Book review: The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 Permalink

I’ve long been a Mary Higgins Clark fan. Indeed – my love of her work dates back to the early 1990s when her novels seemed different and quite cutting-edge. Before heading into the bath with the book I joked on Facebook about reading MHC, saying I’d be revisiting Barbara Taylor Bradford next. Of course it wasn’t until I really thought back to my reading habits of the 1990s I remembered that it was (in fact) a time I discovered Joy Fielding, Elizabeth George, Martha Grimes, Patricia Cornwell and of course MHC.

I believe Cornwell went off the rails at some point a decade or so ago and haven’t read any of her work in a long long time, but MHC continues to deliver quality reading fodder. There’s something a little similar about all of her books: love and betrayal (domestic noir perhaps) but that’s kinda okay cos (I know) her work is more likely to be translated into a TV movie than an Academy Award winner. And that’s okay too.

The blurb

Lane Harmon, assistant to a renowned interior designer, is used to meeting the rich and famous in their opulent homes. But when she is called to the Bennett house, she knows this job will be different. Parker Bennett has been missing for two years – since just before the discovery that billions of dollars had vanished from a fund he managed. The scandal has not died and a cloud of suspicion remains around his name. Did he commit suicide or was his disappearance staged?

His wife is convinced Parker is innocent – and alive. But there are people after him who are determined to learn the truth at any cost. And the more Lane gets drawn into the Bennett’s world of glamour and intrigue, the most she puts her life and those of her family in jeopardy…

the melody lingers on

My thoughts

I’ve been cheating of late and using the publisher’s blurb instead of summarising the book myself… and sometimes that’s okay. I can’t be bothered rewriting the whole thing (above) but this blurb leaves out a very important element—Eric Bennett—Parker’s only child who woos single mother Lane. Eric’s come under A LOT of scrutiny since his father disappeared. There’s no evidence he was (in any way) involved, but those cheated out of their life savings, along with the FBI (which continues to sniff around the case) remain suspicious.

I’ve actually read at least three books about wealthy men maybe or maybe not faking their disappearances after swindling money in the last year. Nora Roberts’ The Liar comes to mind, as does Laura Lippman’s After I’m Gone.

We learn of Parker’s fate relatively early in The Melody Lingers On. The suspense centres around the money he may have embezzled and the involvement of those left behind.

The novel is well-paced and MHC keeps readers on our toes. Lane is a great character and I LOVED her eccentric and high-maintenance boss Glady. The latter was incredibly insightful and hilariously blunt. In fact, I’d love to meet her again in another of MHC’s outings. And while Eric is great with Lane’s daughter and quickly develops feelings for Lane but we can’t help but wonder why others dislike him so.

MHC fans will not be disappointed with her latest novel. It has all of the elements we’ve come to expect in her work. (And for me a good balance between romance and suspense!)

The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark was published in Australia by Simon & Schuster on 1 July 2015.

I received a copy of this book for review purposes.

Buy now from Booktopia (Australia) or Amazon (International). 

Are you a Mary Higgins Clark fan?

14 Comments
  • Jo
    July 15, 2015

    I’ve long been a MHC fan… But also gave up on Patricia Cornwall a while back…

    • Debbish
      July 15, 2015

      Oh yes… I loved Lucy (the niece?) in the Scarpetta series as a kid, but it just got weird when she got older. I read an article saying Cornwell lost readers when it was revealed Lucy was gay, but I think it was more that her characters became caricatures and unrealistic. #hmph!

      • Mel @ The cook's notebook
        July 15, 2015

        I thought Lucy became more interesting when she was revealed as being gay. But the books overall became very uninteresting. Love MHC and looking forward to reading this one

        • Debbish
          July 15, 2015

          Oh yes, the gay thing wasn’t a problem of course, it was more that Lucy became like some sort of super-hero attracted to the weirdest people possible. 🙂

          I read something at the time which suggested Cornwell was struggling with her own sexuality and became a bit overly obsessed with the issue and acting out through her characters… #orsomething. Not sure if that was true (and too lazy to google).

          I used to like the relationship between Kay and… the police officer whose name escapes me (I want to say Milo, but I’m thinking of the Kellerman series!), but it kinda disintegrated.

          She was a trailblazer at the time but I think others came along and did (what she was doing) better.

  • Stormi D Johnson
    July 15, 2015

    I haven’t read much of her work but what I have I have liked. This sounds like another good one. 🙂

    • Debbish
      July 15, 2015

      I think she’s consistent Stormi. Like some of my faves – JD Robb etc… you know you can count on a good plot and characters etc.

  • Ros Baxter
    July 15, 2015

    Thanks Deb, might just have to put it on my reading list

  • Mystery Case
    July 15, 2015

    Sounds really interesting. I haven’t actually read anything by Mary Higgens. Is there a particular book I should start with?

    • Debbish
      July 15, 2015

      No you could pretty much start anywhere Raych. She doesn’t tend to write series – though her recent collaborations with Alafair Burke will follow on I think – so you’re pretty safe to start with any and she’s written a lot of books and is in her late 80s.

  • Jess
    July 16, 2015

    Love MHC!

    • Debbish
      July 17, 2015

      Yes… so many of her early books are still familiar!

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    July 17, 2015

    I haven’t ever read Mary Higgens Clark. You’re definitely tempting me though Deb …

I'd love to hear your thoughts