The daughter of Irish restaurant owner Luke Joseph Higgins and Nora C. (Durkin) Higgins, Mary Higgins grew up in the Bronx and attended Villa Maria Academy and Ward Secretarial School. She wrote her first poem at seven and frightened friends with scary ghost stories. The sudden deaths of her father and her older brother Joe affected her deeply. At seventeen she became a Remington Rand advertising assistant. Creative writing classes at New York University inspired her to join a writing group that became the Adams Round Table and eventually led to five short-story collections. While working as a Pan Am flight attendant (1949-1950), she married long-time friend and airline executive Warren F. Clark. When her husband died in 1964, Clark was left with five children to support. She wrote and produced radio scripts for Robert G. Jennings (1965-1970) while writing in her free time. When her first published book, Aspire to the Heavens: A Biography of George Washington (1969), proved a commercial failure, she turned to the mystery genre. In 1970 she went to work for Aerial Communications, where she served ten years as vice president, partner, and radio programming creative director/producer.
Clark’s publication of Where Are the Children? (1975) earned more than $100,000 in paperback royalties and marked the beginning of her long, successful second career as a mystery writer attuned to childhood fears, mother-child relationships, the traumatic loss of...
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