I Heard That Song Before
By Mary Higgins Clark
When she is six years old, Kay Lansing overhears an argument and a man whistling a song. The story is about what happens twenty years later!
Kay’s mother died when she was very young and her alcoholic father (a landscaper) is presumed to have committed suicide. Kay is brought up by her grandmother in New Jersey. She grows up to become a librarian. She goes to Peter Carrington’s mansion to request him to host a charity fundraiser. The Carrington Family is one of the richest families of US. Peter agrees. But soon they (Kay and Peter) fall in love and marry.
But certain mysteries of the past surface and it shows Peter as a “person of interest” in two murders – one of his fiancée who died after a party and his first wife who drowned to death, and he is also linked with the disappearance of their neighbor Susan Althorp.
To make matters worse, a young girl’s body is found buried on the Carrington estate is unearthed years later and Peter is indicted for murder–days after he returns from his honeymoon with Kay.
Kay stands by her husband even when her grandmother hold Peter responsible for all the tragedies.
The author drops hints letting you sift through the suspects, including Peter, to decide who the murderer is; his dead wife’s mother who still lives on the estate; her son (now a Manhattan gallery-owner with a gambling addiction); a trio of domestic servants; Peter’s chief aide; and assorted parents, friends and relations of the two dead women, the likely identity of the villain shifts from character to character, until aided by a police investigation and the perspective of a private eye hired by the ailing mother of the dead fiancée, everything cleverly falls into place.
As “facts” pile up pointing to his guilt, Peter defends his actions basing them on a serious problem with sleepwalking, a form of automatism.
The court case against Peter is rather compelling and fascinating, as put up by Nicholas Greco, the PI hired by Peter’s first wife’s mother. Greco uncovers information that raises all fingers to Peter’s guilt but certain bits of information soon turn the case in a different direction altogether.
This psychological thriller seems a bit predictable in certain sections but overall it is a very enjoyable, cleverly written, compelling read.
MHC’s trademark of short chapters, cliff-hanger endings, well defined characters and gripping plot deliver yet another interesting read.