12 Best Mary Higgins Clark Books You Should Read

The world of suspense and mystery literature has been graced with numerous notable authors, but few have left an indelible impact quite like Mary Higgins Clark. Known affectionately as the ‘Queen of Suspense,’ Clark’s literary career spanned over four decades, within which she authored over fifty novels that achieved best-seller status, garnering her critical acclaim and a global fan base that spans generations. Her storytelling prowess, the compelling character developments, and the masterful construction of suspense in her plots have etched her name permanently in the annals of mystery literature.

Mary Higgins Clark’s novels stand out for their focus on strong female protagonists who find themselves embroiled in situations fraught with tension and danger. The mastery lies in her ability to weave threads of suspense and mystery through the fabric of everyday life, creating scenarios that both chill and fascinate. From exploring the darkest corners of the human psyche to unearthing hidden secrets and unraveling complex mysteries, her stories capture the human spirit’s resilience in the face of adversity.

Selecting the twelve best works from such an expansive and celebrated body of literature is undoubtedly a challenge. But the novels presented in this list offer a comprehensive journey through Clark’s illustrious career. They represent the essence of her storytelling prowess, the versatility of her themes, and the ingenious way she builds suspense. For the ardent fan or the curious newcomer, these twelve novels provide a captivating exploration into the world of Mary Higgins Clark, leaving you on the edge of your seat, always guessing and always enthralled.

1. Where Are The Children?

“Where Are the Children?” is Clark’s debut suspense novel that catapulted her to international fame when it was published in 1975. This novel introduces us to a chilling tale about a woman named Nancy Harmon who escapes from her past after being acquitted for the murders of her two children. She changes her identity and starts a new life in Cape Cod, but the horrifying past catches up to her when her two new children disappear, recreating the circumstances of her previous nightmare. This suspense-filled narrative draws the reader into a world of fear and desperation, forcing them to question their assumptions about guilt and innocence.

2. A Stranger Is Watching

Published in 1977, “A Stranger Is Watching” is a testament to Clark’s ability to intertwine multiple narratives and build suspense. It weaves the story of a kidnapped child, a desperate mother, and a reporter, Steve Peterson, who becomes enmeshed in a story far more sinister than he could have ever imagined. Clark masterfully uses her storytelling prowess to take us deep into the mind of the kidnapper. The thrilling climax at Grand Central Station is an absolute page-turner, a mark of the suspense that Mary Higgins Clark’s books are so well known for.

3. A Cry in the Night

In “A Cry in the Night,” Clark tells the gripping story of Jenny MacPartland, a divorced mother of two who falls in love with a mysterious artist, Erich Kreuger. The seemingly romantic story takes a dark turn as Jenny begins to question her new husband’s past and discovers a terrifying secret that could potentially ruin her life. The depth of character development, combined with the pervasive sense of fear and uncertainty, makes this one of Clark’s most enthralling novels. The unique backdrop of the art world further adds to the novel’s captivating allure.

4. The Cinderella Murder

Co-authored with Alafair Burke, “The Cinderella Murder” introduces us to television producer Laurie Moran, who investigates unsolved crimes for her hit reality show “Under Suspicion.” The story unfolds when Laurie decides to reopen the case of a young UCLA student found dead years ago after a Hollywood audition. What makes this novel stand out is the blend of the media world, cold case investigation, and the mysterious aura of a murder. The characters are compelling, the plot is intricate, and the resolution is surprising, making it a must-read for all suspense lovers.

5. All Around The Town

“All Around The Town” is a chilling portrayal of mental disorder and a gripping mystery combined. The protagonist, Laurie Kenyon, a college student who has suffered from multiple personality disorder as a result of a childhood trauma, becomes the prime suspect in a murder case. She is accused of killing her professor, a crime she doesn’t remember committing. Clark expertly navigates the complexities of dissociative identity disorder, creating a sensitive portrayal of a young woman’s struggle to regain control over her life. The narrative is taut and the suspense never lets up, making it a memorable addition to Clark’s body of work.

6. Loves Music, Loves to Dance

“Loves Music, Loves to Dance” tells the thrilling tale of two friends, Darcy Scott and Erin Kelley, who delve into the world of personal ads to help a friend research a documentary. However, the investigation takes a horrifying turn when Erin is found dead wearing a high-heeled dancing slipper. Darcy, determined to catch Erin’s killer, puts herself in danger by responding to personal ads, unraveling a dark secret behind the seemingly harmless ads. This novel showcases Clark’s expertise in crafting intricate plots and her ability to ramp up suspense, keeping the readers hooked until the very end.

7. Every Breath You Take

“Every Breath You Take” is an intriguing tale of murder, money, and revenge, revolving around the wealthy and influential Lansing family. When the matriarch of the family dies in a mysterious fall from a balcony at her mansion, television investigative journalist, Laurie Moran, becomes determined to solve the crime. The more she digs into the story, the more she uncovers about the toxic family dynamics and the dangerous lengths a desperate individual will go to inherit a massive fortune. Clark has cleverly woven together a tale of suspense that keeps readers on edge, guessing about the truth until the last page.

8. Dashing Through the Snow

“Dashing Through the Snow” is a delightful holiday thriller that perfectly blends humor, suspense, and a dash of festive spirit. When a man and woman end up sharing the last rental car available at the airport, they find themselves embroiled in a chase by the FBI and a group of criminals. As they get closer to their destination, they uncover a series of clues leading them to a surprising discovery. With its compelling characters and witty dialogue, this novel is a testament to Clark’s versatility and her unique ability to craft a suspenseful yet festive story.

9. Weep No More, My Lady

“Weep No More, My Lady” takes readers into the world of the rich and famous at a luxurious health spa in California. When Elizabeth Lange’s beloved sister, a famous actress, is murdered, Elizabeth goes to the spa to recover. However, she soon finds herself entangled in a web of lies, deceit, and murder. Clark skillfully builds the tension and suspense as Elizabeth uncovers clues about her sister’s death, culminating in a shocking twist that leaves readers in awe of her storytelling skills.

10. The Cradle Will Fall

“The Cradle Will Fall” is a hospital-based thriller in which a determined female prosecutor, Katie DeMaio, finds herself in grave danger as she gets closer to uncovering a horrifying secret in a seemingly idyllic town. The novel stands out for its intricate plot, which involves genetics, corruption, and medical ethics. Clark’s ability to delve into the medical world with such ease, coupled with her knack for creating strong female characters, makes this one of her most memorable works.

11. On the Street Where You Live

In “On the Street Where You Live,” a young woman, Emily Graham, moves into a house that once belonged to her ancestors, only to find herself confronting a century-old mystery involving a string of unsolved murders. Clark brilliantly combines elements of suspense, history, and the supernatural to create a story that is as thrilling as it is captivating. Her skillful portrayal of the past and the present, interwoven with a chilling ghost story, makes this novel a standout.

12. Daddy’s Little Girl

“Daddy’s Little Girl” is a poignant tale of Ellie Cavanaugh, a determined investigative journalist who embarks on a relentless quest to solve her older sister’s murder and bring the perpetrator to justice. This book showcases Clark’s adeptness at weaving emotional depth into her suspenseful narratives, making it a powerful read. The exploration of sisterly love, grief, and the relentless pursuit of truth sets this novel apart from many of her other works.


Mary Higgins Clark’s storytelling mastery has indelibly marked the landscape of suspense and mystery literature. Her knack for creating intricate plots, deeply relatable characters, and palpable tension has placed her rightfully in the realm of the genre’s elite, earning her the much-deserved moniker, the ‘Queen of Suspense.’ The twelve novels highlighted here offer a fascinating glimpse into her exceptional talent, presenting a tapestry of human emotion, resilience, and the ever-present quest for truth against a backdrop of suspense and uncertainty.

Whether you’re a longtime fan or just venturing into her world, these novels promise a riveting journey into the essence of Mary Higgins Clark’s craft. As you turn each page, you’ll find yourself drawn into a world where the ordinary meets the extraordinary, where danger lurks in the mundane, and where the suspense never lets up. Indeed, Mary Higgins Clark’s legacy continues to captivate, thrill, and leave readers around the world in awe of her storytelling prowess.

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