by Mary Higgins Clark ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 19, 1998
Lottery winners Alvirah and Willy Meehan are the guests of honor in this second helping of Christmas turkey from megaselling Clark (Silent Night, 1995, etc.). Seven years ago, rising-star violinist Sondra Lewis, following an unwise dalliance with a married pianist, had the misfortune to abandon her newborn baby outside St. Clement's Church just as low-level thief Lenny Centino was looking for some cover after stealing St. Clement's prized silver chalice. Oblivious to its cargo, Lenny grabbed Sondra's stroller before she could get through to Monsignor Thomas Ferris, and took stroller and baby home to his aunt Lilly, who raised the little girl as Jimmy's. Now the time is at hand for Providence, in the form of retired cleaning woman Alvirah and her husband Willy, to set things straight by restoring Stellina Centino to the forlorn mother who's come back to town in the hopes of picking up some word of her. And there's more work for the redoubtable $40 million winners this Christmastide. Alvirah's friend Bessie Durkin Maher, the housekeeper who married widower Judge Mayer to keep her job, has died; but instead of leaving her house to the after-school center run by Willy's sister, Sister Cordelia, an 11th-hour will leaves it to her house-proud tenants Vic and Linda Baker--or so it seems to duller wits than Alvirah's. Vowing to think like Poirot, Alvirah goes to work righting wrongs and slaying dragons. Though Alvirah and Willy are bath toned down from the oblivious consumers of The Lottery Winner (1994), the dragons themselves are so winded--neither Lenny Centino nor those precious frauds the Bakers have enough presence to headline a third-grade pageant--that their misdoings are less like crimes than detours, temporary swerves from the way of true happiness. If the resulting tale doesn't provide the menace or suspense of Clark's full-length novels (You Belong to Me, p. 418, etc.), though, it does succeed--as the Epilogue tell us--in providing a ""human-interest story"" that's ""especially appropriate for the Christmas season."" Pass the fruitcake.
Pub Date: Oct. 19, 1998
Page Count: 176
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1998
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