Review

I Heard That Song Before

by Mary Higgins Clark

Mary
Higgins Clark hits the charts with a new novel titled I HEARD THAT
SONG BEFORE. This, her 31st book, tells the bizarre tale of Kathryn
"Kay" Lansing, a librarian who is deeply committed to community
literacy and fundraising. She lives in New York and commutes to New
Jersey where she grew up. The action begins when she writes to
Peter Carrington, the scion of his family's fortune and huge
estate, to ask him to meet with her. Kay would like to persuade him
to allow her to have the next literacy project event on the estate
grounds.

A rather reclusive fellow, Peter has retreated to his mansion
because years before he was the last person to see Susan Althorp
alive. Susan was the daughter of a neighbor and Peter's friend. Kay
is delighted that (contrary to his reputation) he agrees to see
her, and both are immediately attracted to each other. The event is
a success, and after a whirlwind romance of only a few weeks, the
two marry. Everyone who knows them, especially Kay's grandmother,
thinks Kay has walked into the arms of a murderer.

In the meantime, readers learn that this visit is not the first Kay
has taken to the estate. When she was six years old, her father, a
widower, was the landscaper and groundskeeper for the Carringtons.
He needed to make an emergency trip to the grounds to make sure the
lighting was perfectly set up for a dinner dance to be held that
evening --- the one from which Althorp disappeared. His only option
was to take Kay with him. He sat her on a bench and pleaded with
her to stay there until he came back. Of course this order had the
opposite effect, and she decided to explore the "castle" to find
the chapel she had heard stories about. A "conveniently" open door,
"empty passages" and a nose for snooping led her to her
destination. She was awed, until she heard a man and woman arguing
inside the small room. Frozen with fear of being discovered, she
hid between the pews.

"The woman was demanding money, and the man was saying that he
already paid her enough. Then she said, 'This will be the last
time, I swear,' and he said, 'I heard that song before.' Following
the man's remark, [Kay] could not hear the rest of what was said
except for [the woman whispering] 'Don't forget,' as she exited the
chapel. The man [stayed for a few moments more]: [Kay]…then
heard him…softly [begin] to whistle the [familiar tune: 'I
Heard That Song Before.']" When he left, she hurried from her
hiding place because she was afraid that, if found, she would be
roundly punished and her father would lose his job.

But soon after the Althorp girl disappeared, Kay's father was
thought to have committed suicide. Did he have something to do with
Susan's disappearance? How about Peter Carrington? Who else in
their closed circle could have done her harm? Her mother never gave
up hope, but whatever happened to her daughter, she blamed young
Carrington, who had been found on the Althorp lawn that night so
long ago.

The past quickly raises its ugly face when a team of workers begins
to dig up the ground just outside the fence bordering the
Carrington land. They find the remains of a woman that of course
turns out to be Susan Althorp. And since Kay's father's body was
never recovered, the authorities start digging up the whole
property. And, yes, Mr. Lansing's bones also are found. Mayhem,
chaos, heartbreak, grief and the arrest of Peter Carrington come
next. The state has a case --- and some dubious witnesses who will
sell Kay's husband down the river in a flash. They had only kept
quiet all these years because they were able to finagle funds from
him.

But Kay never loses her faith in Peter and is by his side at every
opportunity. After Peter is jailed, humiliated, forced to wear an
electronic bracelet and has to post millions of dollars of bail
money, he's allowed to be released on his own recognizance.
Effectively he is under house arrest with permission to visit his
New York attorneys from time to time. Not until Kay hires a very
savvy private detective does her loyalty seem to have a chance of
being well placed.

I HEARD THAT SONG BEFORE is not as strong as Mary Higgins Clark's
previous works, which have made her "The Queen of Suspense," though
it may appeal to readers seeking a beach book or airplane
entertainment.

Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on January 22, 2011

I Heard That Song Before
by Mary Higgins Clark

  • Publication Date: April 3, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 0743264916
  • ISBN-13: 9780743264914