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Before I Say Good-Bye [Large Print] [Paperback]

Mary Higgins Clark
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 2005

Mary Higgins Clark, America's "Queen of Suspense," delves into the mystery of psychic powers and communication with the dead in her gripping new thriller, Before I Say Good-Bye.

When Adam Cauliff's new cabin cruiser, Cornelia II, blows up in New York harbor with him and several close business associates aboard, his wife, Nell MacDermott, is not only distraught at the loss but wracked with guilt because she and Adam had just had a serious quarrel and she had told him not to come home.

The quarrel was precipitated by Nell's decision to try to win the congressional seat long held by her grandfather Cornelius MacDermott. Orphaned at age ten, she had been raised by "Mac," as she called him, and was always at his side on Capitol Hill. Politics was in her blood, and Adam had known her ambitions when they married. Suddenly, however, he became opposed to her plan to run for Congress.

Nell, like her great-aunt Gert, possesses psychic gifts, which her grandfather scoffingly dismisses as "flights of fantasy." As a child she had been aware of the deaths of both her parents and grandmother at the exact moment they died. She knew because at that very moment she sensed their presence near her.

Even though Nell has the rare gift of extrasensory perception, she is much too levelheaded to accept most of the claims made by many so-called psychics and is skeptical about Aunt Gert's fascination with mediums. After Adam's death, however, Gert begs Nell to see a medium, Bonnie Wilson, who has contacted her, claiming she is in touch with Adam. Still regretting her last angry words to Adam, Nell agrees, hoping that she will be able to reach him through the medium and part from him in peace.

As the investigation into the boat's explosion proceeds, Nell is shocked by the official confirmation that it was not an accident but the result of foul play. Adam, an architect, had been involved in a major construction project on land he had recently purchased and which had since had a spectacular rise in value.

Was Adam the target of the explosion? Or was it Winifred Johnson, his self-effacing, fifty-two-year-old assistant, who knew too much about bribery in the construction business and who was openly in love with him? Or was it Sam Krause, a builder with a questionable reputation who was involved in the new project? Or Jimmy Ryan, the debt-ridden construction foreman whose wife, after his death, discovers money hidden in their home? Or was it Peter Lang, the wealthy man-about-town real-estate entrepreneur, whose minor traffic accident caused him to miss the fatal meeting on the boat?

As Nell searches for the truth about Adam's death, she carries out instructions from Adam transmitted through the medium. What she does not know is that she is being closely watched, and the nearer she comes to learning what actually happened on the boat that night, the nearer she is to becoming the next victim of a ruthless killer.


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From Amazon

Mary Higgins Clark's 22nd romantic thriller is destined for bestsellerdom on the strength of her reputation alone. Which is not to say that Before I Say Good-Bye doesn't have a bit of all the ingredients of the Clark genre: a little mystery, a likable heroine, and even a nice guy who turns up midway through the novel and promises her romance and a second chance at happiness. But while the set-up is promising and the bare essentials of a compelling read are all here, only readers who are already Higgins fans will be kept completely spellbound.

Nell MacDermott is the politically ambitious granddaughter of a canny politician in Manhattan's silk stocking district, and her grandfather wants her to run for his old congressional seat. But there are rumors that Adam Cauliff, Nell's husband, has been involved in a real estate and construction scam, and until Nell gets to the bottom of this her political future will be clouded. When Adam and his assistant are killed in an explosion aboard his boat, Nell is determined to clear his name. Nudged into action by her nascent psychic powers and a medium who may be her only link to Adam, Nell learns more about her husband's mysterious past than she bargained for and--naturally--stumbles onto a conspiracy that puts her own life in danger. The narrative seems more like an outline for a novel than a novel itself; the characters are sketched rather than fully explored--particularly Nell, whose back story doesn't provide enough information to make her actions understandable. But the pacing is expert, and Clark's dedicated fans will doubtless forgive her for not making this her strongest outing. --Jane Adams --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Romantic suspense has no more reliable champion than Clark, despite the relative weakness of her writing. For 25 years, through 22 novels (counting this one), she has delivered respectable entertainment to her legions of fans, who haven't dwindled in number. This novel, too, gives them what they want--a damsel in distress aided by a dashing knight; and Clark adds a little zest to the formula by weaving psychic phenomena, including messages from the dead, throughout. The damsel is columnist Nell McDermot, granddaughter of legendary Manhattan congressman Cornelius McDermott and about to run for office herself. Nell's plans are put on hold when the ship on which her husband, Adam, an architect, is attending a business meeting is blown to pieces. Evidence surfaces that Adam may have been involved in shady deals; meanwhile, the cops investigate the explosion, with suspicion falling on a petty hood looking for vengeance for one of those deals; a new man--stalwart physician Dan Minor--enters Nell's life, as does a psychic who claims to be channeling Nell's dead husband; and a predatory real-estate developer circles Nell and property she's inherited from Adam. For much of the novel, the danger is more implied than actual, like dark clouds amassing in the sky, and often manifests itself psychically as Nell sees black auras envelop people or feels terribly afraid. The novel's finale, however, which unmasks some unexpected villains, pulls out the stops in melodramatic fashion. Clark's characters aren't deep--after donating old clothes to charity, two of them, "feeling virtuous for having done a good deed had lunch at a new Thai restaurant on Second and Eighty-first"--but they're breezy fun, and so is this confection of a book. 1.1 million first printing; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club Main Selection; simultaneous S&S Audio; 7-city author tour. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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NELL SET OFF at a brisk pace on her familiar walk from her apartment on Park Avenue and Seventy-third Street to her grandfather's office on Seventy-second and York. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another great story Sept. 23 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
mary does it again,..she writes another great story,..but i dont want to spoil it for you,..you must buy,..you'll see why
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5.0 out of 5 stars Before I Say Good-Bye July 13 2006
Format:School & Library Binding
Nell MacDermott, the attractive and orphaned granddaughter of popular, legendary Manhattan Congressman Cornelius MacDermott, is suddenly struck with a terrible and life-changing tragedy that involves her husband, Adam Cauliff, an aspiring young architect. Nell and Adam, who have been having some silent marriage difficulties lately, have an awful quarrel---which was all over Nell's desire to follow in her grandfather's footsteps and be a congresswoman, a career Adam has always denied Nell---one morning, a quarrel which ends in Nell telling Adam that he might as well not come home tonight. Later that day, Nell is informed that Adam's boat, the Cornelia II---which Adam was using for an architects' conference that day---has exploded, killing Adam, his assistant Winifred Johnson, a real estate agent named Sam Krause, and a young employee, Jimmy Ryan. Peter Lang, who should also have been on the Cornelia II, was saved by a twist of fate because of a minor road accident he was in, deterring him from the boat conference.

Nell is stunned and deeply saddened by Adam's death, regretful that their last time together had ended in such bitterness on her part. Nell's grandfather, whom everyone calls Mac, attempts to console his beloved granddaughter---who has been in Mac's guardianship since her parents' death, when she was a small girl---though it is awkward, for Mac has always disliked Adam because of Adam's refusal to allow Nell to pursue a career in being a congresswoman. Mac has constantly held secret suspicions about Adam, though he has never openly voiced them to Nell; but Mac now has a gut-feeling that these suspicions of his shall soon turn out to be really true.

Jimmy Ryan's widow Lisa is even more wracked with grief about her kind, sweet, and amiable husband Jimmy's horrible death.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Gets tedious July 17 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It is SO LONG. Really thick. There's nothing in these characters that makes you care about them. Nell is a rich snob with an annoying grandfather. Her "dead" husband Adam is just a boring snob. Nothing in between suggests Clark's penchant for creating riveting tales of horror. Ultimately a letdown. Check out A Cry in the Night or The Cradle Will Fall instead.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can't believe my ears April 8 2004
By Nikkita
Format:Audio Cassette
I have been reading all sorts of reviews about mary higgins clarks books and I can't believe my ears. I have loved absolutely everyone of her books and for people to say that it was a good plot but a horrible story is absurd! I would definitly have to recommend a head examine for all of those who think so. For the newest mary fans I would really like to say I hope you enjoy them as much as i do and that i have a couple of book of hers that I would highly like to recommend... While my Pretty One Sleeps, Silent Night, Moonlight Becomes You and Pretend you don't see her!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A story of trust and love mis-placed March 15 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was a great read. I enjoyed it throughly. Ms. Clark developes wonderful characters, and she uses them to masterfully keep you guessing to the end. Like most of Ms. Clark's novels this story has a surprise ending that won't dissapoint.
After reading this book I felt as is I was looking for something more in the end, and it would be easy enough to spin a sequel from the open ending. That just isn't Ms. Clark's style however. Even with an ending that I felt left too many loose ends, I didn't come away from this read with any true dissapointment. I would definitely recommend this novel to any reader looking for suspense.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Okay. 3.5 April 14 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
On the morning of Friday June 9th, Nell McDermott and her architect husband Adam Cauliff part on bad terms after an argument about her burgeoning political career. However, soon Nell will come to regret the tone of this parting, as later that day Adam's boat will explode, with he and three others on board. Soon, it will emerge that the explosion was caused by a bomb, and Nell, over the coming days, will find herself in the thick of a construction scandal threatening to blow sky-high. But who wanted who dead? Was Adam the target, or one o the others? And why? And did all the others really die, or did one manage to escape in time?
Wracked with guilt, Nell attempts to unravel the threads of Adam's life and quickly discovers a great deal about him that she never knew, and wishes she never discovered. She becomes even more disturbed when, after encouragement form her aunt, she goes to visit a medium in an attempt to gain some closure, and the medium seems shockingly insightful...
Mary Higgins Clark is okay. And that's really the extent of my opinion on the subject. This book, like the others of hers that I have read (all two of 'em) is a decent enough read to take you away or a day or so. Her plotting is good (if sometimes pushing against the boundaries of reason) and her pacing is excellent. The books move quickly, with short chapters, form scene to telling scene in a way that is well structured and thought out. There are twists throughout, and a nice level of suspense right up to the tense climax. The writing style is also good, with well-written, easy to digest prose, but it never reaches very deeply, remaining mostly floating on the surface of the plot. The same is true o her character development.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Before I Say Good-Bye
Although this is not MHC's best work, this book is worth the read. Nell MacDermott is toying with the idea of running for office. Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2003 by "papilionidae"
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Suspenseful
When Nell MacDermont loses her parents and grandma at a young age, all hope seems to be gone. Raised by her politician grandfather, Mac, she learns the ins and outs of all the... Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2003 by Laura
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read but not a listen
This isn't Mary Higgins Clark's best, but it's still an entertaining story. Unfortunately, I got the audio version in which the narrator's interpretation of men's voices consists... Read more
Published on July 15 2002 by Diane Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars The Suspense Was Great-And Kept Me Guessing!
I enjoy Mary-Higgins Clark a great deal, and found I enjoyed this book pretty well. It took a bit of getting into at first, but after the first couple chapters, it had my attention... Read more
Published on July 11 2002 by J. Kirkman
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so much about the book, as about the READER!
I am frankly disgusted with Jan Maxwell's reading of this novel. Her reading is at best whiny and annoying rather than representing the strength of character that the various... Read more
Published on May 21 2002 by Katie F.
4.0 out of 5 stars Out of the Ordinary
Nell follows in her grandfather's footsteps in running for his congressional seat. But many unknown facts in Nell's husband's past may end up setting her up for a great pulicity... Read more
Published on April 1 2002 by LaTasha Booth
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Story, but lacks alot of Suspense... 4 1/2 stars!
I truly enjoyed this story, but the normally large amount of suspense Ms. Clark usually throws into her novels is missing here. Read more
Published on Dec 4 2001 by Tracy Talley
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting plot and No smutt!
This is a novel that you can not put down until it is finished! You can share this with your teenagers, too. Read more
Published on Sept. 26 2001 by John L Davis
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