In a riveting psychological thriller, Mary Higgins Clark takes the reader deep into the mysteries of the human mind, where memories may be the most dangerous things of all.
At the center of her novel is Kay Lansing, who has grown up in Englewood, New Jersey, daughter of the landscaper to the wealthy and powerful Carrington family. Their mansion -- a historic seventeenth-century manor house transported stone by stone from Wales in 1848 -- has a hidden chapel. One day, accompanying her father to work, six-year-old Kay succumbs to curiosity and sneaks into the chapel. There, she overhears a quarrel between a man and a woman who is demanding money from him. When she says that this will be the last time, his caustic response is: "I heard that song before."
That same evening, the Carringtons hold a formal dinner dance after which Peter Carrington, a student at Princeton, drives home Susan Althorp, the eighteen-year-old daughter of neighbors. While her parents hear her come in, she is not in her room the next morning and is never seen or heard from again.
Throughout the years, a cloud of suspicion hangs over Peter Carrington. At age forty-two, head of the family business empire, he is still "a person of interest" in the eyes of the police, not only for Susan Althorp's disappearance but also for the subsequent drowning death of his own pregnant wife in their swimming pool.
Kay Lansing, now living in New York and working as a librarian in Englewood, goes to see Peter Carrington to ask for permission to hold a cocktail party on his estate to benefit a literacy program, which he later grants. Kay comes to see Peter as maligned and misunderstood, and when he begins to court her after the cocktail party, she falls in love with him. Over the objections of her beloved grandmother Margaret O'Neil, who raised her after her parents' early deaths, she marries him. To her dismay, she soon finds that he is a sleepwalker whose nocturnal wanderings draw him to the spot at the pool where his wife met her end.
Susan Althorp's mother, Gladys, has always been convinced that Peter Carrington is responsible for her daughter's disappearance, a belief shared by many in the community. Disregarding her husband's protests about reopening the case, Gladys, now terminally ill, has hired a retired New York City detective to try to find out what happened to her daughter. Gladys wants to know before she dies.
Kay, too, has developed gnawing doubts about her husband. She believes that the key to the truth about his guilt or innocence lies in the scene she witnessed as a child in the chapel and knows she must learn the identity of the man and woman who quarreled there that day. Yet, she plunges into this pursuit realizing that "that knowledge may not be enough to save my husband's life, if indeed it deserves to be saved." What Kay does not even remotely suspect is that uncovering what lies behind these memories may cost her her own life.
I Heard That Song Before once again dramatically reconfirms Mary Higgins Clark's worldwide reputation as a master storyteller.
At the start of bestseller Clark's riveting new novel of suspense, Kay Lansing recalls her first visit as a six-year-old to the Carrington estate in Englewood, N.J., where her father worked as a landscaper. Twenty-two years later, she returns to ask the present owner, Peter Carrington, if she can use the mansion for a fund-raiser. The two fall madly in love, and after a whirlwind courtship, they marry despite the shadow of suspicion that hangs over Peter regarding the death of a neighbor's daughter two decades earlier and the drowning of his first wife four years before. After an idyllic honeymoon, the couple return to New Jersey, where a magazine article has caused the police to reopen the cases. The subsequent discovery of two bodies buried on the estate causes even Kay to doubt her husband's innocence. Clark (Two Little Girls in Blue) deftly keeps the finger of guilt pointed in many directions until the surprising conclusion. (Apr.) Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . I Heard That Song Before
Posted April 14, 2007 by LHorton5 , Raleigh, NCThis will be one of my very favorite books by Mary Higgins Clark. It was so good - I couldn't put it down. Just when I thought I had it figured out - wrong! I love a book where I am surprised at the end and this was one of them! Don't start it unless you have plenty of time to just read because you will not want to put it down either.
Simon & Schuster
April 03, 2007
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Excerpt from I Heard That Song Before by Mary Higgins Clark
I grew up in the shadow of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.
By that I mean I was born and raised in Englewood, New Jersey. In 1932, the grandson of Englewood's most prominent citizen, Ambassador Dwight Morrow, was kidnapped. Furthermore, the baby's father happened to be the most famous man in the world at the time, Col. Charles Lindbergh, who had flown the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in his single-engine plane, the Spirit of St. Louis.
My grandmother, who was eight years old at that time, remembers the blazing headlines, the crowds of reporters who congregated outside Next Day Hill, the Morrow estate, the arrest and trial of Bruno Hauptmann.
Time passed, memories faded. Today Englewood's most prominent residence is the Carrington mansion, the stone-castlelike structure that I had stolen into as a child.
All these thoughts went through my mind as, for the second time in my life, I went inside the gates of the Carrington estate. Twenty-two years, I thought, remembering the inquisitive six-year-old I had been. Maybe it was the memory of my father being dismissed by the Carringtons only a few weeks later that made me suddenly feel self-conscious and awkward. The bright October morning had changed into a windy, damp afternoon, and I wished that I had worn a heavier jacket. The one I had chosen now seemed much too light both in color and fabric.
Instinctively, I parked my secondhand car to the side of the imposing driveway, not wanting it to be the object of anyone's scrutiny. One hundred and eight thousand miles on the speedometer takes a lot of starch out of a car, even one recently washed and mercifully free of dents.
I had twisted my hair into a bun, but the wind tore at it as I walked up the steps and rang the bell. A man who looked to be in his midfifties, with a receding hairline and narrow, unsmiling lips, opened the door. He was dressed in a dark suit, and I wasn't sure whether he was a butler or a secretary, but before I could speak, without introducing himself, he said that Mr. Carrington was expecting me and that I should come in.
The wide entrance hall was illuminated by light that filtered through leaded stained-glass windows. A statue of a knight in armor stood next to a medieval tapestry depicting a battle scene. I longed to examine the tapestry, but instead I dutifully followed my escort down a corridor to the library.
"Miss Lansing is here, Mr. Carrington," he said. "I'll be in the office." From that remark I guessed he was an assistant.
When I was little I used to draw pictures of the kind of home I'd love to live in. One of my favorite rooms to imagine was the one in which I would read away my afternoons. In that room there was always a fireplace and bookshelves. One version included a comfortable couch, and I'd draw myself curled up in the corner, a book in my hand. I'm not suggesting I'm any kind of artist because I'm not. I drew stick figures and the bookshelves were uneven, the carpet a splotched multicolored copy of one I'd seen in the window of an antique rug store. I could not put the exact image in my mind on paper, but I knew what I wanted. I wanted the kind of room I was standing in now.
Peter Carrington was seated in a wide leather chair, his feet on a hassock. The lamp on the table beside him not only illuminated the book he was reading but spotlighted his handsome profile.