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A Cry In The Night [Mass Market Paperback]

Mary Higgins Clark
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 1 1993
When Jenny MacPartland meets the man of her dreams while working in a New York art gallery, she's ecstatic. Painter Erich Krueger -- whose exquisite landscapes are making him a huge success -- is handsome, sensitive...and utterly in love with her. They marry quickly and Jenny plans a loving home on Erich's vast Minnesota farm. But lonely days and eerie nights strain her nerves to the breaking point and test her sanity. Caught in a whirlpool of shattering events, Jenny soon unearths a past more terrifying than she dares imagine...tragic secrets that threaten her marriage, her children, her life.

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About the Author

Mary Higgins Clark, #1 international and New York Times bestselling author, has written thirty-three suspense novels; three collections of short stories; a historical novel, Mount Vernon Love Story; two children’s books, including The Magical Christmas Horse; and a memoir, Kitchen Privileges. She is also the coauthor with Carol Higgins Clark of five holiday suspense novels. Her books have sold more than 100 million copies in the United States alone.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Jenny began looking for the cabin at dawn. All night she had lain motionless in the massive four-poster bed, unable to sleep, the stillness of the house oppressive and clutching.

Even after weeks of knowing it would not come, her ears were still tuned for the baby's hungry cry. Her breasts still filled, ready to welcome the tiny, eager lips.

Finally she switched on the lamp at the bedside table. The room brightened and the leaded crystal bowl on the dresser top caught and reflected the light. The small cakes of pine soap that filled the bowl cast an eerie green tint on the antique silver mirror and brushes.

She got out of bed and began to dress, choosing the long underwear and nylon Windbreaker that she wore under her ski suit. She had turned on the radio at four o'clock. The weather report was unchanged for the area of Granite Place, Minnesota; the temperature was twelve degrees Fahrenheit. The winds were blowing at an average of twenty-five miles per hour. The windchill factor was twenty-four below zero.

It didn't matter. Nothing mattered. If she froze to death in the search she would try to find the cabin. Somewhere in that forest of maples and oaks and evergreens and Norwegian pines and overgrown brush it was there. In those sleepless hours she had devised a plan. Erich could walk three paces to her one. His naturally long stride had always made him unconsciously walk too fast for her. They used to joke about it. "Hey, wait up for a city girl," she'd protest.

Once he had forgotten his key when he went to the cabin and immediately returned to the house for it. He'd been gone forty minutes. That meant that for him the cabin was usually about a twenty-minute walk from the edge of the woods.

He had never taken her there. "Please understand, Jenny," he'd begged. "Every artist needs a place to be totally alone."

She had never tried to find it before. The help on the farm was absolutely forbidden to go into the woods. Even Clyde, who'd been the farm manager for 30 years, claimed he didn't know where the cabin was.

The heavy, crusted snow would have erased any path, but the snow also made it possible for her to try the search on cross-country skis. She'd have to be careful not to get lost. With the dense underbrush and her own miserable sense of direction, she could easily go around in circles.

Jenny had thought about that, and decided to take a compass, a hammer, tacks and pieces of cloth. She could nail the cloth to trees to help her find her way back.

Her ski suit was downstairs in the closet off the kitchen. While water boiled for coffee, she zipped it on. The coffee helped to bring her mind into focus. During the night she had considered going to Sheriff Gunderson. But he would surely refuse help and would simply stare at her with that familiar look of speculative disdain.

She would carry a thermos of coffee with her. She didn't have a key to the cabin, but she could break a window with the hammer.

Even though Elsa had not been in for over two weeks, the huge old house still glistened and shone with visible proof of her rigid standards of cleanliness. Her habit as she left was to tear off the current day from the daily calendar over the wall phone. Jenny had joked about that to Erich. "She not only cleans what was never dirty, she eliminates every weekday evening."

Now Jenny tore off Friday, February 14, crumpled the page in her hand and stared at the blank sheet under the bold lettering, Saturday, February 15. She shivered. It was nearly 14 months since that day in the gallery when she'd met Erich. No that couldn't be. It was a lifetime ago. She rubbed her hand across her forehead.

Her chestnut-brown hair had darkened to near-black during the pregnancy. It felt drab and lifeless as she stuffed it under the woolen ski cap. The shell-edged mirror to the left of the kitchen door was an incongruous touch in the massive, oak-beamed kitchen. She stared into it now. Her eyes were heavily shadowed. Normally a shade somewhere between aqua and blue, they reflected back at her wide-pupiled and expressionless. Her cheeks were drawn. The weight loss since the birth had left her too thin. The pulse in her neck throbbed as she zipped the ski suit to the top. Twenty-seven years old. It seemed to her that she looked at least ten years older, and felt a century older. If only the numbness would go away. If only the house weren't so quiet, so fearfully, frighteningly quiet.

She looked at the cast-iron stove at the east wall of the kitchen. The cradle, filled with wood, was beside it again, its usefulness restored.

Deliberately she studied the cradle, made herself absorb the constant shock of its presence in the kitchen, then turned her back on it and reached for the thermos bottle. She poured coffee into it, then collected the compass, hammer and tacks and strips of cloth. Thrusting them into a canvas knapsack she pulled a scarf over her face, put on her cross-country ski shoes, yanked thick, fur-lined mittens on her hands and opened the door.

The sharp, biting wind made a mockery of the face scarf. The muffled lowing of the cows in the dairy barn reminded her of the exhausted sobs of deep mourning. The sun was coming up, dazzling against the snow, harsh in its golden-red beauty, a far-off god that could not affect the bitter cold.

By now Clyde would be inspecting the dairy barn. Other hands would be pitching hay in the polebarns to feed the scores of black Angus cattle, which were unable to graze beneath the hard-packed snow and would habitually head there for food and shelter. A half-dozen men working on this enormous farm, yet there was no one near the house -- all of them were small figures, seen like silhouettes, against the horizon....

Her cross-country skis were outside the kitchen door. Jenny carried them down the six steps from the porch, tossed them on the ground, stepped into them and snapped them on. Thank God she'd learned to ski well last year.

It was a little after seven o'clock when she began looking for the cabin. She limited herself to skiing no more than thirty minutes in any direction. She started at the point where Erich always disappeared into the woods. The overhead branches were so entangled that the sun barely penetrated through them. After she'd skied in as straight a line as possible, she turned right, covered about one hundred feet more, turned right again and started back to the edge of the forest. The wind covered her tracks almost as soon as she passed any spot but at every turning point she hammered a piece of cloth into the tree.

At eleven o'clock she returned to the house, heated soup, changed into dry socks, forced herself to ignore the tingling pain in her forehead and hands, and set out again.

At five o'clock, half frozen, the slanting rays of the sun almost vanishing, she was about to give up for the day when she decided to go over one more hilly mound. It was then she came upon it, the small, bark-roofed log cabin that had been built by Erich's great-grandfather in 1869. She stared at it, biting her lips as savage disappointment sliced her with the physical impact of a stiletto.

The shades were drawn; the house had a shuttered look as though it had not been open for a time. The chimney was snow-covered; no lights shone from within.

Had she really dared to hope that when she came upon it, that chimney would be smoking, lamps would glow through the curtains, that she'd be able to go up to the door and open it?

There was a metal shingle nailed to the door. The letters were faded but still readable: ABSOLUTELY NO ADMITTANCE. VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED. It was signed Erich Fritz Krueger and dated 1903.

There was a pump house to the left of the cabin, an outhouse discreetly half-hidden by full-branched pines. She tried to picture the young Erich coming here with his mother. "Caroline loved the cabin just as it was," Erich had told her. "My father wanted to modernize the old place but she wouldn't hear of it."

No longer aware of the cold, Jenny skied over to the nearest window. Reaching into the knapsack, she pulled out the hammer, raised it and smashed the pane. Flying glass grazed her cheek She was unaware of the trickle of blood that froze as it ran down her face. Careful to avoid the jagged peaks, she reached in, unfastened the latch and shoved the window up.

Kicking offher skis, she climbed over the low sill, pushed aside the shade and stepped into the cabin. The cabin consisted of a single room about twenty feet square. A Franklin stove on the north wall had wood piled neatly next to it. A faded Oriental rug covered most of the white pine flooring. A wide-armed, high-backed velour couch and matching chairs were clustered around the stove. A long oak table and benches were near the front windows. A spinning wheel looked as though it might still be functional. A massive oak sideboard held willowware china and oil lamps. A steep stairway led to the left. Next to it, rows of file baskets held stacks of unframed canvases. The walls were white pine, unknotted, silk-smooth and covered with paintings. Numbly Jenny walked from one to the other of them. The cabin was a museum. Even the dim light could not hide the exquisite beauty of the oils and watercolors, the charcoals and pen-and-ink drawings. Erich had not even begun to show his best work yet. How would the critics react when they saw these masterpieces? she wondered.

Some of the paintings on the walls were already framed. These must be the next ones he planned to exhibit. The pole-barn in a winter storm. What was so different about it? The doe, head poised, listening, about to flee into the woods. The calf reaching up to its mother. The fields of alfalfa, blue-flowered, ready for harvest. The Congregational Church with worshipers hurrying toward it. The main street of Granite Place suggesting timeless serenity.

Even in her desolation, the sensitive beauty of the collection gave Jenny a momentary sense of quietude and peace.

Finally she bent over the unframed canvases in the nearest rack. Again admiration suffused her being. The incredible...

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It was obvious that the exhibition of paintings by Erich Krueger, the newly discovered Midwest artist, was a stunning success. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting June 4 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Just kept me reading, anxious to always find out what was going to happen next. I would definitely recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars book review May 16 2014
By maureen
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
seen this book on the list. tried a sample and just had to buy it. buying online is a lot cheaper than the stores.
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5.0 out of 5 stars CHILLING PORTRAIT ETCHED IN TERROR Oct. 28 2001
By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 500 REVIEWER
Jenny McPartland, a divorcee and mother of 2 at 27 lives in a modest Manhattan apartment. She scrapes to make ends meet for her two daughters, Beth 3, and Tina, 2.
Her luck seems to change when she meets the charismatic Erich Krueger at an art gallery where she works. She is literally swept off her feet by Erich and subsequently marries him. They leave Manhattan for Erich's ancestral home in Granite Springs, Minnesota.
Once in Minnesota, alarming facets of Erich's personality appear. His relentless obsession with his dead mother, Caroline and his constant references to her are alarming. It is interesting that he applies no maternal name to her; she is always "Caroline." Caroline at the start of this story has been dead for over 25 years, having died in 1956 when Erich was then 10. (The story is set in 1981-83). Erich insists Jenny dress like Caroline; wear Caroline's aqua colored gown to bed; use the same pine scented soap Caroline used and in general, replace the mother he lost at 10.
More cracks appear in Erich's seemingly flawless armor. Mysterious deaths are part of the Granite Springs home. A young woman disappeared some 10 years earlier and is presumably dead; dogs also were presumably killed and Jenny and Erich's baby dies a mysterious death. Jenny's daughters say that Jenny killed their brother, that she "covered his face with a blanket."
But did she? Jenny doubts this. She also has doubts in Erich, who kidnaps the girls and hides even more terrifying secrets on and around the property. Life with Erich, as Jenny was to discover was a chilling portrait etched in terror.
Definitely worth 10 or more stars. This is my favorite book by Mary Higgins Clark.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother with this one! Aug. 14 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have given up on Mary Higgins Clark. This book was the last straw. I have read many of her books and this one was a waste. Too many holes.
For example, and sorry I don't have the page numbers on me. This main character could not be that naïve. I mean, come on now, she is pregnant, and has no way of knowing where her husband is when he is in the cabin. She can't call him if she were sick. She is in this house and never goes out for her own hygiene products. Get real.
In another chapter. She is so worried about someone coming in the house and taking her keys. She is horrified. Wouldn't a mother be afraid of someone coming in the house and taking her children. At one point the phone rings and she is terrified that that someone will get her. What about the kids?
Later, when she thinks she is having contractions, she rushes out house to see the doctor. No mention of a babysitter. She just leaves.
She never asked about her phone calls or her mail. No one would call? What about the w-2 form from the old place. I know I am being cynical, but I am only stating that the pictured was painted that she was in this house and everything was just that. The kids were not even being taught anything, just playing everyday
It didn't add up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Clark June 14 2004
By Colin
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Here's how good this book is. I intended to just read a few chapters the other day, but ended up finishing the entire book in one night! It's a gripping well-told suspense story.
The main plot revolves around Jenny, a single mother of two, who enters a whirlwind romance with Erich Kruger, an artist, and ends up moving into his home with her children. But then Erich starts become more posessive and she notices his odd fixation on his mother, who died in an accident (or was it??).
Sure there was some deja vu for me in this book that made me immediately think of movies and books that have used similar plot twists (I won't say which or else it'll spoil the ending). But still this is a great book, but don't intend on putting it down once you start!
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's a great book April 16 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I thought A Cry in the Night was a fantastic book. I couldn't put it down. It was exciting and fast. I got into it right away.She is an excellent writer and wrote another hit.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Clark's best April 12 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What a great book!! I read this in high school in one day. I was home sick and should have been sleeping, but started in on this book and could not put it down. Jenny is a mother of 2 daughters and works at an art museum where she meets Erich, and artist who sweeps her off her feet. Soon the 2 marry and strange things start to happen and Jenny realizes she and her daughters are in danger. Every bit of the story leaves you hanging on each word to find out what happens next. I read all around the town and thought it was great, but this book really made me a fan. You will not be able to put this book down, there are so many twists and turns and full of surprises. I highly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy and Beautifully Written March 13 2004
By A Customer
Format:School & Library Binding
This book is awesome and its plot is interesting and comes together nicely. It includes a few mysterious disappearences and deaths and a very disturbing obsession. After reading the prolouge, I couldn't put the book down, and the way it ends after all the creepy occurrences is perfect. The part when Jenny finds the painting near the end is described so vividly that I could perfectly picture in my mind how grotesque and horrible the painting was and couldn't get that image out of my head for weeks. This book is certainly worth reading, though reading it during the daytime is a good idea.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars written by the best
Mary Higgins Clark is one of the best writters out there. Her books are wonderful. So of course this one is also. It is a very scary book. I have everyone of her books. Read more
Published on Dec 1 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars True definition of "page turner"!
This is a must read for MHC fans, or just for fans of a great page turner! I did not want to put this book down. Read more
Published on Nov. 21 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
I usually have slighty a hard time getting through Clark's books, but this one, on the other hand, I flew right through. Read more
Published on Sept. 28 2003 by Amber
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy!
Easily one of the creepiest MHC books I've read. It doesn't use her predictable formula and is lacking a lot of twists and turns, but it is still very riveting, a great and... Read more
Published on Sept. 28 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Mary has done it again!
Jenny MacPartland is a divorced women who is left alone with her two young children named Beth and Tina. Read more
Published on July 17 2003 by Katherine
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
If you have never before read a May Higgins Clark novel, I can see raving about this book. However, as a big Mary Higgin Clark fan, I found 'A Cry in the Night' disappointing. Read more
Published on June 22 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Clark's Best!
I enjoy Mary Higgins Clark no matter what she writes but now months after having read Cry in the Night I still get the shivers thinking about the suspenseful story. Read more
Published on June 19 2003 by MaryMargaret
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