Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Review of "The Cinderella Murder" by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke

New York based Laurie Moran produces a television show called 'Under Suspicion', a reality show that highlights cold cases. The program brings together people who were involved with the victim, questions them, and perhaps sheds new light on (or even solves) the case. Laurie's new project involves the murder of Susan Dempsey, a beautiful young coed/aspiring actress whose body was found in Los Angeles twenty years ago - a crime dubbed 'The Cinderella Murder'. Laurie has great empathy for crime victims and their families because her own husband was murdered a few years previously.

With the encouragement of Susan's mother, Rosemary, Laurie makes her way to L.A. with her production team, her young son Timmy, her ex-cop father (Timmy's babysitter), and attorney Alex Buckley - who's excellent at questioning the would-be suspects. At the time of the crime the police questioned Susan's boyfriend, a movie director, a couple of roommates, a lab partner, and so on. Laurie lines up these people to be on the show.

It seems that almost everyone who was in Susan's orbit has something to hide, however, and the shenanigans of some of these people lead to further murders and assaults. Thus, it seems like everyone who knew Susan or is involved with making the TV program is in danger. All this leads to a not-quite-satisfying but rather dramatic climax.

For me a big problem with the book involves the behavior of some characters. One character hides a secret for twenty years that most people would reveal in twenty seconds, another uses a super-elaborate surveillance system when just participating in the TV show would be much easier. This kind of thing makes the plot feel manipulative and unrealistic. That said, the book contains a nice array of interesting characters, has a tiny drop of romance (for readers who like that kind of thing), and is a quick easy read.

I'd mildly recommend the book to mystery fans.

Rating: 3 stars

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