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Deck the Halls



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About The Book

In their first acclaimed work of collaboration, Mary Higgins Clark, the Queen of Suspense, and her daughter, bestselling author Carol Higgins Clark, create an exciting and entertaining story of a holiday kidnapping.

Three days before Christmas, Regan Reilly, the dynamic young sleuth featured in the novels of Carol Higgins Clark, accidentally meets Alvirah Meehan, Mary Higgins Clark’s famous lottery winner and amateur detective, at a New Jersey dentist’s office. That's where it all begins.

While Regan’s mother, Nora, the famous mystery writer, is in the hospital with a broken leg, her husband, Luke, and his chauffeur, Rosita, are kidnapped and held for a million-dollar ransom. Together, Regan and Alvirah track the case as the inept yet dangerous kidnappers make their demands known. Meanwhile, Luke and Rosita are held captive on a houseboat on the Hudson River and a fierce winter storm is gathering force.

A true Christmas classic, Deck the Halls blends suspense with poignancy, laugh-out-loud humor, and all-around holiday cheer.


Deck The Halls
Regan Reilly sighed for the hundredth time as she looked down at her mother, Nora, a brand-new patient in Manhattan’s Hospital for Special Surgery. “And to think I bought you that dopey crocheted rug you tripped on,” she said.

“You only bought it. I caught my heel in it,” the well-known mystery writer said wanly. “It wasn’t your fault I was wearing those idiotic stilts.”

Nora attempted to shift her body, which was anchored by a heavy plaster cast that reached from her toes to her thigh.

“I’ll leave you two to assess the blame for the broken leg,” Luke Reilly, owner of three funeral homes, husband and father, observed as he hoisted his long, lean body from the low bedside armchair. “I’ve got a funeral to go to, a dentist’s appointment, and then, since our Christmas plans are somewhat altered, I guess I’d better see about buying a tree.”

He bent over and kissed his wife. “Look at it this way: you may not be gazing at the Pacific Ocean, but you’ve got a good view of the East River.” He and Nora and their only child, thirty-one-year-old Regan, had been planning to spend the Christmas holiday on Maui.

“You’re a scream,” Nora told him. “Dare we hope you’ll arrive home with a tree that isn’t your usual Charlie Brown special?”

“That’s not nice,” Luke protested.

“But it’s true.” Nora dismissed the subject. “Luke, you look exhausted. Can’t you skip Goodloe’s funeral? Austin can take care of everything.”

Austin Grady was Luke’s right-hand man. He had handled hundreds of funerals on his own, but the one today was different. The deceased, Cuthbert Boniface Goodloe, had left the bulk of his estate to the Seed-Plant-Bloom-and-Blossom Society of the Garden State of New Jersey. His disgruntled nephew and partial namesake, Cuthbert Boniface Dingle, known as C.B., was obviously bitter about his meager inheritance. After viewing hours yesterday afternoon, C.B. had sneaked back to the casket where Luke had found him stuffing rotted bits of house plants in the sleeves of the pin-striped designer suit the fastidious Goodloe had chosen as his last outfit.

As Luke came up behind C.B., he heard him whispering, “You love plants? I’ll give you plants, you senile old hypocrite. Get a whiff of these! Enjoy them from now until Resurrection Day!”

Luke had backed away, not wanting to confront C.B., who continued to vent verbal outrage at the body of his less-than-generous uncle. It was not the first time Luke had heard a mourner telling off the deceased, but the use of decaying foliage was a first. Later, Luke had quietly removed the offensive vegetation. But today, he wanted to keep an eye on C.B. himself. Besides, he hadn’t had a chance to mention the incident to Austin.

Luke considered telling Nora about the nephew’s bizarre behavior, but then decided not to go into it. “Goodloe’s been planning his own funeral with me for three years,” he said instead. “If I didn’t show up, he’d haunt me.”

“I suppose you should go.” Nora’s voice was sleepy, and her eyes were starting to close. “Regan, why don’t you let Dad drop you off at the apartment? The last painkiller they gave me is knocking me out.”

“I’d rather hang around until your private nurse gets here,” Regan said. “I want to make sure someone is with you.”

“All right. But then go to the apartment and crash. You know you never sleep on the red-eye flight.”

Regan, a private investigator who lived in Los Angeles, had been packing for the trip to Hawaii when her father phoned.

“Your mother’s fine,” he began. “But she’s had an accident. She broke her leg.”

“She broke her leg?” Regan had repeated.

“Yes. We were on our way to a black tie at the Plaza. Mom was one of the honorees. She was running a little late. I rang for the elevator . . .”

One of Dad’s not very subtle ways of getting Mom to hurry up, Regan thought.

“The elevator arrived, but she didn’t. I went back into the apartment and found her lying on the floor with her leg at a very peculiar angle. But you know your mother. Her first question was to ask if her gown was torn.”

That would be Mom, Regan had thought affectionately.

“She was the best-dressed emergency-room patient in the history of the hospital,” Luke had concluded.

Regan had dumped her Hawaii clothes out of the suitcase and replaced them with winter clothes suitable for New York. She barely made the last night flight from Los Angeles to Kennedy, and once in New York had paused only long enough to drop off her bags at her parents’ apartment on Central Park South.

From the doorway of the hospital room, Luke looked back and smiled at the sight of the two women in his life, so alike in some ways with their classic features, blue eyes, and fair skin, but so different in others. From the Black Irish Reillys, Regan had inherited raven black hair, a throwback to the Spaniards who had settled in Ireland after their Armada had been destroyed in battle with the British. Nora, however, was a natural blonde, and at five feet three inches was four inches shorter than her daughter. At six feet five, Luke towered over both of them. His once-dark hair was now almost completely silver.

“Regan, I’ll meet you back here at around seven,” he said. “After we cheer your mother up, we’ll go out and have a good dinner.”

He caught Nora’s expression and smiled at her. “You thrive on the urge to kill, honey. All the reviewers say so.” He waved his hand. “See you girls tonight.”

It was a commitment Luke would not be able to keep.

About The Authors

Photograph © Bernard Vidal

The #1 New York Times bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark wrote over forty suspense novels, four collections of short stories, a his­torical novel, a memoir, and two children’s books. With bestselling author Alafair Burke she wrote the Under Suspicion series including The Cinderella MurderAll Dressed in WhiteThe Sleeping Beauty KillerEvery Breath You TakeYou Don’t Own Me, and Piece of My Heart. With her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, she coauthored five suspense novels. More than one hundred million copies of her books are in print in the United States alone. Her books are international bestsellers.

Photo Credit: Deborah Feingold

Carol Higgins Clark (1956–2023) was the bestselling author of the Regan Reilly mysteries. She was the daughter of suspense writer Mary Higgins Clark, with whom she coauthored a bestselling holiday suspense series. Also an actress, Carol Higgins Clark studied at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and recorded several novels. She received AudioFile’s Earphones Award of Excellence for her reading of Jinxed


Product Details

  • Publisher: Pocket Books (October 25, 2022)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982187972

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