Carol Higgins Clark, a murder mystery novelist who learned and crafted her style from her mother, famed suspense author Mary Higgins Clark, died June 12. She was 66.
Higgins Clark wrote more than a dozen novels on her own, beginning with “Decked” in 1992, The New York Times reported. She collaborated with her mother on several others with Christmas mystery themes, according to the newspaper. Mary Higgins Clark, known as the “queen of suspense,” died in 2020.
According to the Times, Carol Higgins Clark bailed her mother of a jam in 1975 while she was home from college.
“She had her first suspense novel coming out, and had to get her second one in to her agent,” Carol Higgins Clark told NPR in 2008. “It was before computers, and she didn’t know how she was going to get it retyped in time, so I did it. And that’s really what got me into it, because I had talked to her about the characters and the plot. And I did that for a number of her books, which was great for me to learn about how to write.”
Carol Higgins Clark attended the all-girls private school Immaculate Heart Academy in Bergen County before continuing her education at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, according to the newspaper.
Carol Higgins Clark’s main character was Regan Reilly, a fictional private eye whose life paralleled her own in 18 novels, the Post reported. Like Clark, Reilly was raised in New Jersey and eventually drifted to California.
When her mother’s first suspense novel, “Where Are the Children?” was made into a movie, Carol Higgins Clark had a small role as a television reporter, according to IMDb.com. Over the next 28 years she continued to appear in movies based on her mother’s books, including a leading role in the 1992 film, “A Cry in the Night.”
Carol Ann Higgins Clark was born on July 28, 1956, in Manhattan and raised in Washington Township, located in northern New Jersey, according to the Post. Her father, who had been a sales manager for Capital Airlines, died when she was 8, the newspaper reported.
In October 2006, New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and a flight instructor were killed when their small plane crashed into an Upper East Side building in Manhattan, according to the Post. Clark’s apartment was one floor below the impact and was badly damaged. She was not at home at the time of the crash, the newspaper reported.
Many of her books had one-word titles, the Times reported. They include “Snagged” in 1993, “Twanged” in 1998, “Cursed” in 2009, “Mobbed” in 2011 and “Gypped” in 2012.
“She said, ‘If someone’s mean to you, make them a victim in your next book,’” Carol Higgins Clark told an audience in Palm Beach, Florida, in 2016.