Best-selling author Mary Higgins Clark has died. She was 92
Mary Higgins Clark was one of the best-selling authors of all time.
Clark was best known for her 'queen of suspense' novels, with signature plots involving captivating murder mystery plot twists and the female detective.
Although she has published some 50 novels over five decades, those tend to win her most praise for a plot that involves killers easily caught by victims who quickly surrenders their valuables.
For her part, Clark lived in terror of getting murdered.
In her 1986 autobiography, More than Fifty Mysteries, she recalled walking to the beach after an afternoon of visiting around Cape Cod.
Clark recalled how she did some walking on the beach.
'And then I don't remember much - aside from opening the bedroom window, quietly turning off the house lights, and stepping out onto the steps,' she wrote.
'As I walked, though, a strange thing happened. Since this was late afternoon on a Saturday, I was supposed to be at home - sitting in my rocking chair, reading 'A Visit from St. Nicholas,' as everybody always did with me.
'So, what was the hurry? Why did I walk across the sand to the window, take my trousers off, flop down on the front of the sofa, look around? I suppose I felt like saying, 'I'll see you in St. Luke's church, old chap.''
The next thing she remembered was being in a stretcher on a gurney, being hauled away by four 'very large Boston police officers,' all with bandages.
'Maybe they thought I was some sort of criminal: I had no idea what had happened to me.
'Then somebody came up to me and said, `Mary, we thought you might want to talk to your friend Dr. Hyde,' who was also hospitalized with a mystery illness,' Clark wrote.
'When I got into the back seat of the ambulance, I felt really bad.'
The following day, while visiting the hospital, her brother and sister-in-law were told that she had suffered two strokes.
'Suddenly, suddenly, there was this realization that I had experienced something otherworldly. That what I had been describing only three days before seemed more like a vision - an inexplicable dream. . . .
Mary Higgins Clark, with her beloved late husband, Dennis Hull. Clark was best known for her 'queen of suspense' novels, with signature plots involving captivating murder mystery plot twists and the female detective. Her first novel, 'Police Detective', was published in 1941.
'I mean - what was it like?'
Mary Higgins Clark remembers toking on a pipe, still hallucinating, just the way it was 30 years ago.
'What else are you supposed to do, but to tell the doctors how I felt?' she remembered.
'My problem was never could I face those men; they seemed so fuddy-duddy and overbearing.'
However, now in her mid-80s, she did manage to break the silence with the doctor, writing down her own account of what happened.
'I was a happy person, and I was trying to get away from all of that. I thought, ''What a darned fool to write such a thing down!"'
In 1981, she took a year off, retiring for the first time in her career.
However, she soon started to write again, and never quite made up her mind about what kind of a writer she was.
'Did I want to write something that would entertain and be popular? Or was this a daily thing, dictated by my head? Would my art be so poor? Would my efforts to satisfy me leave me feeling inadequate, like a second-rate poet, or a poor writer - 'I'm not much good, but at least I have a nice name'?
'Probably in some people that's true. I didn't want to see that happening to me.
'I wanted to feel as if I was doing something for myself, more than just for this wonderful medium.'
Clark went on to become a prolific television critic in magazines like The Hollywood Reporter and People, partly influenced by David Brooks's 1984 bestseller with the same title.
However, she has still had trouble getting 'The Handmaid's Tale' episode of 'The Handmaid's Tale,' which was adapted from her 1980 novel, to air on television.