Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I know she's not considered high literature, but surely someone on this board must be a fan of Mary Higgins Clark?

She's been mentioned in a few threads, but she doesn't have one dedicated to her work. I thought I'd start one after reading the Wall Street Journal's article yesterday, "The Case of the Best-Selling Author," which offers an overview of Clark's remarkable career and run of best-sellers.

My wife is a fan, although her interest in Clark waned last decade during a string of Clark books that focused on psychic phenomena. Sarah reports that Clark has gotten away from that with her recent books, which have been better, in Sarah's opinion. I say that anyone who cranks out a couple of books a year gets a pass for the occasional dud. I have a similar philosophy about Woody Allen and Spike Lee movies; only when a streak of bad films reaches four or five do I start to have my doubts that the artist will come back.

But I digress. The WSJ article opens with a description of what's NOT in any Clark book, and which no doubt contributes to her enduring, broad appeal. I know for a fact that my wife responds to these books in large part because of what's not in them:

Here are some things you'll never find in a Mary Higgins Clark novel: an unmarried couple living together, a curse word, a body hacked to pieces. By today's standards, Ms. Clark's thrillers are quaint throwbacks, more in the Agatha Christie mold than the blood-curdling, titillating fare produced by best-selling writers such as James Patterson and Stieg Larsson.

And then, the staggering sales figures:

Yet Ms. Clark—who at 83 still churns out at least one book a year—remains as lucrative a brand as ever. Her books have sold 100 million copies in the U.S. alone. All 42 of her books have been best sellers. Ms. Clark is the top-selling author across the seven imprints of her publisher, Simon & Schuster. Each year, her novels, which are published in 34 countries, sell 3.7 million copies globally. Simon & Schuster Chief Executive Carolyn Reidy says that Ms. Clark's sales are so consistent that they factor into the company's annual budgets.

I have suspected for several years that Clark's books are written for her, although unlike James Patterson, she doesn't credit her co-writers on the front cover of each novel. The article gives no inkling that that's the case. I do wonder how much influence her editor has, although if Clark really does write each day for several hours, I suppose it's possible she is indeed cranking out two books a year.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...