Imagine Nick and Nora Charles with a taste for politics and none for gin, and you'd be pretty close to Mary Higgins Clark's Henry Parker Britland IV and his attractive young wife, Sandra O'Brien Britland, known as Sunday. Henry, possessor of an enormous inherited fortune and known as one of America's sexiest men, has just finished his second term as president of the United States and is happily retired at 44, puttering around his New Jersey country estate. Sunday, who bootstrapped her way up from a modest working-class background, is a junior congresswoman with a reputation for smarts. The two met, romantically enough, on the eve of Henry's leaving office, fell madly in love, and were married six weeks later. In this collection of four pleasantly readable stories, the sleuthing duo catch the murderer of a statesman's flashy amour, endure Sunday's kidnapping and mastermind her rescue, solve the 34-year-old mystery of the disappearance of a foreign prime minister from the Britland family yacht, and reunite a ransomed boy with his parents at Christmas. Of the four, "They All Ran After the President's Wife" may be the best plotted, and has a particularly amusing McGuffin in the character of a caviar-loving terrorist. While the suspense is on the mild side throughout, the romance is lighthearted but sincere, and the occasional flashes of wit are dryly appealing. It's a bonbon, to be enjoyed for its brief sweetness. --Barrie Trinkle
From Publishers Weekly
An appealing husband-and-wife sleuthing team are the stars of the four stories in Clark's new collection. Her protagonists are Henry Parker Britland IV, the 44-year-old former president of the U.S., and his recent bride, plucky congresswoman Sandra ("Sunday") O'Brien Britland. Debonair, wealthy Henry and smart-as-a-whip Sunday enjoy their estates in New Jersey, Florida, the Bahamas and Provence, and other perks of Henry's patrician background, such as a private jet and an elegant yacht. But they keep getting embroiled in dicey situations. The best entry, "They All Ran After the President's Wife," features two genuinely eccentric and creepy evildoers and a kidnapped Sunday in peril. Although nicely set up and suspenseful, it suffers from a rushed denouement. A pleasant diversion, "Hail, Columbia," takes place aboard the Britlands' yacht, from which the prime minister of Costa Barria had disappeared 32 years earlier after having given the then 12-year-old Henry an envelope, which has also vanished?until clever Sunday finds the missing link. A kidnapper from the wrong side of the tracks who improbably speaks fluent French is the drawback to credibility in "Merry Christmas/Joyeux Noel," and the lead entry, "A Crime of Passion," is a clunky no-brainer. But Clark uses every occasion to celebrate her gorgeous newlyweds' delirious happiness and misses no opportunity to cater to those readers who favor a little romance with their mild suspense. 800,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection.
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Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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