The Christmas Thief (Regan Reilly Series)

The Christmas Thief (Regan Reilly Series)

by Mary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark

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Overview

Mary Higgins Clark, America's Queen of Suspense, and her daughter, bestselling mystery writer Carol Higgins Clark, have again joined forces to create a suspenseful and humorous holiday tale.

Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner turned amateur sleuth, teams up with private investigator Regan Reilly to solve another Christmas mystery. In Deck the Halls, they rescued Regan's kidnapped father. This time they get in the middle of a case involving a beautiful eighty-foot blue spruce that has been chosen to spend the holidays as Rockefeller Center's famous Christmas tree. The folks who picked the tree don't have a clue that attached to one of its branches is a flask chock-full of priceless diamonds that Packy Noonan, a scam artist just released from prison, had hidden there over twelve years ago.

An excited Packy breaks his parole and heads to Stowe, Vermont, to reclaim his loot. Once there, he is horrified to discover that his special tree will be heading to New York City the next morning. With a bumbling crew consisting of Jo-Jo, Benny, and an unsuccessful poet, Milo, he knows he has to act fast.

What Packy does not know is that Alvirah and Regan are on a weekend trip to Stowe with Alvirah's husband, Willy; Regan's fiancé, Jack; Regan's parents, Luke and Nora; and Alvirah's friend Opal, a lottery winner who lost all her winnings in Packy's scam. On Monday morning when they're supposed to head home, they learn that the tree is missing, Packy Noonan may be in the vicinity, and Opal has disappeared.

From two of America's beloved storytellers, The Christmas Thief is filled with suspense, comic characters, and holiday cheer, and is sure to delight its readers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743274203
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 11/09/2004
Series: Regan Reilly Series
Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 46,464
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

The #1 New York Times bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark wrote forty suspense novels, four collections of short stories, a his­torical novel, a memoir, and two children’s books. With bestselling author Alafair Burke she wrote the Under Suspicion series including The Cinderella Murder, All Dressed in White, The Sleeping Beauty Killer, Every Breath You Take, and You Don’t Own Me. With her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, she coauthored five more suspense novels. More than one hundred million copies of her books are in print in the United States alone. Her books are international bestsellers.

Carol Higgins Clark is the author of the bestselling Regan Reilly mysteries. She is coauthor, along with her mother, Mary Higgins Clark, of a bestselling holiday suspense series. Also an actress, Carol Higgins Clark studied at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and has recorded several novels. She received AudioFile’s Earphones Award of Excellence for her reading of Jinxed. She lives in New York City. Her website is CarolHigginsClark.com.

Hometown:

Saddle River, New Jersey and New York, New York

Date of Birth:

December 24, 1929

Place of Birth:

New York, New York

Education:

New York University; B.A., Fordham University, 1979

Read an Excerpt


Chapter 1

Packy Noonan carefully placed an x on the calendar he had pinned to the wall of his cell in the federal prison located near Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. Packy was overflowing with love for his fellow man. He had been a guest of the United States Government for twelve years, four months, and two days. But because he had served over 85 percent of his sentence and been a model prisoner, the parole board had reluctantly granted Packy his freedom as of November 12, which was only two weeks away.

Packy, whose full name was Patrick Coogan Noonan, was a world-class scam artist whose offense had been to cheat trusting investors out of nearly $100 million in the seemingly legitimate company he had founded. When the house of cards collapsed, after deducting the money he had spent on homes, cars, jewelry, bribes, and shady ladies, most of the rest, nearly $80 million, could not be accounted for.

In the years of his incarceration, Packy's story never changed. He insisted that his two missing associates had run off with the rest of the money and that, like his victims, he, too, had been the victim of his own trusting nature.

Fifty years old, narrow-faced, with a hawklike nose, close-set eyes, thinning brown hair, and a smile that inspired trust, Packy had stoically endured his years of confinement. He knew that when the day of deliverance came, his nest egg of $80 million would sufficiently compensate him for his discomfort.

He was ready to assume a new identity once he picked up his loot; a private plane would whisk him to Brazil, and a skillful plastic surgeon there had already been engaged to rearrange the sharp features that might have served as the blueprint for the working of his brain.

All the arrangements had been made by his missing associates, who were now residing in Brazil and had been living on $10 million of the missing funds. The remaining fortune Packy had managed to hide before he was arrested, which was why he knew he could count on the continued cooperation of his cronies.

The long-standing plan was that upon his release Packy would go to the halfway house in New York, as required by the terms of his parole, dutifully follow regulations for about a day, then shake off anyone following him, meet his partners in crime, and drive to Stowe, Vermont. There they were to have rented a farmhouse, a flatbed trailer, a barn to hide it in, and whatever equipment it took to cut down a very large tree.

"Why Vermont?" Giuseppe Como, better known as Jo-Jo, wanted to know. "You told us you hid the loot in New Jersey. Were you lying to us, Packy?"

"Would I lie to you?" Packy had asked, wounded. "Maybe I don't want you talking in your sleep."

Jo-Jo and Benny, forty-two-year-old fraternal twins, had been in on the scam from the beginning, but both humbly acknowledged that neither one of them had the fertile mind needed to concoct grandiose schemes. They recognized their roles as foot soldiers of Packy and willingly accepted the droppings from his table since, after all, they were lucrative droppings.

"O Christmas tree, my Christmas tree," Packy whispered to himself as he contemplated finding the special branch of one particular tree in Vermont and retrieving the flask of priceless diamonds that had been nestling there for over thirteen years.

Copyright © 2004 by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark

Customer Reviews

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The Christmas Thief (Regan Reilly Series) 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
ToReadPerchancetoDream More than 1 year ago
Mary Higgins Clark has long been a favorite author of mine. Her daughter Carol Higgins Clark has been writing with her and alone for quite some time now, but I'm partial to Mary. This book was a joint effort. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. The main characters have been written about in other books, but in The Christmas Thief, they lacked substance. The attempt to fill the reader in on them and their personalities from past stories was half-hearted at best. The bad guys didn't come off any better, either. I think they were supposed to be bumblers, providing comic relief, but they weren't very funny - just inept. Worst of all, this was supposed to be a Christmas book, the main theme is about the tree which was earmarked to become the Rockefeller Center. It didn't feel "Christmassy" at all to me. Just because a book is set at Christmas time doesn't make it a Christmas book. The author must add those bits of Christmas spirit in the writing, and the Higgins Clark ladies failed to do it. I'm afraid I can't recommend this one. It's a very quick read, so if you find it at your library and are curious, you can go that route. Otherwise, keep looking.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I normally love Clark's books but I had a difficult time even finishing this one. The plot was lame, the characters were very unrealistic, and it was so predictable there was no suspense. Sometimes it seems that long-time authors just churn out new books without much thought, knowing it will sell on their name alone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a big Mary Higgins Clark fan, however, I found this book very disappointing. The plot was simplistic and unimaginative. The character development was so poor that I found myself thinking the thief seemed more human than the other characters. Save your money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this unabridged CD version for my daughter for Christmas. I am now listening to it myself. The screeching voices used to portray the characters is rendering this a trial to the ear. I will never buy another book read by Carol Higgins Clark! My daughter nor I are able to finish this assult on the eardrums. I am very disappointed because I always buy the latest 'Christmas novel' MHC has out as a gift.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an ok book. Maybe because its not my normal genre but I found the character development to be lacking & the plot seemed to progress like Clark was following a set formula, everything was pretty predictable
Guest More than 1 year ago
Many dramatic turn of events happen. Peter is a nice but sneaky. He is the guy that steals an object. In all of the commotion he ends up with a couple of accomplices. He is one of the smartest thieves around. Sometimes the bad boys are the best. The author really allows you to think about the plot. He does not jump around and he does not do a lot of flash backs. This is one of the many points I liked. The setting is near Colorado, but then goes to New York City. I would recommend this book to any one who has troubling reading. This book was an easy reader. It was also short and to the point. I would rate this book an 8. It was a real page turner.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Half way through the book a plot comes out. It combines a Mary book and a Carol book which is where characterization comes in, i didn't read any of them and was so lost. It was a waste of time and ended so lamely. If it's in your heart to read this, rent it from the library.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cute, funny book to read during the holiday season. I just felt that it was a little cheesy and unrealistic. I didn't feel the book had a good flow.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mary and Carol have done it again. This was a great Christmas mystery. It was fun to read! The characters are well defined and truly hilarious. I reccommend this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a refreshing story, it has it all, warmth, mystery, fun, and old friends. A must read for the season.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you loved Deck The Halls then you must read The Christmas Thief. It makes a great holiday read and a great gift for a mystery fan. It's fun, captivating, and the Packy Noonan character is really just a blast to follow. I highly suggest this one for a cold winter night by a fire.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read enjoyable ,
NCRainstorm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mary Higgins Clark has long been a favorite author of mine. Her daughter Carol Higgins Clark has been writing with her and alone for quite some time now, but I'm partial to Mary. This book was a joint effort. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. The main characters have been written about in other books, but in The Christmas Thief, they lacked substance. The attempt to fill the reader in on them and their personalities from past stories was half-hearted at best. The bad guys didn't come off any better, either. I think they were supposed to be bumblers, providing comic relief, but they weren't very funny - just inept.Worst of all, this was supposed to be a Christmas book, the main theme is about the tree which was earmarked to become the Rockefeller Center. It didn't feel "Christmassy" at all to me. Just because a book is set at Christmas time doesn't make it a Christmas book. The author must add those bits of Christmas spirit in the writing, and the Higgins Clark ladies failed to do it.I'm afraid I can't recommend this one. It's a very quick read, so if you find it at your library and are curious, you can go that route. Otherwise, keep looking.
universehall on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I kind of don't know where to start with this book. I think the problem is that while it was a terribly written book - I really did enjoy reading it, and got exactly what I wanted out of the experience.Let me explain. Around Christmastime, I got a strange urge to read some light, Christmas-themed mysteries. I went to the discount isle at my local bookstore and wound up picking up this one and two others. I wanted to read something that wouldn't strain my brain very much, and would give me a pleasant, Christmas-time kind of feeling.Well, above and beyond the other two books of its kind that I read, this book managed to be what I wanted. It was a very light, pleasant, uncomplicated book that left me with a pleasant, Christmast-time kind of feeling. However (and I apologize to all the Mary Higgins Clark fans out there) this is *NOT* a well-written book. Absolutely none of the characters are believable. The story is inane and silly. The descriptions of characters are poor and the dialogue is about as stiff and unrealistic as it could get. And yet... I enjoyed it. In fact, its badness could be a major factor in why I enjoyed it. It was fun to laugh at how poorly it was written while I was reading it.But that isn't the complete picture, because this book succeeds in being what it was meant to be - a piece of light reading for a particular audience. It was never MEANT to be a great work of literature. It is the literary equivalent of a Big Mac, and in that it suceeds fabulously.
scoutlee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed in this book. MHC is my favorite author and I was excited to read a holiday book from her. While reading it, I often found my mind wandering and just simply lost interest in the story. May be next year's story will be better.
bookwoman247 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Con man Packy Noonan has been sitting in prison for 13 years. Before his incarceration, he took the precaution of hiding the cache of diamonds he'd purchased with the millions he'd swindled from gullible investors, and he has plans to retrieve the diamonds and hightail it to Brazil.Unfortunately for Packy, the tree where he'd hidden his stash has been selected to grace Rockerfeller Center, and is about to be cermoniously cut down and reomved from its current location near the Von Trapp family lodge near Stowe., VT..Complicating things even further for Packy is the fact that Opal Fogarty, a former lottery winner whom Packy had devastated with one of his scams, is enjoying a vacation at the Von Trapp ski resort. Among the friends accompanying Opal are amateur sleuth Alivirah Meehan and P.I. Regan Reilly.I enjoyed this enough to finish it. It was cute and light, but not quite to my taste. I'm not sure exactly why. I don't think there was anything really wrong with it at all. I'm sure others would appreciate it more. At least I spent an entertaining day with this book.
cmbest524 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I couldn't even get to the second paragraph. It has awkward phrasing and conversation. A lot of the story line is just distracting without adding to the plot.
bibliophile26 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not particularly memorable, but an entertaining story about the tree for NY Rockefeller Center.
aprildt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a fun, fast read. Light, humorous. I don't care for Carol's style of writing, but I love Mary's. This suspenceful story traces a con artist as he is released from prison, catches up with his accomplices, and steals away to Vermont, where he hid a flask full of diamonds in the branches of a spruce tree years ago. Too bad that very tree has been selected as the tree to be displayed in Rockefeller Center, and is about to be cut down!
Cecilturtle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A quick light read. The characters are stereotyped and the plot is predictable, but it makes for agreeable fire-side Christmas reading
dbhutch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a story of a missing Christmas tree that is to be taken to Rockefeller Center, three crooks and millions in missing money. In this book Alvirah Meehan and her husband are going to Vermont with friends and invite another friend Opal from their group for people who have won lottery money. The man who swindled money from Opal is Packy and he is getting released from the Federal Pen. The money he swindled from people including Opal was never found and his two cronies left town. The twins have been contacted to meet up with Packy after his release and have thing set in motion following Packy's very close instructions. While visiting Vermont Opal takes a few lessons in cross country skiing and sees a man who she can not remember who he is til early the next morning when she wakes from a nightmare and goes to check it out , when she remembers it was one of the twins that Packy ran with... she is seen by them and drugged, tied up, while her friends are looking for her .. everyone finds out the bug tree which is going to Rockefeller Center is missing also and everyone starts looking for the tree , Opal,Packy and one of the cronies. Ofcourse Alvirah is on the case and everyone, the diamonds that the money was switched for and the tree is soon found
BNreader56SC More than 1 year ago
The Christmas Thief is typical of the collaboration of this mother/daughter team of writers. Although I enjoyed the book it is not particularly memorable and the main characters of Regan and Jack Reilly almost seem like minor peripheral players with the antagonists taking a lead roll. I found myself rooting for the henchmen because they were more of a focus for the story. I felt sorry for their poor choices. Other Christmas books have had a better plot line and character development. If you want to read an okay but forgettable book, then check this out. I would look for a less expensive used copy if you intend to purchase.
Bsq More than 1 year ago
Loved it. I couldn't put. It down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It wasn't t really an "edge of your seat" read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago