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In her long career as America’s most beloved suspense writer, Mary Higgins Clark’s The Lost Years is her most astonishing and dramatic novel to date. At its center is a discovery that, if authenticated, may be the most revered document in human history—“the holiest of the holy”—and certainly the most coveted and valuable object in the world. In The Lost Years, Mary Higgins In her long career as America’s most beloved suspense writer, Mary Higgins Clark’s The Lost Years is her most astonishing and dramatic novel to date. At its center is a discovery that, if authenticated, may be the most revered document in human history—“the holiest of the holy”—and certainly the most coveted and valuable object in the world. In The Lost Years, Mary Higgins Clark, America’s Queen of Suspense, has written her most astonishing novel to date. At its center is a discovery that, if authenticated, may be the most revered document in human history—“the holiest of the holy”—and certainly the most coveted and valuable object in the world. Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons believes he has found the rarest of parchments—a letter that may have been written by Jesus Christ. Stolen from the Vatican Library in the 1500s, the letter was assumed to be lost forever. Now, under the promise of secrecy, Jonathan is able to confirm his findings with several other experts. But he also confides in a family friend his suspicion that someone he once trusted wants to sell the parchment and cash in. Within days Jonathan is found shot to death in his study. At the same time, his wife, Kathleen, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, is found hiding in the study closet, incoherent and clutching the murder weapon. Even in her dementia, Kathleen has known that her husband was carrying on a long-term affair. Did Kathleen kill her husband in a jealous rage, as the police contend? Or is his death tied to the larger question: Who has possession of the priceless parchment that has now gone missing? It is up to their daughter, twenty-eight-year-old Mariah, to clear her mother of murder charges and unravel the real mystery behind her father’s death. Mary Higgins Clark’s The Lost Years is at once a breathless murder mystery and a hunt for what may be the most precious religious and archaeological treasure of all time.


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In her long career as America’s most beloved suspense writer, Mary Higgins Clark’s The Lost Years is her most astonishing and dramatic novel to date. At its center is a discovery that, if authenticated, may be the most revered document in human history—“the holiest of the holy”—and certainly the most coveted and valuable object in the world. In The Lost Years, Mary Higgins In her long career as America’s most beloved suspense writer, Mary Higgins Clark’s The Lost Years is her most astonishing and dramatic novel to date. At its center is a discovery that, if authenticated, may be the most revered document in human history—“the holiest of the holy”—and certainly the most coveted and valuable object in the world. In The Lost Years, Mary Higgins Clark, America’s Queen of Suspense, has written her most astonishing novel to date. At its center is a discovery that, if authenticated, may be the most revered document in human history—“the holiest of the holy”—and certainly the most coveted and valuable object in the world. Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons believes he has found the rarest of parchments—a letter that may have been written by Jesus Christ. Stolen from the Vatican Library in the 1500s, the letter was assumed to be lost forever. Now, under the promise of secrecy, Jonathan is able to confirm his findings with several other experts. But he also confides in a family friend his suspicion that someone he once trusted wants to sell the parchment and cash in. Within days Jonathan is found shot to death in his study. At the same time, his wife, Kathleen, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, is found hiding in the study closet, incoherent and clutching the murder weapon. Even in her dementia, Kathleen has known that her husband was carrying on a long-term affair. Did Kathleen kill her husband in a jealous rage, as the police contend? Or is his death tied to the larger question: Who has possession of the priceless parchment that has now gone missing? It is up to their daughter, twenty-eight-year-old Mariah, to clear her mother of murder charges and unravel the real mystery behind her father’s death. Mary Higgins Clark’s The Lost Years is at once a breathless murder mystery and a hunt for what may be the most precious religious and archaeological treasure of all time.

30 review for The Lost Years

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elise Stone

    Life is too short to read a bad book. I generally like to finish what I start. I tend to fall asleep on movies, but I'll rewind them (do you rewind a DVD?) when I wake up or start them again the next night--or nights--until I see the whole thing. I read most books all the way to the end, even if I find parts of them dragging. I had to stop reading this book. It was that bad. If it had been submitted to an agent or editor by a new writer rather than Mary Higgins Clark, it would have gotten a form r Life is too short to read a bad book. I generally like to finish what I start. I tend to fall asleep on movies, but I'll rewind them (do you rewind a DVD?) when I wake up or start them again the next night--or nights--until I see the whole thing. I read most books all the way to the end, even if I find parts of them dragging. I had to stop reading this book. It was that bad. If it had been submitted to an agent or editor by a new writer rather than Mary Higgins Clark, it would have gotten a form rejection. The title of the book refers to the years between the flight of Christ and his parents to Egypt to avoid Herod's slaughter of all young Jewish males and the time he began his ministry. Supposedly, according to this novel, Joseph of Arimathea was the one who took Jesus to Egypt. The premise of the story is that before the crucifixion and burial in the tomb of this same Joseph of Arimathea, Jesus wrote a letter thanking him for his kindness. It was stolen from the Vatican in the fifteenth century, but recently found in an ancient church. Only, it really doesn't matter to the story at all that the maguffin is a letter supposedly written by Christ. It could have been a valuable necklace. Heck, it could have been the Maltese Falcon. Except Dashiell Hammet made a better case for the Templar origins of the Maltese Falcon than Clark makes for the authenticity of this letter. So, right from the start, I felt like I had been cheated. Instead of being similar to The DaVinci Code with lots of references to the history of the manuscript and the times during which it was written, it's just an excuse for a poorly plotted murder mystery. Examples of things Mary Higgins Clark did that would get a form rejection: She has the main character describe herself by looking into a mirror. This is so cliche, it's mentioned as a no-no in almost every writing book I've ever read. She uses a classic "As you know, Bob" at least twice in the book. This is another one of the classic beginning writer mistakes. This is a scene where two characters who already know a piece of information talk about it just to inform the reader of a fact. They'd never have this conversation in real life because there'd be no need to talk about it. "As we both know, most cases of this kind turn out to be family affairs." She "walks the dog." This is when a writer gives a detailed description of a character's actions that is totally unnecessary and slows the story to a crawl. "She changed from her skirt and jacket into a cotton sweater, slacks, and sandals, and went back downstairs. She went into the kitchen, made a cup of tea, and carried it into the breakfast room. There she settled into one of the comfortable padded chairs and leaned back with a sigh." She switches point of view, usually at the end of a chapter to provide the "hook" for the next chapter. Chapter 12 is entirely from Mariah's point of view... until the last two paragraphs where she suddenly switches to Kathleen's (Mariah's mother) to have her give a clue to the murder. She uses lazy writing to tells the reader extraneous things about minor characters. "Father Kelly, eight-two years old but remarkably fit..." And she repeats information about her totally bland characters as if the reader was too dimwitted to remember it from the last time she encountered the character. Maybe Ms. Clark was the one having a problem remembering who was who. When I got to this sentence today: "When she finally made it to street level, Alvirah frantically spun her head in all directions." I knew it was time to quit and move on. The Exorcist image was just too funny. And this was supposed to be a tense scene. I'm happy I got this book from the library rather than paying for it. It was a major disappointment.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tennaners

    Mary Higgins Clark is reliable, if nothing else, for serving up bland murder mysteries for the Matlock set. I didn't go into this thinking "hard-hitting think piece" so much as "of the Golden Girls, I really wish Dorothy would've been the last one. Love me some Maude." Her books aren't terrible, however, and can help you pass time you'd otherwise spend chewing your nails or pondering self-tanner (don't.) Also, she has a free pass for "All Around the Town," and always will, as it was the first bo Mary Higgins Clark is reliable, if nothing else, for serving up bland murder mysteries for the Matlock set. I didn't go into this thinking "hard-hitting think piece" so much as "of the Golden Girls, I really wish Dorothy would've been the last one. Love me some Maude." Her books aren't terrible, however, and can help you pass time you'd otherwise spend chewing your nails or pondering self-tanner (don't.) Also, she has a free pass for "All Around the Town," and always will, as it was the first book my mother let me read after her, meaning not a kid's book she bought expressly for me, but a grown-ups book she was letting me read. My first brush with Dissociative Personality Disorder, child-kidnapping AND murder, and all before I hit puberty. Happy birthday to me, indeed! But this is not "All Around the Town," and there's not so much as a child-groping in sight to liven this one up. Onward, people, to an East Coast collection of towns and a dead dude in a study, discovered by his adult daughter. I pause here to call attention to this one chick who wanders around the periphery of this book that, frankly, steals the show; I can't even tell you what the protagonist/s name is without checking the back of the book, mind, but when we come down to it, this isn't the story of a dead dude at all; this is the story of Alviraaaaah~, as I discovered along the way, and so will any who read this book. She's a scene-stealin' gal after Linda Tripp's withered little heart, she is! But she's not the protagonist according to the script; that honor belongs to... one sec checking book, brb It's Mariah, which is only an "ah" sound away from being my name, and still I couldn't remember it. What I do remember of "Ah" is that girl can't go three seconds without recounting a memory of her dead dad. Goes to her apartment? That's Dad's chair she sits in. Looks at her eyes in the mirror? Daddy's eyes. And his height! (A collective sigh of relief is breathed as she fails to further describe whether or not she inherited dear ol' Dad's vitiligo.) She also has occasion to look at her hair, and well, that beckons a memory of her dad's comparisons between her raven locks and the song The Highwayman, which is about some rogue having the hots for an innkeeper's daughter, ew. Looks at a picture? It's not of her dad, but reminds her of the awesome pictures he had of him and his girlfriend off gallivanting around Venice. Venice, as it turns out, is where he took his wife, Ah's dear mother, on their honeymoon. I've met girls who won't brook a guy taking them to the same restaurant that they used to frequent with an ex, and that's just dating. This is a honeymoon-destination we're talking here, mister. If only there were other cities in other countries! At the very least, this is a tacky-as-hell vacation for the girlfriend, and we should feel bad for her. Wait. How do these pictures come into play? Oh, Ah's mom, who is still very much alive, found them. But wait! Mom has the Alzheimers, so that's okay, right? The "Notebook" approach isn't for everyone. But these aren't amnesia-Alzheimers we're dealing with. While she has her moments, Ah's Mom is also very much aware that her husband is actively replacing the warm spot she used to leave in the bed (ew EW) before she's even done making it. At this point in the book (second chapter) I'm glad the dude got shot, and as far as I'm concerned, this became about finding a thank-you note Jesus jotted down, period, the end. It's the only one of its kind, and not even to the Wise Men or his disciples or even his mom; apparently, being the Savior of the World doesn't come with any sense of etiquette. So off we go, to poke around figuring out which of Dead Dad's friends conspired to steal Christ's Post-It, and our Sherpa is some girl who can't hook a bra in this story without reminiscing about how her father either bought her the bra or used to snap them or something. Like I said, completely forgettable. But I sure as hell remember ol' Alviraaaaah~. Which is clearly how you're supposed to pronounce that name, bee tee dubs. This broad is definitely one of those ladies born in the 60s (but still refers to herself as a "Baby Boomer," neglecting to note that the baby boom happened when all the US troops returned from WWII. In the 40s. Mmmhmm.) Another word I bet she proudly uses in self-descriptives? Wacky. I don't know how I know this, or why, but I'm betting dollars that she owns at least 2 pairs of multi-colored reading glasses from the drugstore AND whimsical socks, and thinks this niche consumerism makes her unique. "All my friends tell me I'm so wacky and spontaneous!" she remarks to her windchimes. I bet she has dozens. Another thing I'm certain of is her inspiration- this is Jessica Fletcher writ annoying. She barely squeezes out a tear for the dead, a lifelong friend, before she's nagging her hubs (Willy, whose name I remember in connection with it being one of the saddest nicknames for peen EVER) to circle blocks while she stalks people, lies to doormen when the stalkees are, understandably, avoiding this pile of Metamucil and crazy, and oh yes, has a diamond-and-gold sunburst brooch with a microphone in it that she wears constantly. lolwut I get that bridge clubs and knitting aren't for everyone, but Jesus-Please-us (only once, as He wasn't one for the manners) lady, THIS IS WHY THERE ARE COPS AND LAWYERS. You know, people with training and knowledge about the law, who could tell you that without a warrant, you really can't use any secret recordings you make of people who are under the impression of privacy. lolpatriotact Alviraaaaah wears this gaudy-as-all-get-out Liberace constellation jewelry all the time, and whenever she wants to "be sure not to mishear something" (reasonable) she claws at the brooch like she's having a stroke, and no one notices (nutbag.) Well, no one who would somehow make this microphone brooch (I'm sorry, did Harry Ritchies get merged with Sharper Image somewhere along the way?) less effective, because Ah asks her to wear it to a dinner to catch any asides her father's killer might make about, you know, killing him. Which I must say sounds foolproof from this end! Places to Admit to Committing Murder: 1. Space, where no one can hear you scream, let alone confess; 2. Your shower, in-between belting out off-key renditions of "You Give Love a Bad Name"; 3. In the house where you straight murdered your friend, at a memorial dinner for the departed, given by his own kid. Hmmmmmmm decisions decisions But sure enough, Alviraaaaah happens to notice someone acting very suspicious- taking a phone call on their cell, if you can imagine, HOW MYSTERIOUS- and bustles up right next to him, close enough to record the tinny voice on his phone as a message is left. And she does so without him even noticing her lurch forward, clutch her shoulder, and give his jacket some of that onion-breath or old lady perfume smell. And this factors in with the rest of the story, and is even a key to solving who capped Dad, framed Mom, and made off with the Heavenly Hallmark. Wait. I think we discovered the actual mystery in this book. How Alviraaaaah~ wasn't stabbed to death with a tire iron (well, stabbed/bludgeoned) as she meddled along in actual criminal cases, armed only with roots she can't stop bitching about and her high tech tchotchkes. The theologic thank-you is a McGuffin! (Well played, Ms. Higgins Clark. Well played.) For those not into meta-mysteries: Check out All Around the Town. It's a much stronger book, and reliably paced with action and believable interpersonal relationships. That is to say, it's unlike this one, wherein men come staggering in from offstage, pouncing on Ah seconds after her dead father's body starts to cool, like emo-zombies calling out for "looooooooove." You'd think that their intent would be to offer sympathies in this time of loss, and mutual loss at that- all the men in this book are bros with Dead Dude, like BFFS4EVA!!! But, sadly, their shoulder pats and single tears are just a formality, the offer of a tissue for her tears before a dinner date and in one instance, a shiny new car!!! if she'll go steady with them. I would think there's some Emily Post chart out there that labels out when it's appropriate to try to get her out of their dreams and her black mourning clothes; I've never seen one, but I bet it mandates the poor girl at least have a moment to scrape the dead's blood off the office furniture before she's expected to make out in the backseat of Dad's (ooh, too soon!) car, but these gentlemen vultures don't even have the decency to circle THAT long. The first offer for a date comes THE DAY AFTER THE GUY DIES, EW ew ew! Best of all, we're supposed to root for one of them, who ends up getting the girl, in a twist at which even M. Night Shyamalan would look, roll his eyes and say "Oh REALLY." However, Alviraaaaah~ approves, so must we. She has some very incriminating recordings of us, as it turns out.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Several years ago, I had read and loved everything Mary Higgins Clark had written. For many reasons I had not attempted to read one of her books over the past 5 or 6 years. However, the premise of The Lost Years intrigued me so I decided to give the author another try. To my great disappointment, I found this book too difficult to complete. I stayed with the book for about 100 pages and could not go further. I found myself dreading picking it up to finish it and I, once started, rarely do not com Several years ago, I had read and loved everything Mary Higgins Clark had written. For many reasons I had not attempted to read one of her books over the past 5 or 6 years. However, the premise of The Lost Years intrigued me so I decided to give the author another try. To my great disappointment, I found this book too difficult to complete. I stayed with the book for about 100 pages and could not go further. I found myself dreading picking it up to finish it and I, once started, rarely do not complete a book. I found this book trite with the storyline repeated over and over during the first 100 pages. I became irritated with Higgins attempt to tell the story in the first person of each character in the book switching from one character to another within the same chapter. Maybe I have outgrown Mary Higgins Clark or maybe she has written too many books to be able to keep her stories and characters fresh. I do not recommend this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Suzzie

    The Lost Years was a quick, okay read. I actually only warmed up to a few of the characters, and even the murder victim was not completely easy to sympathize. Mariah was not bad by any ways but did sometimes come off immature. This one was pretty predictable but honestly it was the characters that just left me disengaged with the read. Overall though it is not a bad back at all, just was not feeling the characters. My quick and simple overall: not bad and a quick read but not my favorite Mary Hig The Lost Years was a quick, okay read. I actually only warmed up to a few of the characters, and even the murder victim was not completely easy to sympathize. Mariah was not bad by any ways but did sometimes come off immature. This one was pretty predictable but honestly it was the characters that just left me disengaged with the read. Overall though it is not a bad back at all, just was not feeling the characters. My quick and simple overall: not bad and a quick read but not my favorite Mary Higgins Clark book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anushka

    Let me make this clear: I love Mary Higgins Clark. I've read plenty of her books and never given any of it below 3-star rating but giving 2 stars to this one feels too generous. First, this book started off with a Da Vinci Code type of plot which was not needed at all. Instead of that letter written by Jesus stuff, easily there could have been something else used to define the story. Suspense was carried out in classic Clark-style which was a good thing but I don't think she is capable of mix Let me make this clear: I love Mary Higgins Clark. I've read plenty of her books and never given any of it below 3-star rating but giving 2 stars to this one feels too generous. First, this book started off with a Da Vinci Code type of plot which was not needed at all. Instead of that letter written by Jesus stuff, easily there could have been something else used to define the story. Suspense was carried out in classic Clark-style which was a good thing but I don't think she is capable of mixing historical fiction into modern day thriller. MHC is a master at story building and there is no doubt about that but here, even after all the work she was doing to conceal the identity of the killer it was clearly visible throughout. The guy who hasn't been in the spotlight turns out to be all psycho and murdery kind, that's like Mystery Writing 101. I can't believe MHC would do such a thing. This book was a mixture of all her previous works, the protagonist being a copy of all her earlier books, villain a xerox of Loves Music, Loves to Dance and everything else was also derived from her ex books. This one was really disappointing in totality but I enjoy Clark's writing style and of course, one bad book isn't gonna change my relationship with her. I will still be eager to read any of her work and she's still one of my favorites!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Standish

    Let me preface this review by noting that in the past I have read Mary Higgins Clark. In the past I enjoyed her writing, enjoyed her books, her style. Touted "The Queen of Suspense" Mary Higgins Clark wrote novels that were pleasant summer reads, books to be read while basking in the summer sun while lounging by the beach or the pool. Sadly, that time seems to have passed. With "The Lost Years" Mary Higgins Clark introduces us to her ghost-writing hack. Poorly written, with laughable plot, ridic Let me preface this review by noting that in the past I have read Mary Higgins Clark. In the past I enjoyed her writing, enjoyed her books, her style. Touted "The Queen of Suspense" Mary Higgins Clark wrote novels that were pleasant summer reads, books to be read while basking in the summer sun while lounging by the beach or the pool. Sadly, that time seems to have passed. With "The Lost Years" Mary Higgins Clark introduces us to her ghost-writing hack. Poorly written, with laughable plot, ridiculous characters and literary tricks used by a fifth grade honor student, Mary Higgins Clark shows with "The Lost Years" what a writer will produce when they have outlived their monies the publisher advanced. So, what is "The Lost Years" about? When biblical scholar Jonathan Lyon's finds parchments dating back to Jesus, his life is cut short by MURDER. Wife Kathleen, suffering from Alzheimer's finds the dead scholar...or did she commit the heinous act? Seems Jonathan was stepping out in a biblical way from his faithful, yet addled wife. Enter daughter Mariah. She's the tenacious daughter of Jonathan and Kathleen, who, to clear her mother of suspicion, begins to investigate her father's death. Add in a hundred million (yes, I exaggerate) insignificant characters, stupid dialogue and beyond tepid writing, and you will soon realize, your precious time spent reading this "book" was lost. “The Lost Years” is so much bloody schlock and it is such a literary crime!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    "The Lost Years" is the only book I've ever thrown a fit over having wasted money on ($7.99 plus tax? Should've bought three Chick-fil-As at the airport instead... more appetizing). It's also a book I'll keep in my library to remind myself what authors can get away with once they've established themselves. She's Mary Higgins Clark so she can write what anyone else would get a form rejection for? Disappointments/Outrages: - Bought this book because I was intrigued by the idea of a "lost letter writ "The Lost Years" is the only book I've ever thrown a fit over having wasted money on ($7.99 plus tax? Should've bought three Chick-fil-As at the airport instead... more appetizing). It's also a book I'll keep in my library to remind myself what authors can get away with once they've established themselves. She's Mary Higgins Clark so she can write what anyone else would get a form rejection for? Disappointments/Outrages: - Bought this book because I was intrigued by the idea of a "lost letter written by Christ"... only to discover that it means chicken poop to the plot. As other reviewers have pointed out, you could substitute Christ's handwritten letter with absolutely anything. Throughout the book we are reminded by different characters that the letter is authentic. No mystery there at all. - The book drove me crazy from the first chapter because of how ineptly MHC mixes third person and first. The text was painful. One minute we'll be reading about Mariah doing this or that, then we're suddenly inside my bland head as I recount in boring detail what I'm doing and then I'm tearing up over everything that reminds me of daddy, oh daddy, if only I'd been more understanding of why you would want to cheat on mom when she has Alzheimer's! - I couldn't care less about the poorly developed, uninteresting characters (and the out of the blue romance). A litany of names and professions I couldn't get straight for chapters. Richard, Greg, Charles, Wally, Willy, Biblical scholar thief computer expert lawyer whatta whatta? The only memorable character was Alvirah, but only because of how ridiculous and unbelievable she was. An old lady rich and idle from lottery winnings, running around like a super sleuth with a microphone hidden in her pin, and the police don't tell her to stay out of it? I had no idea what she was doing in the book. - Overall just badly written. MHC throws in a lot of unnecessary details and chapters that do nothing to further the plot or create empathy. At one point she explains why a very minor character's secretary calls him one name in public and another in private. NOT RELEVANT to the story. She also just has her characters TELL and EXPLAIN to us what happened and why this or that information is important or why that person is suspect. Often, two or three characters who know something will have a conversation just to inform the reader. Another example of lazy writing and plotting: when a burglar breaks into the house next door to the one where the murder takes place, MHC actually has this thief explain in detail how he saw the murderer running from the other house, so if he's ever caught for burglary, he can reduce his prison sentence by giving police a description of the murderer's face. You already know that's how the whodunnit will be solved and the identity of the murderer confirmed. MHC just dragged out how long it took to get the portrait done after the burglar's arrest. In the end, the book read like a too-long SparkNotes of another story.

  8. 5 out of 5

    MissSusie

    As usually Mary Higgins Clark keeps you guessing, she really is the queen of suspense. From the description I was afraid it would be different than her usual works (or too Dan Brown-y) but it wasn’t it was another great mystery/suspense and with the bonus of Alvirah who was not even mentioned in the synopsis which I don’t understand, I am a fan of Alvirah so was happy when her and Willie showed up! Yes there is a supposed letter/parchment written by Jesus but as I said it doesn’t go into a big ch As usually Mary Higgins Clark keeps you guessing, she really is the queen of suspense. From the description I was afraid it would be different than her usual works (or too Dan Brown-y) but it wasn’t it was another great mystery/suspense and with the bonus of Alvirah who was not even mentioned in the synopsis which I don’t understand, I am a fan of Alvirah so was happy when her and Willie showed up! Yes there is a supposed letter/parchment written by Jesus but as I said it doesn’t go into a big church cover-up type story. When biblical scholar Jonathan is murdered, police think his wife, who has Alzheimer’s, is the culprit but where is this parchment and why are all Jonathan’s friends lying about it? Also Jonathan had a mistress what is her part in all this? This one had me guessing and second guessing all the way through, but that’s the beauty of MHC’s writing. As always she writes a good mystery. These are hard to review because you don’t want to spoil it for anyone and the way MCH always makes everyone a suspect I don’t want to say too much and give it way! Suffice it to say if you’re a fan of Mary Higgins Clark you’ll like it if you’ve never given her a chance she has a great selection of stand-alone books pick one you won’t be disappointed. I also highly recommend her books on audio with the majority of them read by Jan Maxwell. Jan Maxwell always does a great job on MCH’s books her narrations never get stale no matter how many Mary Higgins Clark’s books I’ve heard her narrate. I also just recently found out that Jan Maxwell and I went to the same high school so that was a little small world fun fact! 4 Stars

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laurie Franco

    I admit that I am quite biased where Mary Higgins Clark is involved. From the time my mother, grandmother and I began reading her books, I fell in love with her mesmerizing storytelling and the endless ideas she comes up with. The Lost Years tells the tale of Mariah Lyons, whose father, Jonathan, is murdered one night, shortly after finding what he believes to be the only letter written by Jesus Christ to his faithful follower, Joseph of Arimathea, which had been stolen from the Vatican Library I admit that I am quite biased where Mary Higgins Clark is involved. From the time my mother, grandmother and I began reading her books, I fell in love with her mesmerizing storytelling and the endless ideas she comes up with. The Lost Years tells the tale of Mariah Lyons, whose father, Jonathan, is murdered one night, shortly after finding what he believes to be the only letter written by Jesus Christ to his faithful follower, Joseph of Arimathea, which had been stolen from the Vatican Library in the 1500's. Jonathan's wife (Mariah's mother) Kathleen is the primary suspect when she is found hiding in a closet holding the murder weapon. Kathleen suffers from Alzheimer's and is not able to defend herself or tell the police what really happened that night. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Jonathan has been having an affair for years....an affair his wife knew about. As the police begin their investigation they find that the ancient parchment has disappeared without a trace. Mariah now finds herself trying to save her mother from being charged with her father's murder, as well as trying to locate the parchment and find out who REALLY killed her father. With an abundance of twists and turns, and an appearance by beloved Higgins Clark characters Alvirah and Willie Meehan, this book is a page turner until the very end. I highly recommend this book with no reservations. A wonderful book by an accomplished author.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)

    This is the first Alvirah and Willy book by Mary Higgins Clarke that I have read (apart from Santa Cruise many years ago which I didn't enjoy and don't think I finished) and I believe is the 9th in the series. I don't know how Mary comes up with so many different story lines but she does and this was really interesting involving a missing possible religious parchment written by Christ and the death of a professor who had unearthed it. I love Mary's books and have read many - they are always easy This is the first Alvirah and Willy book by Mary Higgins Clarke that I have read (apart from Santa Cruise many years ago which I didn't enjoy and don't think I finished) and I believe is the 9th in the series. I don't know how Mary comes up with so many different story lines but she does and this was really interesting involving a missing possible religious parchment written by Christ and the death of a professor who had unearthed it. I love Mary's books and have read many - they are always easy to follow, traditional and you feel that you are in safe hands when reading it. Would recommend but probably not to everyone's taste.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    While visiting a garage sale at the home of empty-nesters who were downsizing, I came upon an entire bookcase of Mary Higgins Clark's mysteries, lovely hardbacks in pristine condition. I have a friend who loves this author, so I thought I'd give her a try -- at $1.00 a book, how could I lose? I found reading this book to be similar to eating a bowl of popcorn, light but satisfying and devoured much more quickly than I intended. If you like the occasional mystery, then I think this author would m While visiting a garage sale at the home of empty-nesters who were downsizing, I came upon an entire bookcase of Mary Higgins Clark's mysteries, lovely hardbacks in pristine condition. I have a friend who loves this author, so I thought I'd give her a try -- at $1.00 a book, how could I lose? I found reading this book to be similar to eating a bowl of popcorn, light but satisfying and devoured much more quickly than I intended. If you like the occasional mystery, then I think this author would make a delightful beach read. If you are a die-hard mystery fanatic, then I think this author would not be intriguing enough for you.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Vincent

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I used to love MHC when I was a teen so I thought I'd like The Lost Years, her latest novel. I don't really remember any of her previous characters or plots so I can't compare this one to her past bestsellers. As I was reading I felt like I knew these characters from previous books, but as I said, I can't really remember them. MHC never develops her characters in this novel and pins the murder on the weird, quiet, shy guy who's obviously the murderer because all introverts are psychos, right? Th I used to love MHC when I was a teen so I thought I'd like The Lost Years, her latest novel. I don't really remember any of her previous characters or plots so I can't compare this one to her past bestsellers. As I was reading I felt like I knew these characters from previous books, but as I said, I can't really remember them. MHC never develops her characters in this novel and pins the murder on the weird, quiet, shy guy who's obviously the murderer because all introverts are psychos, right? The best thing I can say about this book is that it has short chapters. That way you can skim quickly during commercials when you don't have anything better to do, and once the show returns, you won't be tempted to continue reading it and miss out on your show. The story is about Mariah and the murder of her father, Jonathan. Jonathan is a biblical scholar who believes he has found an authentic letter written by Jesus Christ to Joseph of Arimathea (the man who gave Jesus his burial tomb after his crucifixion). Obviously we're led to believe that Jonathan's pals and colleagues (one of which is his mistress) wanted the letter for themselves and murdered him for it. I didn't have any problem with the religious undertones of this novel-not because I am a Christian, but because there aren't any, so no worries there. In spite of the ramifications that this parchment would have if it was found to be authentic, MHC never addresses them. The letter is just a prop. We don't even get a detailed description of what it looked like. I don't know really why she chose to include it at all. Mariah really regrets the way she'd given her father the cold shoulder before he died. Why, you ask? Well that would be because he started cheating on her mother, Kathleen, once she developed Alzheimer's (spare me the excuses about how hard it is to care for a loved one with Alzheimer's). Kathleen, however, was coherent enough to know that he was cheating and with who. To dig the needle deeper, the man actually had the nerve to bring his mistress to their family dinners safe in the assumption that she was just his colleague. Since Jonathan was such as pig, I couldn't really feel sorry that he was dead. But in the interest of justice, this case has to be solved! And it is, by Alvirah, family friend. Her gut feelings, spy gear, and superior judgement of shcharacter solves this mystery. The police really should use a flower pin recording device and pose as undercover friends to solve cases. If you think Alvirah sounds like someone readers would despise, you're wrong. Sadly, she is the most interesting character in the whole novel. Maybe next time MHC should write a book about her sleuthing adventures.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Normally, I read MHC as a sort of "palate cleanser"--light, easy reading in-between heavier subject matter. I enjoy her mysteries and her characters normally hook me. I first read "Where are the Children?" more than 20 years ago and I still recall how drawn into the story I was, so much so that I was surprised to find out it was hot and sunny outside when I put the book down. I felt such a part of the story, I thought it was cold and gray and ominous outside. Not so with her latest, The Lost Yea Normally, I read MHC as a sort of "palate cleanser"--light, easy reading in-between heavier subject matter. I enjoy her mysteries and her characters normally hook me. I first read "Where are the Children?" more than 20 years ago and I still recall how drawn into the story I was, so much so that I was surprised to find out it was hot and sunny outside when I put the book down. I felt such a part of the story, I thought it was cold and gray and ominous outside. Not so with her latest, The Lost Years. It seems in this novel, MHC lost her ability to "show, don't tell". We were beaten over the heads about this sacred parchment, how it was a letter from Jesus to Joseph of Arimathea (more like a "thank you" note from the description). But there was nothing mysterious about it--she told us it was authentic and she told us who had it, pretty early on, too. No mystery there. The real mystery is who killed Jonathan Lyons, the scholar who discovered the parchment. And this is where MHC should have shined. But the writing was just so... poor. None of the characters made me care for them, especially the protagonist, Mariah Lyons, Jonathan's daughter. There was no depth to her, nor her supporting cast. Then, inexplicably, she introduces Alvirah and WIlly Meehan (from her Lottery Winner series). I admit, I never read those stories, and after reading these characters here, I never will. They were grating and unrealistic. Frankly, I thought they were a terrible plot contrivance. The ending was predictable, which is I don't actually mind; it's part of the MHC formula. But the sudden emergence of romance came completely out of the blue, and that I did mind. Show me threads throughout the book, lead me to believe this is a logical step for the characters. MHC didn't do that, and that was disappointing. In all, this seemed to me to be a hastily written, poorly plotted "mystery", not really worthy of the rest of her cannon.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I like Mary Higgins Clark. Maybe its because she lives in my area, or that I see her shopping at the A&P, or that her grandson went to school with my daughter, or that I've heard her lecture many times (along with Harlen Coben who also lives in my area - I see him pounding away at his laptop at the local Panera). Whatever it is, I like her, and I like her writing. This time, however, she really disappointed me. Mary says that she usually comes up with her plot ideas from reading the newspaper. I I like Mary Higgins Clark. Maybe its because she lives in my area, or that I see her shopping at the A&P, or that her grandson went to school with my daughter, or that I've heard her lecture many times (along with Harlen Coben who also lives in my area - I see him pounding away at his laptop at the local Panera). Whatever it is, I like her, and I like her writing. This time, however, she really disappointed me. Mary says that she usually comes up with her plot ideas from reading the newspaper. In "The Lost Years", the plot line was suggested by her editor. He should stick to editing. It was a thin story line about a letter, supposedly written by Jesus, that came into the possession of a retired archaeologist who was murdered. His daughter is left to solve the crime along with some of her father's friends, in addition to her mother, who has Alzheimer's by the way, being charged with the murder. The pace was slow and the villain was very obvious. There was really nothing about the provenance of the letter, just a lot of dialogue among the characters who all tried to blame each other for the crime. Stick to the newspaper, Mary, and let Steve Berry take on the historical/archaeological suspense thrillers.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sally Lindsay-briggs

    I am a big fan of this author. At first, it was difficult to get into the book but once I had sorted out all the characters (there were quite a few) the plot thickened and it was a race to see who killed Jonathan, Was the stolen document written by Jesus real and where exactly was it? Jonathan's wife is accused of the murder and what happens to her? Another great mystery by the Queen of Suspense. I am a big fan of this author. At first, it was difficult to get into the book but once I had sorted out all the characters (there were quite a few) the plot thickened and it was a race to see who killed Jonathan, Was the stolen document written by Jesus real and where exactly was it? Jonathan's wife is accused of the murder and what happens to her? Another great mystery by the Queen of Suspense.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Steph

    As much as I loved to see Alvirah and Willy back, I found this to be a very predictable plot. My mom didn't figure out the killer until the end, whereas I knew who the killer was by the end of the first few chapters. Perhaps I've read too many MHC books that I can guess her patterns. Found it only okay and not overly exciting. As much as I loved to see Alvirah and Willy back, I found this to be a very predictable plot. My mom didn't figure out the killer until the end, whereas I knew who the killer was by the end of the first few chapters. Perhaps I've read too many MHC books that I can guess her patterns. Found it only okay and not overly exciting.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    The most shocking part of this book was that I was able to figure out who was behind everything. This book was a real page turner and there’s a reason that Mary Higgins Clark is the queen of suspense.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne

    Very creative story!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark Published by Simon & Schuster Publication Date: April 2012 ISBN-10: 1451668864 ISBN-13: 9781451668865 Pages: 304 pages Review Copy from: Edition: HC My Rating: 5 Synopsis (from Publisher): In The Lost Years, Mary Higgins Clark, America’s Queen of Suspense, has written her most astonishing novel to date. At its center is a discovery that, if authenticated, may be the most revered document in human history—“the holiest of the holy”—and certainly the most coveted and valu The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark Published by Simon & Schuster Publication Date: April 2012 ISBN-10: 1451668864 ISBN-13: 9781451668865 Pages: 304 pages Review Copy from: Edition: HC My Rating: 5 Synopsis (from Publisher): In The Lost Years, Mary Higgins Clark, America’s Queen of Suspense, has written her most astonishing novel to date. At its center is a discovery that, if authenticated, may be the most revered document in human history—“the holiest of the holy”—and certainly the most coveted and valuable object in the world. Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons believes he has found the rarest of parchments—a letter that may have been written by Jesus Christ. Stolen from the Vatican Library in the 1500s, the letter was assumed to be lost forever. Now, under the promise of secrecy, Jonathan is able to confirm his findings with several other experts. But he also confides in a family friend his suspicion that someone he once trusted wants to sell the parchment and cash in. Within days Jonathan is found shot to death in his study. At the same time, his wife, Kathleen, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, is found hiding in the study closet, incoherent and clutching the murder weapon. Even in her dementia, Kathleen has known that her husband was carrying on a long-term affair. Did Kathleen kill her husband in a jealous rage, as the police contend? Or is his death tied to the larger question: Who has possession of the priceless parchment that has now gone missing? It is up to their daughter, twenty-eight-year-old Mariah, to clear her mother of murder charges and unravel the real mystery behind her father’s death. Mary Higgins Clark’s The Lost Years is at once a breathless murder mystery and a hunt for what may be the most precious religious and archaeological treasure of all time. My Thoughts and Opinion: What can I say about the Queen of Suspense that hasn't been said? I became of fan when I first read While My Pretty One Sleeps back in 1991. I will be honest, it has been a while since I have read one of her books and after reading this one, I realized why I enjoy her books and that I have some catching up to do. I have always wondered how, and am amazed, a writer weaves an intricate plot with characters that has the reader trying to figure out the "who done it". Does it start with the ending? Ms. Clark takes you on a wild ride with The Lost Years. A man is murdered for being in possession of a valuable and historical parchment and his wife, who is suffering from dementia, is charged. But did she really do it? More suspects come to light but the reader will not find out until the last chapters. Was it close friends or maybe even the mistress? The story alternates between characters and had this reader changing her mind as to who the actual killer was with every new chapter. A "can't put down" book as only Mary Higgins Clark can write. I could not stop turning the pages on this mystery. A thriller that is highly recommended, but be prepared, once you start reading this book, you won't want to take a break. The suspense is fast paced right to the end!!!! (2012 Challenges: Challenge Addict, Romantic/Suspense, FreeReads, Where Are You, A-Z, Merely Mystery, 52 in 52, Outdo Yourself, 100+)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Pavick

    The plot of this book by respected and prolific novelist, Mary Higgins Clark, centers around a letter supposedly written by Jesus to Joseph of Arimathea, the only letter penned by Jesus. Clark says in the forward to the book that the idea came from her longtime editor (and writer), Michael Korda. She shouldn't have listened to him. Clark crafts an interesting and very readable mystery without the Biblical factor, which I found to be rather distracting and "DaVinci Code"-esque. Did Jesus know how The plot of this book by respected and prolific novelist, Mary Higgins Clark, centers around a letter supposedly written by Jesus to Joseph of Arimathea, the only letter penned by Jesus. Clark says in the forward to the book that the idea came from her longtime editor (and writer), Michael Korda. She shouldn't have listened to him. Clark crafts an interesting and very readable mystery without the Biblical factor, which I found to be rather distracting and "DaVinci Code"-esque. Did Jesus know how to read and write? Most people of his era did not. Did Joseph of Arimathea play a larger role in Jesus' life than is commonly discussed? (Joseph is cited in the Bible as the man who claimed Jesus' body after his death and donated his own tomb in which to lay the body.) The book itself is clever, something of a locked door mystery, in which a professor and archeology expert is found shot in his library with his wife, who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease, in the closet with the gun. His close friends also produce no shortage of suspects. There's the mistress, who may or may not have just been dumped; the greedy (and jealous) art expert; and the wife's caregiver, who's not exactly who she purports to be. Was the letter, which the professor was authenticating, a factor or was it jealousy? If you ignore the way this book plays fast and loose with Biblical history, it's an enjoyable read. Ms. Clark: you're too good a writer to have to resort to gimmicks. Next time, don't listen to your editor.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Linda K. Melzer

    Another wonderful novel by Mary Higgins Clark Ms Higgens Clark has wriitten another suspenseful novel involving endearing characters as only she can. She weaves a wonderful story. I admit I wasn't able to solve this who done it until the last few pages. This is a light novel and those looking for more depth might be disappointed. It is, however, a very enjoyable read and Mary Higgins Clark fans won't be disappointed. Another wonderful novel by Mary Higgins Clark Ms Higgens Clark has wriitten another suspenseful novel involving endearing characters as only she can. She weaves a wonderful story. I admit I wasn't able to solve this who done it until the last few pages. This is a light novel and those looking for more depth might be disappointed. It is, however, a very enjoyable read and Mary Higgins Clark fans won't be disappointed.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Audra

    Such a fan of Mary Higgins Clark. I love the way she drops little hints and intesifies the suspense with each chapter. A great read and such a creative idea. Imagine if there was a letter that Christ wrote. That would be a sight to see!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    An enjoyable and non-taxing read for a sunny Sunday afternoon. Follows the standard Mary Higgins Clarke formula and I’m definitely a fan.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ann Jorandby

    I love Mary Higgins Clark so I knew I would like this book. It wasn't as intense as many of her other books, but a good read nonetheless! I love Mary Higgins Clark so I knew I would like this book. It wasn't as intense as many of her other books, but a good read nonetheless!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    I guess I’m in the minority, but I think that this is MHC’s best book ever! Biblical scholar & archaeologist Jonathan Lyons has found, in an old church, what he believes to be a letter written by Jesus Christ!! Within days he is murdered & his wife, Alzheimer sufferer, is found hiding in a closet clutching the murder weapon & totally incoherent. Within Jonathan’s tight circle of friends who is the villain?? I read at least the last 100 pages non-stop enthralled with the plot, clues, the writing I guess I’m in the minority, but I think that this is MHC’s best book ever! Biblical scholar & archaeologist Jonathan Lyons has found, in an old church, what he believes to be a letter written by Jesus Christ!! Within days he is murdered & his wife, Alzheimer sufferer, is found hiding in a closet clutching the murder weapon & totally incoherent. Within Jonathan’s tight circle of friends who is the villain?? I read at least the last 100 pages non-stop enthralled with the plot, clues, the writing & the whole story line! Congrats MHC & Thanks for the Great Read!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Loretta

    Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons has come across the most coveted and valuable object in the world, a letter written by Jesus. But before he can do anything, he is murdered and the document taken. Kathleen, his wife who suffers from Alzheimer's, is accused of the killing. Mariah, his daughter, knows that isn't possible, but which one of the four colleagues, Greg, Richard, Albert or Charles did this? Or was it Lillian who had been Jonathan's lover for the last five years. Alvirah and Willy, detect Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons has come across the most coveted and valuable object in the world, a letter written by Jesus. But before he can do anything, he is murdered and the document taken. Kathleen, his wife who suffers from Alzheimer's, is accused of the killing. Mariah, his daughter, knows that isn't possible, but which one of the four colleagues, Greg, Richard, Albert or Charles did this? Or was it Lillian who had been Jonathan's lover for the last five years. Alvirah and Willy, detectives on the side, work to see who solved this crime.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Although i am a fan of Mary Higgins Clark her books for me in recent times have become quite predictable and similar. As a result ive put of reading this one for the fear of being disappointed. But thankfully this was not the case for despite not being a total return to form does give me faith that she can still produce top notch crime thrillers. The lost years is the story of Mariah Lyons whos father Johnathon is was a well respected academic who comes across a parchment said to be written by Ch Although i am a fan of Mary Higgins Clark her books for me in recent times have become quite predictable and similar. As a result ive put of reading this one for the fear of being disappointed. But thankfully this was not the case for despite not being a total return to form does give me faith that she can still produce top notch crime thrillers. The lost years is the story of Mariah Lyons whos father Johnathon is was a well respected academic who comes across a parchment said to be written by Christ, the only letter in existence. Unsure of what to do Johnathon shares his find with a few select academic friends wanting to know if its real before returning it to the Vatican. But before he can Johnathon is murdered in his home with his wife Kathleen who suffers from Alzheimers believed to be the murderer. Mariah is convinced her mother would never harm her father even after she became aware of his affair with colleague Lillian. This is hightened even futher when Mariah is informed of the parchment which is considered priceless. Kathleen's only hope of not living her remaining days in a psyciatric hospital rest with an unlikely source of a burgler who was next door stealing jewellery when hearing a gunshot he looked and seen a man fleeing the scene. The question for Mariah is who killed Johnathon? and why? as she tries to clear her mothers name. Once again as is the norm with Higgins Clark books we have quick reading chapters but thankfully with this one for me at least i didnt find predictable, not working out the killers identity until deep into the book. Overall i found The Lost Years a good read and one that kept me thinking till the very end. While not a complete renacence for Clark this more than shows that she still has the knack of writing great page turners.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    The Lost Years 2 Stars Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons is murdered in his home after consulting several experts on a rare parchment supposedly authored by Jesus Christ. His wife, Kathleen Lyons, an Alzheimer sufferer, is accused of the crime, but his daughter, Mariah is convinced of her mother’s innocence and sets out to prove that her father’s death is related to the missing document. Mary Higgins Clark was once a must buy author for me, but I appear to have outgrown her writing style. The narrat The Lost Years 2 Stars Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons is murdered in his home after consulting several experts on a rare parchment supposedly authored by Jesus Christ. His wife, Kathleen Lyons, an Alzheimer sufferer, is accused of the crime, but his daughter, Mariah is convinced of her mother’s innocence and sets out to prove that her father’s death is related to the missing document. Mary Higgins Clark was once a must buy author for me, but I appear to have outgrown her writing style. The narrative is ostensibly in the 3rd person, however, it often diverges into the internal musings and recollections of the characters, which appear in 1st person format. This alternating perspective is not only distracting, but results in the characters coming across as self-absorbed and unsympathetic. Although the murder victim is well-respected and loved by many characters in the book, to me he was nothing short of a selfish and ego-centric adulterer unworthy of the affections bestowed upon him. As a result, it is difficult to care one way or the other whether his murder is solved. The investigation is tedious with detectives leaping to unfounded conclusions and the TSTL heroine’s attempts to uncover the truth are annoying. There isn’t even a good romance to compensate for this fiasco. The incorporation of the letter to Joseph of Arimathea has potential. Unfortunately, it amounts to little more than a mcguffin intended to lure readers into reading the book with hopes of a compelling story revolving around the missing years of Christ’s life. As it turns out, this plot element is underdeveloped and has virtually no importance in the overall scheme of things. All in all, MHC has written much better works and this book is unworthy of her repertoire.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Great story. Keeps you guessing the whole book long. The Lost Years -- At its center is a discovery that, if authenticated, may be the most revered document in human history—“the holiest of the holy”—and certainly the most coveted and valuable object in the world. Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons believes he has found the rarest of parchments—a letter that may have been written by Jesus Christ. Stolen from the Vatican Library in the 1500s, the letter was assumed to be lost forever. Now, under the Great story. Keeps you guessing the whole book long. The Lost Years -- At its center is a discovery that, if authenticated, may be the most revered document in human history—“the holiest of the holy”—and certainly the most coveted and valuable object in the world. Biblical scholar Jonathan Lyons believes he has found the rarest of parchments—a letter that may have been written by Jesus Christ. Stolen from the Vatican Library in the 1500s, the letter was assumed to be lost forever. Now, under the promise of secrecy, Jonathan is able to confirm his findings with several other experts. But he also confides in a family friend his suspicion that someone he once trusted wants to sell the parchment and cash in. Within days Jonathan is found shot to death in his study. At the same time, his wife, Kathleen, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, is found hiding in the study closet, incoherent and clutching the murder weapon. Even in her dementia, Kathleen has known that her husband was carrying on a long-term affair. Did Kathleen kill her husband in a jealous rage, as the police contend? Or is his death tied to the larger question: Who has possession of the priceless parchment that has now gone missing? It is up to their daughter, twenty-eight-year-old Mariah, to clear her mother of murder charges and unravel the real mystery behind her father’s death. Mary Higgins Clark’s The Lost Years is at once a breathless murder mystery and a hunt for what may be the most precious religious and archaeological treasure of all time.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gloria Feit

    A good idea wrapped in a lot of superfluous schmaltz sums up this latest effort by Mary Higgins Clark. The plot involves the discovery by a Biblical scholar, Dr. Jonathan Lyons, of the only letter supposedly ever written by Jesus, and Lyons’ subsequent murder, presumably as a result. The mystery, of course, is which of his various friends and co-workers wants the manuscript to sell on the black market instead of it being returned to the Vatican library from which it was removed in the 1400’s. Ins A good idea wrapped in a lot of superfluous schmaltz sums up this latest effort by Mary Higgins Clark. The plot involves the discovery by a Biblical scholar, Dr. Jonathan Lyons, of the only letter supposedly ever written by Jesus, and Lyons’ subsequent murder, presumably as a result. The mystery, of course, is which of his various friends and co-workers wants the manuscript to sell on the black market instead of it being returned to the Vatican library from which it was removed in the 1400’s. Instead of a straight police procedural, the story becomes bogged down in several side issues: Dr. Lyons’ daughter’s guilt over her alienation from her father over the issue of his mistress and her own “love life;” a couple of characters, Alvirah and Willy, who outwit the police and the perpetrator; and Lyons’ wife’s dementia, among other things. The author can still write smoothly, but the novel smacks of a manufactured outline, rather than a carefully developed plot, with each step carefully constructed to fit. It is unfortunate because the idea for the story is excellent, and if the characters were more deeply drawn, and the irrelevancies omitted, the novel could have been more intriguing.

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