Mary Higgins Clark

Queen of Suspense

Bestselling suspense novelist Mary Higgins Clark.

By Mary Pat Kelly, Contributor
October / November 2000

The author of such suspense thrillers as Where Are the Children?; Loves Music, Loves to Dance; and Before I Say Good-bye, Mary Higgins Clark is the number one best-selling suspense writer in the United States and the highest-paid female author in the world.


My mother worked as a department store buyer. She married at 40 and produced three of us. I grew up in the Bronx. It was very rural then. We lived off Pelham Parkway going towards City Island. We used to go sleigh-riding where the Einstein Medical Center is now. But we lost our house after my father died. My mother couldn’t keep up the payments, and we ended up in a three-room apartment about 10 blocks away. It was over Romano’s Tailor Shop. Once I let the tub run over and flooded the poor man’s kitchen

All four of my grandparents were born in Ireland. The Higginses were from Frenchpark in Roscommon. My grandfather Higgins worked on Lord French’s estate. I took my three oldest children to Ireland in 1963 and we visited the site of the Higgins house. I’ve been there a dozen times since then. And now I have my Irish citizenship. My father would be rolling with joy in his grave if he saw me carrying an Irish passport.

How long did it take to write that book [Where Are the Children?]?

Three years, because I could only work between five and seven in the morning. Then I had to get the kids up. And the boys had seven slices of French toast each – they were on the track team. They ran 10 miles every day, so they were always like starving maniacs. Marilyn could never find anything. Carol was asleep with her face in the oatmeal. And Patty always had a stomachache. Then the car pool would pick me up. The other passengers said it was indecent to look in the back seat of the car until we hit the George Washington Bridge, ’cause I was still dressing. ♦

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