THE LOTTERY WINNER: Alvirah and Willy Suspense Stories by Mary Higgins Clark

THE LOTTERY WINNER: Alvirah and Willy Suspense Stories

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Six clean-cut criminal adventures for Alvirah Meehan, the $40-million-lottery-winning cleaning lady from Weep No More, My Lady, and her husband, Willy, who no longer sends bills for his plumbing jobs. Their homecoming to New York City in the first story is eventful, since Willy's playwright nephew is arrested for killing an importunate actress in their own Central Park South apartment, with Alvirah discovering both ""The Body in the Closet"" and the telltale clue. ""Death on the Cape"" asks why, and on whose behalf, the witness who sent Cynthia Rogers to prison for murder 12 years ago perjured himself. In the most inventive tale, ""A Clean Sweep,"" Alvirah takes up arms for a recent divorcÉe who claims her ex-husband dumped her so that he could redeem the joint lottery ticket he ""lost"" with his new wife. The title stow shows a diamond thief returning to Alvirah's beloved Cypress Point Spa in Pebble Beach, Calif., to kill the man who hired him to perform a fraudulent robbery. Clark's heart isn't really in the details of plotting whodunits like this, but the remaining two stories of kidnapping (a neighbor's baby is snatched in ""Bye, Baby Bunting,"" Willy himself in ""Plumbing for Willy""), which ought to be closer to her home turf, are even thinner. After all, what chance do kidnappers stand when Willy's already fixed their plumbing, and Sister Cordelia and Sister Maeve Marie -- who also happen to be his biological sisters -- are patrolling the streets inches away from their lair, a Hell's Kitchen flophouse where Alvirah can hire on as a room-service waitress? What lingers in the memory are Clark's paeans to the kind of high-end bourgeois consumerism satirized by Bret Easton Ellis: not just brand-name products and generic crime-fighting gadgets, but the wholesome attitudes her relentlessly upbeat couple has been packaged to sell.

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 1994
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster