A CRY IN THE NIGHT by Mary Higgins Clark
Kirkus Star


Email this review


In something of a departure from her horror/stalker chillers (with their emphasis on terrorized kids and babies), Clark offers a more traditional kind of gothic suspense here: a steadily readable, nicely understated variation on the Who-Is-This-Man-I've-Married? formula--which goes back, of course, via Rebecca, at least as far as Jane Eyre. Jenny MacPartland, divorced mother of tots Beth and Tina, is swept off her harried feet by handsome, courtly, charismatic Minnesota painter Erich Kreuger--whose pastoral/idyllic paintings are being shown at the Manhattan gallery where Jenny works. In no time, then, Jenny is Mrs. Kreuger, leaving N.Y.C. (and her irritating ex-husband, actor Kevin) for the Kreuger farm/estate. The place is luxurious. Erich is attentive, loving to the kids (whom he adopts). But Erich is also, it soon appears, possessive, jealous, a tyrannical perfectionist. Furthermore, he's obsessed with the memory of his mother Caroline--who died in a barn accident when he was ten: Jenny, a Caroline lookalike, must wear the dead mother's nightgown whenever lovemaking is on the schedule! And then ex-hubby Kevin, who's in the area for an acting job, turns up dead--with all evidence pointing to Jenny herself as the killer. What's going on here? Is Jenny a sleepwalking amnesiac? (A Caroline-like figure has been spotted in ghostly appearances.) Is Erich a crazy? Who is the woman who makes nasty phone calls to poor Jenny? And did Jenny's new-born baby really die of cribdeath? Well, many readers--especially those who remember a certain 1960 film--will figure it all out long before Jenny does. But the damsel-in-distress action is solidly creepy: Erich abducts the little girls; Jenny uncovers the family secrets (the truth about Caroline's death, about Erich's paintings) on a snow-trek up to Erich's cabin/ studio in the woods. And, while this may disappoint devotees of Clark's aggressively horrific thrillers, lovers of Good-Old-Gothic will be fully entertained--especially those who've been finding Phyllis A. Whitney's comparable efforts awfully slow and bland.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1982
ISBN: 0899684475
Publisher: Simon & Schuster