While My Pretty One Sleeps

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Ethel Lambston was not an easy person to tolerate, under the best of circumstances, but her last week on earth drove someone to murder. Still, given Ethel’s personality, the list of suspects could be quite lengthy. There is, first, her long-suffering former husband, whom Ethel continued to abuse financially and emotionally for more than twenty years. Then, there is Ethel’s twenty-eight year-old ne’er-do-well nephew, who may have grown tired of attending to her every request in expectation of inheriting her estate. Yet another suspect, and a very strong contender indeed, is a wealthy fashion designer whose fortune may be based on some highly irregular and illegal activities. All three men had the motive, the opportunity, and the means to silence Ethel Lambston forever.

Moreover, each man has cause to eliminate Neeve Kearny, owner of a fashionable Madison Avenue boutique, who unwittingly possesses a key piece of evidence which will reveal the murder’s identity. Kearny is so much of a threat, in fact, that, unknown to her and her father, a former New York police commissioner, a recently paroled convict has accepted a substantial retainer to arrange her “accidental” death. Thus, as Kearny attempts to ascertain who murdered her irascible friend she is, in turn, stalked by a vicious minion of the one she seeks.

Mary Higgins Clark is craving a respectable niche for herself in the suspense/mystery genre, and WHILE MY PRETTY ONE SLEEPS is a worthy addition to her body of work. Clark has created a mystery calculated to test the mettle of even the most devoted aficionado of the genre. She sustains the intensity of the novel to the very last page, and along the way surprises and mystifies the reader with one unexpected twist after another. Her characters are not only believable, but so endearing that anyone who opens this book will be entranced from page one.