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STILLWATCH by Mary Higgins Clark Kirkus Star



Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1984
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Patricia Traymore, you must not come to Washington. You must not produce a program glorifying Senator Jennings. And you must not live in that house."" Will TV-journalist Pat Traymore let this scary anonymous phone-call stop her from joining the Potomac Cable Network in D.C.? Of course not. She'll plunge right ahead--starting work on a profile of Sen. Abigail Jennings, the beautiful middle-aged widow who just might be appointed VP (to replace the critically ill incumbent). Furthermore, Pat will move into ""that house""--the Georgetown house where Rep. Dean Adams and his wife died in a 1950s murder/suicide, their three-year-old daughter dying from mysterious injuries too. But did the Adams child really die? Of course not. Pat's secret is that she's the renamed grownup child of that bygone tragedy--and she has come to Washington partly to stir up cathartic memories of the murder night. (What went wrong with her parents' marriage? Did one of them truly try to kill the three-year-old Pat?) Meanwhile, Pat is hoping to rekindle a romance with glum Rep. Sam Kingsley, a 50-ish widower whom Abigail Jenning dotes on. Meanwhile, too, her diggings into Jennings' past are annoying the queenly senator, enraging the senator's loyal old chauffeur/bodyguard, and unhinging a homicidal maniac (who has befriended one of the skeletons in Sen. Jenning's closet). So Pat will soon be threatened and mildly terrorized from two different sources, especially when she gets hints of some major scandals--about the long-ago airplane death of Sen. Jennings' husband (foul play), about connections between beautiful Sen. Jennings and the deaths of Pat's parents. And the finale has Pat in that house, stalked by both killers--tied up and about to burn to death. . . before rescue by Sam and the friendly neighborhood psychic. Clark's details from the worlds of journalism and politics are always unconvincing, sometimes downright laughable. As in A Cry in the Night, there are great gobs of coincidence at every turn. But this is again a welcome, semi-classy departure from the exploitation/horror of Clark's earlier bestsellers--with a lively pace, a cheerfully busy plot (combining a couple of reliable mystery/gothic formulae), a blandly likable heroine, and moderate suspense. . .if few surprises.