Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Beach Read: "Moonlight Becomes You" by Mary Higgens Clark

Set in Newport, RI, the history of the small New England town is part of the character, and it works nicely.  I consider it a “beach read” because it is relatively short and can be read in one (loooong, uninterrupted) day at the beach. 

Book Title: Moonlight Becomes You by Mary Higgins Clark
Genre: Mystery   
Beach Setting:  Newport, RI
Format:  Hardcover (picked up for $.50 at the Library Book sale!  What a steal!)
Pages:  255
Publication date:  1996
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Favorite Passage:  I hate cocktail parties, Maggie thought wryly, wondering why she always felt like an alien when she attended one.  Actually I’m being too harsh, she thought.  The truth is I hate cocktail parties where the only person I know is my supposed date, and he abandons me the minute we come in the door. 

Beach Read Rating:  4 (out of 5) Beach Umbrellas

Review:  Buried alive!  Is there a more nightmarish idea in the whole world?  And that is exactly how this book begins, with a woman named Maggie waking up in a locked coffin.  The story then backtracks about three weeks so we can see the events leading up to the premature interment.  That is the “ticking time bomb” that makes this a thriller that you don’t want to put down!  When and why did she end up in the coffin?  And more importantly, will she be saved in time?  Ms. Clark does a fabulous job of creating a very sympathetic character in Maggie (she and I could form a lasting friendship because we both hate cocktail parties!) and does an even better job of working the reader into a cold-blooded fear for our new “friend”.  There is a reason I only gave it 4 beach umbrellas though, but only because I would have written the ending differently.  According to a quick Google search, most reviewers enjoyed it as is.  It remains a very enjoyable bit of escapism while you are at the beach.     

Cover blurb:  Set in Newport, Rhode Island, in a world of old money and proud names, Moonlight Becomes You has at its center Maggie Holloway, an independent young woman who has put personal tragedy behind her and become one of the fashion world's most successful photographers. Accompanying her date to a party in Manhattan - a kind of family reunion for the Moore clan of Newport - Maggie is reunited with a woman who had once been her stepmother and who remains one of her fondest childhood memories. Nuala, now widowed, invites Maggie to visit her in Newport, and when Maggie readily accepts, Nuala plans a dinner for a group of friends so they can meet her long-lost stepdaughter. But when Maggie arrives, she finds Nuala dead, the victim of an apparently random break-in and robbery. Maggie is heartbroken at the loss and further stunned when she learns that, only days before her death, Nuala had changed her will and left her charming Victorian house to her stepdaughter, the only proviso being that Maggie occasionally visit an old friend, Greta Shipley, who lives in Latham Manor, an elegant retirement home in Newport. It is when she accompanies Mrs. Shipley to the cemetery to visit Nuala's grave, as well as those of other friends Mrs. Shipley has recently lost, that Maggie discovers that something is wrong. Using her skills as a photographer to aid her in uncovering the secrets hidden on the gravesites, she soon realizes that Nuala's death may not have been a random killing at all but rather part of a diabolical plot conceived by a twisted and unfeeling mind.

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