Author Mary Higgins Clark, known by her fans as the “Queen of Suspense” has died at the age of ninety-two. Ms. Clark wrote bestsellers such as ‘A Stranger is Watching‘ and ‘The Cradle will Fall‘, which later were adapted into films. Her publishing company, Simon and Schuster has confirmed that she died peacefully “surrounded by family and friends.” During her career, Ms. Clark wrote thirty-eight suspense novels, four collections of short stories, a historical novel, a memoir, and two children’s books. She has also co-authored five suspense novels with her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark, and five novels with bestselling author, Alafair Burke.
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Mary Higgins Clark was born in New York City in 1927. After graduating high school, she attended secretarial school before working in an advertising agency for three years. She then worked as a Pan Am flight attendant, but left after a year to marry her husband Warren Clark and start a family. They had five children together. After her husband died suddenly at the age of thirty-five, Ms. Clark began writing short stories and radio scripts in order to support her family. Her agent then persuaded her to begin writing novels. Ms. Clark drew inspiration for her storylines from news stories.
According to the Washington Post, she would attend murder trials and discuss medical terminology with doctors to have better knowledge when writing her novels. Her first book was reprinted seventy-five times and her books have been translated into thirty-five languages. In 2000, Simon and Schuster awarded her a $64 million contract for her next five books, making her the highest-paid female author at the time. Each of her books has been a bestseller and there are more than a 100 million copies of her books in print in the United States.
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Ms. Clark graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy in 1979. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the university in 1998 among twenty other honorary doctorate degrees. She has also received the Gold Medal of Honor from the American-Irish Historical Society in 1993, the Spirit of Achievement Award from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in 1994, and the Authors Guild Award for Distinguished Service to the Literary Community in 2018 among many others.
Mary Higgins Clark always had a special bond with her fans. In a statement by her editor Michael Korda, he said, “Nobody ever bonded more completely with her readers than Mary did. She understood them as if they were members of her own family.” She is survived by her five children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
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