Mary Higgins Clark, a master of suspense who set many of her novels in New Jersey, has died. She passed at age 92 on Friday in Naples, Florida of natural causes, according to her family.
Simon & Schuster President and Chief Executive Officer Carolyn Reidy announced the news in a statement.
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“It is impossible to overestimate the importance of Mary’s contribution to our success, and her role in the modern history of Simon & Schuster. Beginning in 1975 with the publication of “Where Are the Children?,” each of her 56 books has been a bestseller. There are more than 100 million copies of her books in print in the United States; they are international bestsellers and have been translated into every major and many less well-known languages,” Reidy said.
“But these storied publishing accomplishments tell only a small part of the larger story that is Mary Higgins Clark. She was, simply, a remarkable woman who overcame an early life of hardship and challenges, never doubting her ability as a natural-born storyteller (and she was one for the ages), and who persevered through trial and rejection until she at last achieved her Holy Grail of being a published author,” Reidy said.
“She was similarly devoted to her readers, until very recently going out of her way to meet them while on tour for every one of her books, and drawing tremendous energy and satisfaction from her interactions with them, even though she long ago could have pulled back from that part of being an author,” Reidy said. “She was, too, a generous member of the literary community, especially toward new authors, and was well known beyond the publishing world for her support of innumerable philanthropic and civic causes.”
Michael Korda, editor-in-chief emeritus of Simon & Schuster, said Clark had a strong style to engage readers.
“She was the Queen of Suspense, it wasn’t just a phrase; she always set out to end each chapter on a note of suspense, so you just had to keep reading. It was at once a gift, but also the result of hard work, because nobody worked harder than Mary did on her books to deliver for her readers,” Korda said in a statement.
“She was also, unfailingly, cheerful under pressure, generous, good humored and warm-hearted, the least ‘temperamental’ of bestselling authors, and the most fun to be around,” he said.
Clark was born Dec 24, 1927, and was largely raised by her mother after her father died at age 11. Post-high school, she attended secretarial school, worked for an advertising agency, and became a Pan American Airlines stewardess. Her writing career began in selling short stories sold to magazines. .
Survivors include seventeen grandchildren. No memorial plans have been announced.
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