Regan Reilly is back. The smart, saucy sleuth featured in all of Carol Higgins Clark's bestselling novels was last seen in Deck the Halls, the holiday thriller Carol wrote with her mother, Mary Higgins Clark.
Now Regan is in New York to attend a crime conference organized by her celebrity-author mother. A friend, Thomas Pilsner -- the frenetic president of the Settlers' Club on Gramercy Park -- calls Regan, desperately pleading for help. Thomas is distraught over the sudden suspicious deaths of two members of the Settlers' Club. The men had promised to donate a cache of valuable diamonds to save the Club. But now the diamonds are gone, the men are dead, and Thomas is a mess. He fears the police will suspect he is at the heart of both mysteries, and worse yet, he'll lose his job.
Enter Regan. Who better than the star of Decked, Snagged, Iced, and Twanged to solve the mystery of the missing diamonds and suspicious deaths? Who better to contend with the quirky characters around the Club, such as Lydia Sevatura, the self-styled "Princess of Love," who operates a dating service, and her butler, Maldwin Feckles, who has just opened the first school of butlering in New York City? And who better than Carol Higgins Clark, with her sparkling, canny prose, to keep the readers guessing to the end "who done it"?
Published to coincide with the paperback of Deck the Halls, Fleeced is a witty portrait of modern urban life. This fifth Regan Reilly mystery proves once again that Carol Higgins Clark is a uniquely talented writer.
Los Angeles PI Regan Reilly crosses the continent to visit Manhattan, her parents, and lover (New York cop Jack "no relation" Reilly), but ends up with almost all of her time consumed by a murder mystery. Clark's breezy, choppy style she crams 81 chapters into a page count achieved with generous amounts of white space and cavalcade of eccentric characters are the sum of the book. Dithering friend Thomas Pilsner, president of the Settlers' Club in Gramercy Park, calls Regan when two of the club's oldest and wealthiest members die just before they were to give the club four diamonds valued at more than $4 million. The money would have allowed Pilsner to save the venerable but deteriorating club but, alas, the diamonds have disappeared. Convinced that the "accidental" deaths were nothing of the sort, Pilsner wants Regan to prove it and recover the missing diamonds. A nascent butlering school, a dating service, a histrionic movie director, a pair of grasping con men and a couple of stuffed sheep figure prominently in the cast. A strange collection of oddballs and schemers have made the Settlers' Club the focus of their attentions, and the author rapidly switches her attentions from one to another till they collide in a climactic scene in which the killer stands revealed. Clark's light touch can be entertaining, but those expecting a real solution to the murder might be disappointed. (Oct. 23) Forecast: With a nine-city author tour and foreign rights already sold in France and Germany, plus the high name recognition, this title seems destined for generous sales. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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January 30, 2006
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Excerpt from Fleeced by Carol Higgins Clark
Regan Reilly glanced out the window of the plane she'd been on for the last five hours, thrilled to finally spot the skyline of Manhattan. It's great to be back, she thought. This is where I belong. For a lot of reasons. Not the least of which was her new beau -- the head of the Major Case Squad in New York City -- one Jack Reilly, who thank God was no relation.
A private investigator in Los Angeles, thirty-one-year-old Regan was planning to attend the crime convention that her mother, mystery writer Nora Regan Reilly, had organized with a handful of her fellow authors. Regan's father, Luke, the owner of three funeral homes in New Jersey, would be there too. It was at Christmastime, when her father had been kidnapped, that Regan had met Jack Reilly. They'd been involved in a coast-to-coast romance for three months.
"I'd do anything that would result in your happiness, Regan," Luke had joked -- more than once since he was safely home -- "even be kidnapped."
Yes, Jack makes me happy, Regan mused as the wheels of the plane smoothly hit the pavement and the pilot taxied to the gate with no delays.
At the baggage claim Regan was inordinately pleased that for once her suitcases were among the first to be spit down the chute. She hoisted them onto the cart she'd rented and hurried out to grab a cab. There was only one person on the taxi line. This is all so easy today, Regan thought. Too easy. Something's got to go wrong. But even though it was after five o'clock on a Thursday, her cab made great time getting into the city.
As they passed the Plaza Hotel and headed across Central Park South, Regan smiled. Almost there, she thought. She'd be joining her parents at the convention's opening cocktail party and then for dinner. Jack had an awards ceremony he had to attend out on Long Island, but she'd see him tomorrow.