Book review: All Dressed in White by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

Barry Forshaw 30 November -0001

The latest book in the bestselling Under Suspicion series is a contemporary thriller with an edge. 

The veteran American writer Mary Higgins Clark has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the most accomplished and reliable of storytellers. Her impeccable plotting has gained her a faithful legion of admirers.

Her younger colleague Alafair Burke (daughter of one the great American crime masters, James Lee Burke) is a very different kind of writer. She is overcoming a heavy burden of expectation by strongly registering her own writing identity. It’s quirky, personal and quite unlike her heavyweight father.

The two women are not (one might have thought) natural collaborators, but against all expectations they make a splendid team. All Dressed in White is a real winner.

“One thing that All Dressed in White does triumphantly is to come up with some fresh ideas for the over-taxed crime genre”

Five years before our novel begins, Amanda Pierce was excitedly anticipating her marriage to her college sweetheart, Geoffrey. The young woman was also about to inheriting her father’s profitable garment company when she suddenly disappeared.

In present-day New York, Laurie Moran is searching for cases for her television series Under Suspicion. She is well aware that a missing bride case will make for good viewing figures.

Moran decides to recreate the circumstances of the night of Amanda's disappearance, and suddenly the secrets of the past become very pressing—and very dangerous.

One thing that All Dressed in White does triumphantly is to come up with some fresh ideas for the over-taxed crime genre, and given that every theme has been explored so thoroughly over the years, that is no mean achievement.

Both women’s strong personalities are stamped on the narrative here, which delivers on many levels and will leave readers with the hope that the duo will continue their collaboration. The same team’s The Cinderella Murder, featuring the same characters, is equally impressive.


All Dressed in White is published Simon & Schuster, RRP £20. Buy it for £15.99 in our online bookshop

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