On a recent trip to Target, I noticed that Mary Higgins Clark had a new book out that had escaped my attention. It wasn’t very lengthy, so I grabbed it on sale.
“The Lost Years” deals with an ancient letter, supposedly written by Jesus Christ to Joseph of Arimathea, that was hidden away centuries ago by a monk and surfaces in the possession of a professor who them promptly gets murdered. His wife, who has Alzheimer’s, is a witness to the crime. His daughter Mariah – who has been a bit estranged from him since he has openly been having an affair with a colleague – is determined to figure out where the parchment is and who the murderer is. There is no paucity of suspects: her father’s four closest friends and colleagues, along with his mistress, are the prime ones. Additionally there is a thief who, while robbing the house next door, conveniently gets a good look at someone running from the house the night of the murder. There’s also a family friend who is a priest. And good old Alvirah and Willy are there to help solve the mystery.
Bottom line: it’s a quick beach read and fun and easy. Is it “classic MHC”? I’d say no. I miss the thrilling novels of the past – the ones that kept me up at night reading. In fact, MHC’s first novel “Where Are the Children?” might just be her best, in my opinion. I’ve been a bit disappointed in Mary’s work as of late. However, considering she has written over 30 books, I’ll cut her some slack. Also – just me – as a Catholic, the whole “his wife has Alzheimer’s so he’s having an affair and as soon as she’s in a nursing home he’ll divorce her and marry that younger gal” plotline bothered me. Mary’s characters, more often than not, are Catholic. And this family actively attends church in the book and has a parish priest as a friend. It just seemed kind of unsettling that this guy brought his paramour home for dinners at his house with his wife and friends. But anyways…
If you’ve read this book, let me know what you think. And if you’ve read all of MHC’s books, like I have, tell me if you think it’s up to her old standards.