiana: I really appreciate the "clean" aspect of your mysteries. Do you find it difficult to keep excessive sex or violence out of your books?

Mary Higgins Clark: I find it absolutely natural. I think footsteps coming up the stairs in a dark house are much more frightening than portraying an exquisitely violent scene. The reader's imagination ought to be part of the reading process.

Destiny from Cyberworld: Would you ever write a book that wasn't a mystery -- either another form of fiction or a nonfiction work?

Mary Higgins Clark: I am going to do a memoir. I would love to write a mainstream novel, use a pen name, send it to my publisher, and see if they'd even consider buying it. That's the sort of thing that keeps a writer honest.

Terrence from Sag Harbor, NY: Even in real life, killers always seem to have a signature -- the turquoise ring is one example in YOU BELONG TO ME. Do you ever read profiles of murderers or follow certain cases to learn about new procedures or to make your mysteries even more authentic?

Mary Higgins Clark: Yes. I have a retired FBI friend and manager, Robert Ressler, who has authored several true-crime novels himself. And I will check with him and New York City detectives or Cape Cod detectives, depending on where the story is set, to make sure that I'm absolutely on target and authentic in investigative procedures.

Catherine from North Carolina: They've been showing movies of several of your books -- they transfer so well into movies. Any thoughts of going to the big screen?

Mary Higgins Clark: It is being offered for the big screen as we speak. The prevailing wisdom in Hollywood is that a male protagonist is big screen, a woman protagonist is TV.

Patrick from South Jersey: I have two children and a full-time job, my wife works part-time.... I am presently finishing my second novel, in French, because I am French. Do you have any advice? It is very difficult to find the time to write. Thank you.

Mary Higgins Clark: I am a member of a writer's group, 12 people who meet on the first Tuesday of every month. We all agree (those of us who have found publishers and publish regularly): A professional writer not only has to have a certain talent and a desire to write; the person who becomes a professional has a need to write and one way or the other finds the time to do it. In the beginning it usually means getting up at dawn or staying up until midnight.

Rose Reeves from Casselberry, FL: I finished reading your latest book YOU BELONG TO ME yesterday. When are you planning to visit central Florida for a book signing?

Mary Higgins Clark: Actually, I signed in Boca the last few weeks. I won't be in Florida again on this book tour.

Annette from Illinois: Mary, besides writing, what are your other passions? Do you ever incorporate any of your passions or hobbies into your books? You are a tremendously talented author -- you give me something to look forward to when I open your book (whether it's for the first time or the tenth time I've read it). Thanks!

Mary Higgins Clark: Them's kind words, and thank you very much. I'm a water rat -- I love the ocean. I used to love to ski, but I hurt my foot and I can't do it anymore. I'm very involved with the family. And I'm active in a number of charitable causes. My husband and I travel and do a few terrific trips a year. Between us we have nine children and 15 grandchildren. And the first communions, confirmations, graduations, and school plays keep us hopping.

James from Cherry Hill, NJ: Is the case of Regina Clausen based on a real-life case?

Mary Higgins Clark: No. It's a "suppose" and "what if." As I mentioned earlier, I have seen how women are alone on cruises and I observed how, even though they are quite successful, they are quite vulnerable because they are quite simply lonely. As someone who was a widow for many years, I understand what they are feeling. In the book, I made the woman a younger woman, which is also valid.

Onero from Jackson, MS: How do you begin writing? Do you start with an outline and them fill in? Do you have the ending in mind first? Do you do extensive character sketches?

Mary Higgins Clark: I always have the ending in mind, even though the exact circumstance will unfold as the story unfolds. I do character sketches. I know how my main characters felt as little kids. When I start the book I have to be able to say in one sentence what it's all about. And then I will do a synopsis of a few chapters at a time.

Chantal Roy from Quebec, Canada: I am very happy to talk with you. :-) I have your books and I love it. (Excuse my bad English -- my first language is French.) My question is: What is your favorite place in New York City? I visited New York last October and I love it.

Mary Higgins Clark: I'm a born and bred New York City kid. Whenever I've been away on a trip, I come back and touch the buildings in Manhattan and say, "I hope no one's been mean to you. I'm back and I'll take care of you again." My favorite part of Manhattan, probably, is around Central Park South, where I have an apartment. That includes the area around Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

Linher from Somerset, NJ: Mrs. Clark: If you were a starting writer, how would you go about getting published?

Mary Higgins Clark: The first thing you have to do is write the book. No publisher will take a chance on an unknown writer who doesn't have a complete manuscript. Get a subscription to Publishers Weekly -- it's the bible of the industry. Buy WRITER'S MARKET and don't send a manuscript to a publisher who does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. It will inevitably come back, and then you will feel rejected. If possible, attend the regional conventions or seminars of the kind of books that you are writing, be it mystery, suspense, or science fiction. That way you will meet both editors and agents. And don't worry if you are rejected -- we all have been. Finish the first novel and start on the second -- don't wait for the first novel to sell. And finally, when you're really discouraged, think "royalty checks."

Joanne from Chicago: Do you have a favorite author that you like to read?

Mary Higgins Clark: My daughter and I give each other's names all the time, so: Carol Higgins Clark. There are so many authors I love. I just got the new book by Anne Tyler.

Catherine from North Carolina: Any book signings planned for North Carolina?

Mary Higgins Clark: I don't think so. I was in North Carolina last spring. I'm going to be in Kentucky, Arkansas, Salt Lake City, and Chicago, off the top of my head.

Dreamer from GA: I am a great fan. Where do you research all your plot ideas? Do you ever use actual police material?

Mary Higgins Clark: I do extensive research and I do it myself, because I find that when I do my own research, I find information I didn't even know I was looking for -- serendipity. And then when I finish the book -- for example, the one on multiple personalities -- I ask a doctor who heads the Multiple Personality Disorder Center, which is now known as the Disassociative Personality Center, to vet the manuscript for me to make sure I have not made any mistakes. I did the same thing with in vitro fertilization, post-traumatic stress disorder.... You shouldn't expect them to read the entire manuscript. When I refer to the medical problem, I highlight it so that I will not make a technical mistake.

Carrie from LA: Which television shows do you like to watch? Have you ever thought of developing a television mystery series?

Mary Higgins Clark: There are negotiations going on right now for a series involving Elvira and Willie for Lifetime cable. Other than the news, I am not a faithful observer of television.

Stephanie Chun, 13, from Illinois: I did a speech about the book LET ME CALL YOU SWEETHEART, and I was wondering, to you, did Jeff and Kerry end up getting together in the end?

Mary Higgins Clark: Oh, sure. Oh, absolutely! They were made for each other.

Edward from Detroit, MI: Did you work with a map to plot the stops of the cruise ship Gabrielle, or do you have a love for geography?

Mary Higgins Clark: I was very accurate with the Gabrielle, because I've done cruises. I have the itineraries of cruise ships, so I would be accurate of where they would go. And to fit the itinerary to old Algiers, I had to change the stopping point twice.

Rory from Florida: Hello, Mary, I have two questions for you: 1) How do you overcome writer's block? 2) What are your future plans for writing? Thanks a bunch!!!!

Mary Higgins Clark: I was on a panel and someone asked Warren Murphy, a writer, what he did about writer's block. His answer said it all, "I support my family writing. Have you ever called a plumber because you have a leaky sink and have him say, I can't come today, I have plumber's block?" When a story isn't working, you stay with it until you figure out what is wrong and correct it. My next book is the Christmas story ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT. It will be out in late October.

Doulas from Amelia Island, FL: Do you ever get the creeps when you are writing your books? The scene where Hilda gets it in her apartment made me stand up and lock all my doors.

Mary Higgins Clark: Good! You got your money's worth. My job is to make you want to lock your doors. And if I scare myself, I'm delighted.

Linda from Somerset, NJ: You mentioned that you belong to a writer's group earlier. Could you tell us how the group works and how I can find one to join?

Mary Higgins Clark: These are 12 professional writers, but if you took a writing course at a local college, you could start or join a writer's workshop, which is what I did when I was 21-years-old, out of my first short story course. The best advice I can give a writer is to take writing courses, because it puts you in the milieu of other people who are doing the same thing.

Soc from Texas: All of the women in your latest book have great intuition. Are you a believer in women's intuition?

Mary Higgins Clark: Oh, I absolutely believe in women's intuition. I have a friend who is a psychic, and she absolutely will not read her own family. The few times she would do us, she holds an object and makes astonishing predictions. She will never take money from anyone, and she treats it as a gift which must be very, very carefully used. But I do believe that many women have a very keen intuition.

Jay Fischer from Providence, RI: Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? Did your parents encourage you? Did your daughter Carol always know she wanted to write as well?

Mary Higgins Clark: I was writing poetry from the time I could hold a pen -- when I was six or seven, I wrote my first poem. I always knew I was going to be a writer. When I was 15 and worked after school, I would walk to work down Fifth Avenue and pick out the clothes I would wear when I was a successful writer. Carol did not initially go into writing, but she typed my books for me and made such keen and accurate suggestions from the time she was 18 that she finally realized that she did have the storytelling gift.

Garvey from Clayton, MO: I love the jacket of YOU BELONG TO ME. It seems very ominous. Is the building based on an actual building in New York City?

Mary Higgins Clark: It's not an actual building, but to me it suggests the Flatiron Building and the buildings in SoHo. It is not one particular building.

Gary from Jacksonville: My wife and I have enjoyed all your books. What are some of your favorite vacation spots? And are any within a four-hour drive from New York City?

Mary Higgins Clark: Yes. Cape Cod is four and a half hours from New Jersey. Spring Lake, New Jersey, is only an hour and 15 minutes from our home in northern New Jersey, and it's on the ocean.

Aaron from Reno, NV: You have now become a household name. Have you ever feared for your safety due to some overzealous fan? Do you take special precautions?

Mary Higgins Clark: No, I've never feared for my safety; like most human beings today, we have a very good security system. My house was burglarized last September, but I don't think I was singled out. There were a number of sophisticated burglaries in the area.

Annette from Lanark: Mary, when and where will you be signing books in Chicago? I'd love to meet you. You are my favorite author -- I just love your books.

Mary Higgins Clark: I will be in Chicago during the first week in May -- around the fifth and sixth -- somewhere around then. I don't have the exact dates with me.

Rose from Davidson, NC: Hello, Mary! I'm thrilled to find you online. Have any of your books started out as a short story and then you realized you had more to say? How do you approach short stories versus novels when you write?

Mary Higgins Clark: None of them went into a novel, although a number of my short stories were really novellas and could have gone further if I'd wanted them to. There are many situations that do not take 400 to 500 pages to tell. And that's why the short story form is very satisfying for a writer.

Moderator: Thank you for joining us this evening, Mary Higgins Clark. Do you have any closing remarks for your fans?

Mary Higgins Clark: Simply that I am very grateful to them for enjoying my books. It's fun to chat with them online. And if they keep reading, I'll keep writing.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 65 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 65 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2004

    A big Mary Higgins Clark fan

    This was a truely suspenseful book. There was much action and I really find that that's the best key in a book. It was very suspenseful too. A phsycologist named Dr. Susan Chandler is working to solve a women who went missing on a cruise three years earlier. She discovers the person responsible might be someone she knows. I truly admire Mary Higgins Clark's work. This is the second book of hers I've read and I can't wait to read another one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013


    Great story that kept you guessing until the end.

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  • Posted December 20, 2011

    Highly reccomend

    One of the best reads. You must check it out!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2010

    Big disappointment

    This book was slow to get into. This book just rocked back and forth between story lines without going anywhere. Many characters to try and keep straight. Several times I considered giving up and not finishing. I forced myself to finish. I have read other books by MHC and found them very interesting this one to me was a dud.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2009

    Great Fast-Paced Suspense

    Mary Higgins Clark has done it again - kept me quickly turning the pages and guessing til the very end. A great read. Well done!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2007

    A reviewer

    I love Mary Higgins Clark but was a bit disappointed by this one. It started out good but lost steam along the way. I also thought it was predictable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2006

    Now this is MHC at her finest!!

    Believable characters and a suspense level that offered three choices as to who was the killer of single women aboard a cruise ship made YOU BELONG TO ME one of Mary Higgins Clark's best. By a strange coincidence, an episode of UNSOLVED MYSTERIES featured the disappearance of a young woman aboard a ship as I was reading YOU BELONG TO ME, making it all the more frightening.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2005


    This book was very good. It is my favorite MHC book. Although at some points it was boring (for only a couple of minutes), the suspense in other parts made up for it. I love this book. Such of a great story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2005

    Mary Higgins Clark fan

    ''you belong to me'' is a very suspenseful book! I would recommend this book to every one who loves mystery and suspense!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2004

    Compelling Premise, But Didn't Thrill

    Mary Higgins Clark books are always enjoyable, reliable mysteries. It's like McDonald's--ya generally know what they're selling. But You Belong to Me just couldn't hold my attention. It started off fine, but there were some goofy things that just left me scratching my head. No spoiler here...twice the heroine borrowed money ($20K, as I recall) to buy up a bunch of shipboard photos--searching for ONE. I can't believe that no one involved in getting this book to print found that absurd, as I did. That said, I'll still buy her other books. She's not the Queen of Suspense for nothing. But my recommendation is that you grab a different book from the shelf. This one's not her best...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2004

    I expected more

    I thought I was a Mary Higgens Clark fan, and although I think her novels are fabulous, after having just finished reading this one, I wasn't as impressed as I remember being after reading other Clark novels. Perhaps it is because this novel just seemed so predictable to me. Previously I remembered guessing till the end, but with You Belong to me, I knew who the culprit was way before the ending. I can't say this for a fact, but in all the novels by Mary Higgins Clark that I have read at least, the 'bad guy' is always the person who is always in the storyline, but doesn't seem to serve a real important of a purpose. In You Belong to Me, even if you didn't know this, if you read carefully and examine the minor details, it is easy to guess the culprit. Now I just want to say I am in no way whatsoever badmouthing Clark, I think she is a great writer, this novel didn't impress me too much, but it wasn't bad. If you haven't ever read Mary Higgens Clark, I would reccomend this book to you, or any other book that she has written. She is a great writer to read for the first time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2003

    who knew?

    You Belong to Me, by Mary Higgins Clark, is a very suspenseful novel that engrosses and captivates the audience with its page turning twists and turns. One of the great qualities of this book is that the author makes an effort to entwine the characters to the audience. So that as the reader you are always feeling what the character is feeling. For me this makes any book more enjoyable if I find myself getting caught up in the moment. The fast moving plot is truly entertaining when Susan Chandler, a clinical psychologist, finds herself caught up in a web of murder and mystery after she gets involved in a disappearance of a wealthy and powerful women. Little does she know that she herself may be the next marked for murder. Throughout the trials and tribulations of Susan¿s seek to find the murderer she is blinded by the fact that the murderer could be the person right in front of her. This book was made for non-stop reading and endless guessing. In every charter you will be sure of who the killer is and then be in a state of shock when you uncover the truth. This book was the first of the Mary Higgins Clark collection that I have read and I¿m sure it won¿t be my last. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who enjoys an edge of your seat murder mystery. With every page turning detail it leads the reader to question the motives of every character, leaving them to come up with their own conclusion in the end. There was not one chapter that wasn¿t left with a suspenseful grabber that urged you to read on and on. For anyone who loves the thrill of a suspenseful, hair rising, always keeps you guessing novel, then I suggest that you go and buy this book right away.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2003

    first book read of mhc's

    This was the first of her books I've read, and it was wonderful! Full of suspense, mystery, and it had a very good plot. I'm just very pleased with this book and I hope to read more of her's.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2003

    I thought I knew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I was sure it had to be but then in the end everything made sense.I was so very sure i had solved the crime but i was so off!! It was the best book i had read in a while so the then day i went and bought 10 of her books!!! I am glad I found her books!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2002

    endearing main character makes novel memorable

    Dr. Susan Chandler is truly my favourite MHC heroine. While others have been simply likeable and interesting, Susan somehow comes across as being more real than the rest. The motivations of other characters - Dr. Don Richards, Alexander Wright, and Douglas Layton - are written in such a way that any of their thoughts/actions could be interpreted as a murderer's thoughts/actions. It is not until the end, of course, that the reader will discover who *really* dunnit, and the actions of the "innocent" parties will reveal an entirely different personal journey and intent on their part. It is these rich character developments and relationships much more than the obvious need to discover the identity of the killer that continues to keep me interested in this novel and the characters - 4 years after I've read it. Still, and always will be, my most loved MHC mystery!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2002

    Absolutely great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I really would recommend this book to everyone. It was really good. I have never read any of her books but I was so impressed that I will start reading her stuff. The way she developed the characters was superb. Two thumbs up!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nicely done Ms Clark, Nicely done.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2002


    simply unputdownable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2002

    Good story and unlikely murderer

    The murderer was not who I thought and of course you were led to believe another was. The other 4 books I read by her were better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2002

    A real page turner

    This is one of her best ones yet. I couldnt put it down. She takes so many turns in the book I was astonished at who the 'killer' turned out to be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2001


    MHC does it again. This was a 'keep on reading' book that didn't want to take time out. It was read in two days and was one of her best books. Although lots of characters, there were times I had to look back, but it was most enjoyable. I'm very proud to say that I guessed who the killer was when only halfway through this book. This was excellent reading and I now look forward to my next book by MHC

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 65 Customer Reviews

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