A desperate mother.
Her missing child.
A stolen chalice.
With Silent Night, Mary Higgins Clark, America's own Queen of Suspense, gave her readers their best Christmas present ever.
Now, with All Through the Night, she once again celebrates the Christmas season with a tale of suspense that will keep readers turning the pages -- all through the night.
At the center of the novel are two of Mary Higgins Clark's most beloved characters, Alvirah, the lottery winner turned amateur sleuth, and her husband, Willy, both of them caught up in a Christmas mystery that calls on all of Alvirah's deductive powers, as well as Willy's world-class common sense.
The story begins when a young unmarried woman leaves her newborn child on the rectory doorstep at a church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. At the same moment, inside the church, a young man is stealing a treasured artifact, a chalice adorned with a single star-shaped diamond. Both the infant and the chalice disappear.
Seven years later, a few weeks before Christmas, Alvirah and Willy are busy helping Willy's sister Cordelia, a nun who runs a thrift shop that doubles as an after-school shelter for neighborhood kids, prepare for the upcoming Christmas pageant. The future of the shelter is threatened, however, when the city condemns the building for that use, and it is further jeopardized when a nearby brownstone to which the shelter was to be moved turns out to have been willed to a young couple who were tenants in the building. Alvirah refuses to believe that the will is genuine and sets out to prove that the couple are con artists. Soon she is involved in the mystery of the chalice and the child.
In All Through the Night, Mary Higgins Clark has fashioned a Christmas gift for all her readers.
Clark's popular lottery winners, amateur sleuth Alvirah and her husband, Willy, are getting ready for Christmas. When the local after-school center is threatened and a friend's will is contested, Alvirah goes on the job. Before long, she also finds herself trying to locate a child abandoned seven years earlier by a young mother and trying to solve the mystery of a stolen chalice. Normally known for her suspenseful stories, Clark (You Belong to Me, Audio Reviews, LJ 6/1/98) doesn't quite deliver. The listener isn't all that surprised at any of the revelations at the end of the program. The reading, by the author's daughter, best-selling writer and actor Carol Higgins Clark, is lively. However, numerous characters and little voice differentiation make the narrative difficult to follow. The author is always popular, but this is not an essential purchase. Recommended for larger collections. Adrienne Furness, Lockport P.L., NY -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Simon & Schuster
October 13, 1998
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Excerpt from All Through The Night by Mary Higgins Clark
There were twenty-two days to go before Christmas, but Lenny was doing his Christmas shopping early this year. Secure in the knowledge that no one knew he was there, and standing so still and quiet that he hardly could hear himself breathe, he watched from the confessional as Monsignor Ferris went about the rounds of securing the church for the night. With a contemptuous smile, Lenny waited impatiently as the side doors were checked and the lights in the sanctuary extinguished. He shrank back when he saw the monsignor turn to walk down the side aisle, which meant that he would pass directly by the confessional. He cursed silently when a floorboard in the enclosure squeaked. Through a slit in the curtain he could see the clergyman stop and tilt his head, as if listening for another sound.
But then, as if satisfied, Monsignor Ferris resumed his journey to the back of the church. A moment later, the light in the vestibule was extinguished, and a door opened and closed. Lenny allowed himself an audible sigh -- he was alone in St. Clement's church on West 103rd Street in Manhattan.
Sondra stood in the doorway of a townhouse across the street from the church. The building was under repair, and the temporary scaffolding around the street level shielded her from the view of passersby. She wanted to be sure that Monsignor had left the church and was in the rectory before she left the baby. She had been attending services at St. Clement's for the last couple of days and had become familiar with his routine. She also knew that during Advent he would now be conducting a seven o'clock recitation of the rosary service.
Weak from the strain and fatigue of the birth only hours earlier, her breasts swelling with the fluid that preceded her milk, she leaned against the door frame for support. A faint whimper from beneath her partially buttoned coat made her arms move in the rocking motion instinctive to mothers.