Mary Higgins Clark, America's Queen of Suspense, is the author of twenty national bestsellers. Her career as one of the most successful writers of our time was launched with the publication of Where Are the Children? This debut suspense thriller, originally published by Simon & Schuster in 1975, was Mary Higgins Clark's first bestseller. It marked a turning point in her life and set the standard for her distinctive page-turning style.
Where Are the Children? is the story of a woman whose past holds a terrible secret. Nancy Harmon had been found guilty in a California court of murdering her two young children, but she was released from prison on a legal technicality. Deciding to make a fresh start, to change her identity, she left San Francisco and sought tranquillity on Cape Cod.
Seven years later, Nancy is remarried and has two small children: five-year-old Michael and three-year-old Missy. Finally she feels that she has been able to reclaim all that she had lost. Then the nightmare begins again.
One day a local Cape Cod paper runs an article about a famous California murder trial involving a mother accused of killing her two children. Along with the article is a photo of Nancy. On that same morning, Michael and Missy disappear. They had been playing in the yard, but when she looked for them, they were gone...all that remained was Missy's red mitten.
While Nancy becomes the prime suspect in the disappearance of her children, no one in the small Cape Cod town is aware of a stranger in their midst -- someone whose plans for revenge have been festering for seven long years.
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Simon & Schuster
June 28, 2005
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Excerpt from Where Are The Children? by Mary Higgins Clark
He could feel the chill coming in through the cracks around the windowpanes. Clumsily he got up and lumbered over to the window. Reaching for one of the thick towels he kept handy, he stuffed it around the rotting frame.
The incoming draft made a soft, hissing sound in the towel, a sound that vaguely pleased him. He looked out at the mist-filled sky and studied the whitecaps churning in the water. From this side of the house it was often possible to see Provincetown, on the opposite shore of Cape Cod Bay. He hated the Cape. He hated the bleakness of it on a November day like this; the stark grayness of the water; the stolid people who didn't say much but studied you with their eyes. He had hated it the one summer he'd been here-- waves of tourists sprawling on the beaches; climbing up the steep embankment to this house; gawking in the downstairs windows, cupping their hands over their eyes to peer inside.
He hated the large FOR SALE sign that Ray Eldredge had posted on the front and back of the big house and the fact that now Ray and that woman who worked for him had begun bringing people in to see the house. Last month it had been only a matter of luck that he'd come along as they'd started through; only luck that he'd gotten to the top floor before they had and been able to put away the telescope.
Time was running out. Somebody would buy this house and he wouldn't be able to rent it again. That was why he'd sent the article to the paper. He wanted to still be here to enjoy seeing her exposed for what she was in front of these people... now, when she must have started to feel safe.
There was something else that he had to do, but the chance had never come. She kept such a close watch on the children. But he couldn't afford to wait anymore. Tomorrow...