5 stars out of 5
Every now and then, I just want to sit back and be entertained. Mind you, I still want a good whodunit - I'm just not in the mood for blood and guts, big guns blasting in the desert or super-heroes (or heroines) who can take down a dozen martial arts professionals with one hand tied behind their back and the other in a cast.
Enter Mary Higgins Clark, who's pretty much guaranteed to come through on that score, and this one - the second in the Under Suspicion series co-written with Alafair Burke - fills the bill nicely. It's well written in what I'd call "civilized" language, has a well-thought-out plot and believable characters and held my attention throughout.
Like its predecessor, The Cinderella Murder (which earned 4 stars from me, BTW), this one features New York reality TV show producer Laurie Moran, who's trying to settle on the cold case to showcase in her next investigative series titled Under Suspicion. Just as she's about to make her pick, she's visited by the still-distraught mother of an almost-bride named Amanda who disappeared on the eve of her wedding in Palm Beach five years ago. The mother pleads with Laurie to do a show about her daughter, and after some checking around, Laurie agrees it's a great idea. So, she and her team head to Florida to recreate the pre-wedding activities at a posh hotel, reeling in members of the wedding party to be interviewed by show host (and Laurie's love interest) attorney Alex Buckley.
The actions and emotions of all the wedding participants are put under the microscope as Laurie, helped by her retired-cop father, start digging deeper into what really happened. As might be expected, just about every character comes under suspicion at one point or another right up to the end, when the murderer is revealed. I didn't guess the identity of the culprit beforehand, but neither was I surprised since they all had reason to at the very least dislike Amanda and most also had means, motive and opportunity.
If you like murder on the lighter side - even once in a while, like me - give this one a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
All Dressed in White by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke (Simon & Schuster, November 2015); 271 pp.