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The Christmas Thief: A Novel [Mass Market Paperback]

Mary Higgins Clark , Carol Higgins Clark

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Book Description

Oct. 26 2010
Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner turned amateur sleuth, joins forces once again with private detective Regan Reilly to solve a Christmas mystery. This time they must track down the beautiful ninety-foot tree that is hijacked on its way to Rockefeller Center for the Christmas season. What they do not know is that a hole in the trunk of the tree contains the fortune in priceless gems that Packey Noonan, a scam artist just released from prison, had hidden there twelve years ago. What they do know is that this particular tree is irreplaceable. It has been chosen because it was in the forest near the Vermont home of Maria von Trapp, and the Christmas festival in Rockefeller Center is geared to the fortieth anniversary of the film The Sound of Music. The rumor is that Maria von Trapp loved to sing songs from the film under that tree.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket (Oct. 26 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451609361
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451609363
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 10.6 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 45 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #373,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Mother and daughter Clark, each a bestseller in her own right, have produced a singularly slight and unmemorable tale with their third holiday suspense novel (after 2001's He Sees You When You're Sleeping). This time the villainy centers on an 80-foot Vermont spruce earmarked for the traditional Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. Unbeknownst to the tree's owners, its branches contain millions of dollars' worth of diamonds, secreted there more than a decade earlier by con man Packy Noonan to conceal the proceeds of an investment scam. One of the scam's victims happens to be vacationing near the site of the planned tree-cutting, along with Alvirah and Willy Meehan, who successfully resolved a kidnapping in their previous caper. When Packy is finally paroled, he heads straight for the treasure, enmeshing him, his confederates, the Meehans and a bevy of other characters in vandalism, abduction and other crimes. Unfortunately, there's no mystery concerning who's doing what or why and little sense of menace or suspense. Classic mystery fans may be amused by the contemporary take on Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Six Napoleons," but many readers, including those devoted to the Clarks' solo efforts, will be disappointed.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Mary Higgins Clark's books are world-wide bestsellers. In the U.S. alone, her books have sold over one hundred million copies.

She is the author of twenty-nine previous suspense novels. Her first book, a biographical novel about George Washington, was re-issued with the title, Mount Vernon Love Story, in June 2002. Her memoir, Kitchen Privileges, was published by Simon & Schuster in November 2002. Her first children's book, Ghost Ship, illustrated by Wendell Minor, was published in April 2007 as a Paula Wiseman Book/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

She is co-author, with her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, of five holiday suspense novels Deck the Halls (2000), He Sees You When You're Sleeping (2001), The Christmas Thief (2004), Santa Cruise (2006), and Dashing through the Snow (2008).

Mary Higgins Clark was chosen by Mystery Writers of America as Grand Master of the 2000 Edgar Awards. An annual Mary Higgins Clark Award sponsored by Simon & Schuster, to be given to authors of suspense fiction writing in the Mary Higgins Clark tradition, was launched by Mystery Writers of America during Edgars week in April 2001. She was the 1987 president of Mystery Writers of America and, for many years, served on their Board of Directors. In May 1988, she was Chairman of the International Crime Congress.

Carol Higgins Clark is the author of fourteen previous bestselling Regan Reilly mysteries. She is coauthor, along with her mother, Mary Higgins Clark, of a bestselling holiday mystery series. Also an actress, Carol Higgins Clark studied at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and has recorded several of her mother's works as well as her own novels. She received AudioFile's Earphones Award of Excellence for her reading of Jinxed. She lives in New York City.

Her website is

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.4 out of 5 stars  59 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Up To The Clarks' Usual Standards Nov. 18 2004
By D. Bell - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Christmas Thief, Mary & Carol Higgins Clark's annual Christmas fluff, is, as usual, as fast and easy read. It is, however, quite forgettable once you've done reading. Alvirah Meehan, the former cleaning lady whose life was changed when she won the lottery, and her husband Willy are heading to Stowe, Vermont, for a long weekend with their friends Nora Reagan Reilly, the detective novelist, her funeral director husband, their detective daughter Reagan Reilly, and her fiancee Jack (no relation) Reilly. Alvirah invites her friend Opal, a lottery winner who gave her money to a con man and lost it all. Besides skiing, they are looking forward to watching the cutting down of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Packy, the con man who has been in jail for the last twelve years, and his two henchmen Benny and JoJo are also heading there to retrieve a flask of diamonds, his ill-gotten gains from his scam, from the giant blue spruce where he hid it before he was apprehended and sent to prison. Naturally their paths cross and, of course, Alvirah, Reagan, and their families save the day.

This is a short book, which isn't bad for an evening if there are no good programs on television or a brief car trip. I was not happy that we didn't see much of the Meehans or the Reillys.

Opal is a sympathetic character, as is Milo, the "poet" who helped Packy and his gang but didn't know he was doing anything illegal. Packy is rather nasty, so it's good to see him get his comeuppance. And the tree's owners are too obsessive about the tree and its fate. That just doesn't ring true.

I'm not sorry I bought the book, and the Amazon price was right, but it's nothing that will stick with me over the long run.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Framework needs a little more meat on it Nov. 19 2004
By Virginia Allain - Published on
Both writers are ones I enjoy, but their effort to turn out a light holiday mystery is indeed rather lite. Maybe they feel the sinister villains of MHC's very popular and very suspenseful novels are too heavy for the holidays. This has the feel of the cozy mystery, but not enough character development.
I must admit I've always been a bit disappointed when Mary Higgins Clark's latest book is just short stories or is an Alvirah and Willy story. I'm always hoping for a new heavy duty full-length suspense novel that will worry me and keep me awake until I finish it.
Much as I wish I could give these very competent authors five stars, the story just isn't meaty enough for that. Go ahead and give it a read, but don't get your expectations up. Turn on the Christmas tree lights, get a cup of cocoa and zip through its 204 pages.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Christmas Thief was a fast read.. Jan. 29 2005
By Carly Rae - Published on
This was my first Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark book. I was pretty happy with it but I did think it could have been better. The plot was centered around the Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center involving the Meehans, the Reillys, and some ex-convicts. Some parts were utterly unbeleivable. It was a different storyline that seemed pretty orginal but as I read below it's not their best work.

I am looking forward to reading their other books, seperately and jointly. It was a fast, fun read and hey, it occupied my time during Jury Duty!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing Nov. 17 2006
By Catherine M. Horiuchi - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was very disappointed with this book. I was hoping for a good Christmas mystery, and it was far from it. I love Mary Higgins Clark's books, but this was poorly written and very boring. I wouldn't even borrow this one from the library.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Should be listed under Young Adult Fiction Nov. 28 2004
By EdHopper - Published on
I'm glad that I only checked this out from the library. Her stories have really seemed to lack substance recently and this is no exception. No suspense in this one. From reading the book jacket, most of her fans could have wrote this for her. These recent books are so watered down recently, they don't qualify to even be in the adult section of the store. Boring!

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