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I also wanted to suggest Holiday reading from Mary Higgins Clark, co-author, with her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, five holiday suspense novels.
Sterling Brooks has been cooling his heels in the Celestial Waiting Room for forty-six years, waiting for admission to heaven. Finally, just days before Christmas, he's summoned before the Heavenly Council and found unworthy; throughout his life he had been hopelessly self-absorbed. To redeem himself, he is given the chance to go back to Earth and find someone to help.
In the picturesque village of Branscombe, New Hampshire, the townsfolk are all pitching in to prepare for the first (and many hope annual) Festival of Joy. The night before the festival begins, a group of employees at the local market learn that they have won $160 million in the lottery. One of their co-workers, Duncan, decided at the last minute, on the advice of a pair of crooks masquerading as financial advisers, not to play. Then he goes missing. A second winning lottery ticket was purchased in the next town, but the winner hasn't come forward. Could Duncan have secretly bought it?
The Clarks' endearing heroes -- Alvirah Meehan, the amateur sleuth, and private investigator Regan Reilly -- have arrived in Branscombe for the festival. They are just the people to find out what is amiss. As they dig beneath the surface, they find that life in Branscombe is not as tranquil as it appears. So much for an old-fashioned weekend in the country. This fast-paced holiday caper will keep you dashing through the pages!
Alvirah, Regan, and her new husband, Jack -- head of the NYPD Major Case Squad -- are joined as guests on the cruise by a mystery fan convention celebrating a "ghost of honor," as well as ten men who donated time playing Santa Claus, now hoping for a restful post-season. That tranquility vanishes when two Santa suits disappear from a locked room, a storm develops, and an attempt is made on a passenger's life. As the Royal Mermaid sails through troubled waters, Alvirah, Regan, and Jack uncover clues that lead them to dangerous criminals not on the original guest list....
Deck the Halls (first published in 2000) was the mother-daughter duo's first collaborative effort, a brilliant story of high-stakes intrigue and detection played out against a holiday setting. Christmas is only three days away when Regan Reilly, the dynamic young sleuth featured in the novels of Carol Higgins Clark, accidentally meets Alvirah Meehan, Mary Higgins Clark's sharp-witted lottery winner turned amateur sleuth, at a New Jersey dentist's office. When a call comes through on Regan's cell phone notifying her that her father and his driver, Rosita Gonzalez, are being held for $1,000,000 ransom, Alvirah insists that Regan allow her to lend a hand in gaining their release. Complicating the situation is the fact that Regan's mother, the famous mystery writer Nora Regan Reilly, has just been hospitalized with a broken leg, and a brutal winter storm is bearing down on them all. Regan must comfort her mother while trying to meet the harsh demands of her father's kidnappers, who are not just rank amateurs but also laughably inept -- making them all the more dangerous and unpredictable.