Cover image for Daddy's little girl
Title:
Daddy's little girl
Author:
Clark, Mary Higgins.
Personal Author:
Edition:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
viii, 336 pages (large print) ; 25 cm
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.0 13.0 63674.
ISBN:
9780743228770
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

From Mary Higgins Clark, America's bestselling "Queen of Suspense," comes a dark and chilling story of murder, and its effects years later on the man convicted of the crime and the woman who helped convict him. Ellie Cavanaugh was only seven years old when her fifteen-year-old sister, Andrea, was murdered near their home in Oldham-on-the-Hudson, a rural village in New York's Westchester County. There were three suspects: Rob Westerfield, nineteen-year-old scion of a wealthy, prominent family, whom Andrea had been secretly dating; Paul Stroebel, a sixteen-year-old schoolmate, who had a crush on Andrea; and Will Nebels, a local handyman in his forties. It was Ellie who had led her parents to a hideout in which Andrea's body was found -- a secret hideaway in which she met her friends. And it was Ellie who was blamed by her parents for her sister's death for not telling them about this place the night Andrea was missing. It was also Ellie's testimony that led to the conviction of the man she was firmly convinced was the killer. Steadfastly denying his guilt, he spent the next twenty-two years in prison. When he comes up for parole, Ellie, now an investigative reporter for an Atlanta newspaper, protests his release. Nonetheless, the convicted killer is set free and returns to Oldham. Determined to thwart his attempts to whitewash his reputation, Ellie also returns to Oldham, intent on proving his guilt. As she delves deeper into her research, however, she uncovers horrifying facts that shed new light on her sister's murder. With each discovery, she comes closer to a confrontation with a desperate killer. Gripping and relentlessly compelling, Daddy's Little Girl, a portrayal of a family shattered by crime, reflects Mary Higgins Clark's uncanny insight into the twisted mind of a killer and is further evidence of why she is America's favorite author of suspense.


Author Notes

Mary Higgins Clark was born in the Bronx, New York on December 24, 1927. After graduating from high school and before she got married, she worked as a secretary, a copy editor, and an airline stewardess. She supplemented the family's income by writing short stories. After her husband died in 1964, leaving her with five children, she worked for many years writing four-minute radio scripts before turning to novels. Her debut novel, Aspire to the Heavens, which is a fictionalized account of the life of George Washington, did not sell well. She decided to focus on writing mystery/suspense novels and in 1975 Where Are the Children? was published. She received a B.A. in philosophy from Fordham University in 1979.

Her other works include While My Pretty One Sleeps, Let Me Call You Sweetheart, Moonlight Becomes You, Pretend You Don't See Her, No Place Like Home, The Lost Years, The Melody Lingers On, and As Time Goes By. She is also the co-author, with her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, of several holiday crossover books including Deck the Halls, He Sees You When You're Sleeping, Santa Cruise, and The Christmas Thief. She writes the Under Suspicion series with Alafair Burke. She received numerous honors including the Grand Prix de Literature of France in 1980), the Horatio Alger Award in 1997, the Gold Medal of Honor from the American-Irish Historical Society, the Spirit of Achievement Award from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University the first Reader's Digest Author of the Year Award 2002 and the Christopher Life Achievement Award in 2003. Many of her titles have made the best sellers list. In 2017 her title, All By Myself, Alone made the New York Times Best Seller List

(Bowker Author Biography) Mary Higgins Clark has written nineteen novels & three short story collections since 1975. She has served as president of the Mystery Writers of America & lives in Saddle River, New Jersey.

(Publisher Provided)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Clark's latest thriller deviates from her usual, by-the-book whodunit by revealing the villain early on. Rob Westerfield, a rich, sociopath, beat Andrea Cavanaugh to death when he was only 19. Andrea's family is torn apart--her parents divorce, and her younger sister, Ellie, becomes obsessed with the murder and Westerfield's guilt. When, 23 years after the murder, Westerfield is up for parole, Ellie, now an investigative reporter, vehemently opposes it. Rob has never admitted his guilt, and now his family has found a witness who says someone else committed the murder. Will Nebels, a local handyman, points the finger at Paulie Stroebel, a sweet but slow man who had a crush on Andrea. Ellie is incensed; she is totally convinced of Westerfield's guilt and knows that this new witness is merely a ploy to prevent Rob's grandmother from disinheriting him. Ellie begins an investigation to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Westerfield is guilty. Though many people are afraid to talk to her because of the Westerfields' clout, Ellie does manage to find a few people who will tell her about Rob's cruel behavior prior to Andrea's murder. She is also shocked to uncover what may be another murder. But as Ellie probes more deeply into Rob's past, enemies dog her, burning the apartment she's staying in and even threatening her life. A solid if unremarkable page-turner. Kristine Huntley.


Publisher's Weekly Review

Writing in the first person a rarity for this veteran author has inspired and energized Clark. Her 21st novel of intrigue is her best in years, a tightly woven, emotionally potent tale of suspense and revenge. Clark's new heroine is Atlanta investigative journalist Ellie Cavanaugh, who was seven when her sister, Andrea, 15, was beaten to death by 20-year-old Rob Westerfield, scion of the wealthiest family in a small Westchester town. Now Westerfield is up for parole, so Ellie, now 30, returns home to speak out against him. When Westerfield is released, Ellie begins to write a book aimed at re-proving his guilt. Digging for evidence, she uncovers clues that Westerfield may have committed another murder as a youth, but that digging also enrages the Westerfields and other town members who think the man was railroaded. Before long, Ellie's life is in danger, as someone breaks into the house she's staying in, then later sets fire to it, nearly killing her, and as Westerfield himself begins to shadow her moves. What makes this novel work isn't only the considerable tension Clark teases from Ellie's precarious position, but the thoughtful backgrounding to the action. Ellie is cast as a lonely woman, without a lover and estranged from her father and half-brother: will she accept one or the other into her guarded life?; and she carries a heavy load of guilt for her sister's death, wondering at times if she is blinded by her thirst for vengeance. With its textured plot, well-sketched secondary characters, strong pacing and appealing heroine, this is Clark at her most winning. (On sale, Apr. 16) Forecast: One million first printing; main selection of the Literary Guild and BOMC, the Doubleday Book Club and Doubleday Large Print, and the Mystery Guild; all that, plus a fabulous green-toned jacket featuring a blood-stained locket on the front and a terrific photo of Clark on the back, add up to #1 with a bullet. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

At the parole hearing for Donald Waring, Trish Duncan begins to wonder whether he was wrongly convicted of killing her sister 20 years ago. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter 1 When Ellie awoke that morning, it was with the sense that something terrible had happened. Instinctively she reached for Bones, the soft and cuddly stuffed dog who had shared her pillow ever since she could remember. When she'd had her seventh birthday last month, Andrea, her fifteen-year-old sister, had teased her that it was time to toss Bones in the attic. Then Ellie remembered what was wrong: Andrea hadn't come home last night. After dinner, she had gone to her best friend Joan's house to study for a math test. She had promised to be home by nine o'clock. At quarter of nine, Mommy went to Joan's house to walk Andrea home, but they said Andrea had left at eight o'clock. Mommy had come back home worried and almost crying, just as Daddy got in from work. Daddy was a lieutenant in the New York State Police. Right away he and Mommy had started calling all of Andrea's friends, but no one had seen her. Then Daddy said he was going to drive around to the bowling alley and to the ice cream parlor, just in case Andrea had gone there. "If she lied about doing homework until nine o'clock, she won't set foot out of this house for six months," he'd said angrily, and then he'd turned to Mommy: "If I said it once, I've said it a thousand times -- I don't want her to go out after dark alone." Despite his raised voice, Ellie could tell that Daddy was more worried than angry. "For heaven's sake, Ted, she went out at seven o'clock. She got to Joan's. She was planning to be home by nine, and I even walked over there to meet her." "Then where is she?" They made Ellie go to bed, and, eventually, she fell asleep waking only now. Maybe Andrea was home by now, she thought hopefully. She slipped out of bed, rushed across the room, and darted down the hall to Andrea's room. Be there, she begged. Please be there. She opened the door. Andrea's bed had not been slept in. Her bare feet silent on the steps, Ellie hurried downstairs. Their neighbor, Mrs. Hilmer, was sitting with Mommy in the kitchen. Mommy was wearing the same clothes she had on last night, and she looked as if she'd been crying for a long time. Ellie ran to her. "Mommy." Mommy hugged her and began to sob. Ellie felt Mommy's hand clutching her shoulder, so hard that she was almost hurting her. "Mommy, where's Andrea?" "We...don't...know. Daddy and the police are looking for her." "Ellie, why don't you get dressed, and I'll fix you some breakfast?" Mrs. Hilmer asked. No one was saying that she should hurry up because the school bus would be coming pretty soon. Without asking, Ellie knew she wouldn't be going to school today. She dutifully washed her face and hands and brushed her teeth and hair, and then put on play clothes -- a turtleneck shirt and her favorite blue slacks -- and went downstairs again. Just as she sat at the table where Mrs. Hilmer had put out juice and cornflakes, Daddy came through the kitchen door. "No sign of her," he said. "We've looked everywhere. There was a guy collecting for some phony charity ringing doorbells in town yesterday. He was in the diner last night and left around eight o'clock. He would have passed Joan's house on the way to the highway around the time Andrea left. They're looking for him." Ellie could tell that Daddy was almost crying. He also hadn't seemed to notice her, but she didn't mind. Sometimes when Daddy came home he was upset because something sad had happened while he was at work, and for a while he'd be very quiet. He had that same look on his face now. Andrea was hiding -- Ellie was sure of it. She had probably left Joan's house early on purpose because she was meeting Rob Westerfield in the hideout, then maybe it got late and she was afraid to come home. Daddy had said that if she ever lied again about where she'd been, he'd make her quit the school band. He'd said that when he found out she had gone for a ride with Rob Westerfield in his car when she was supposed to be at the library. Andrea loved being in the band; last year she'd been the only freshman chosen for the flute section. But if she'd left Joan's house early and gone to the hideout to meet Rob, and Daddy found out, that would mean she'd have to give it up. Mommy always said that Andrea could twist Daddy around her little finger, but she didn't say that last month when one of the state troopers told Daddy he'd stopped Rob Westerfield to give him a ticket for speeding and that Andrea was with him at the time. Daddy hadn't said anything about it until after dinner. Then he asked Andrea how long she'd been at the library. She didn't answer him. Then he said, "I see you're smart enough to realize that the trooper who gave Westerfield the ticket would tell me you were with him. Andrea, that guy is not only rich and spoiled, he's a bad apple through and through. When he kills himself speeding, you're not going to be in the car. You are absolutely forbidden to have anything to do with him." The hideout was in the garage behind the great big house that old Mrs. Westerfield, Rob's grandmother, lived in all summer. It was always unlocked, and sometimes Andrea and her friends sneaked in there and smoked cigarettes. Andrea had taken Ellie there a couple of times when she was babysitting her. Her friends had been really mad at Andrea for bringing her along, but she had said, "Ellie is a good kid. She's not a snitch." Hearing that had made Ellie feel great, but Andrea hadn't let Ellie have even one puff of the cigarette. Ellie was sure that last night Andrea had left Joan's house early because she was planning to meet Rob Westerfield. Ellie had heard her when she talked to him on the phone yesterday, and when she was finished, she was practically crying. "I told Rob I was going to the mixer with Paulie," she said, "and now he's really mad at me." Ellie thought about the conversation as she finished the cornflakes and juice. Daddy was standing at the stove. He was holding a cup of coffee. Mommy was crying again but making almost no sound. Then, for the first time, Daddy seemed to notice her: "Ellie, I think you'd be better off in school. At lunchtime I'll take you over." "Is it all right if I go outside now?" "Yes. But stay around the house." Ellie ran for her jacket and was quickly out the door. It was the fifteenth of November, and the leaves were damp and felt sloshy underfoot. The sky was heavy with clouds, and she could tell it was going to rain again. Ellie wished they were back in Irvington where they used to live. It was lonesome here. Mrs. Hilmer's house was the only other one on this road. Daddy had liked living in Irvington, but they'd moved here, five towns away, because Mommy wanted a bigger house and more property. They found they could afford that if they moved farther up in Westchester, to a town that hadn't yet become a suburb of New York City. When Daddy said he missed Irvington, where he'd grown up and where they'd lived until two years ago, Mommy would tell him how great the new house was. Then he'd say that in Irvington we had a million-dollar view of the Hudson River and the Tappan Zee Bridge, and he didn't have to drive five miles for a newspaper or a loaf of bread. There were woods all around their property. The big Westerfield house was directly behind theirs, but on the other side of the woods. Glancing back at the kitchen window to make sure no one had seen her, Ellie began to dart through the trees. Five minutes later she reached the clearing and ran across the field to where the Westerfield property began. Feeling more and more alone, she raced up the long driveway and darted around the mansion, a small figure lost in the lengthening shadows of the approaching storm. There was a side door to the garage, and that was the one that was unlocked. Even so, it was hard for Ellie to turn the handle. Finally she succeeded and stepped into the gloom of the interior. The garage was big enough to hold four cars, but the only one Mrs. Westerfield left after the summer was the van. Andrea and her friends had brought some old blankets to sit on when they went there. They always sat in the same spot, at the back of the garage behind the van, so that if anyone happened to look in the window, they wouldn't be able to see them. Ellie knew that was where Andrea would be hiding if she was here. She didn't know why she felt suddenly afraid, but she did. Now, instead of running, she had to practically drag her feet to make them move toward the back of the garage. But then she saw it -- the edge of the blanket peeking out from behind the van. Andrea was here! She and her friends would never have left the blankets out; when they left, they always folded them and hid them in the cabinet with the cleaning supplies. "Andrea..." Now she ran, calling softly so that Andrea wouldn't be scared. She was probably asleep, Ellie decided. Yes, she was. Even though the garage was filled with shadows, Ellie could see Andrea's long hair trailing out from under the blankets. "Andrea, it's me." Ellie sank to her knees beside Andrea and pulled back the blanket covering her face. Andrea had a mask on, a terrible monster mask that looked all sticky and gummy. Ellie reached down to pull it off, and her fingers went into a broken space in Andrea's forehead. As she jerked back, she became aware of the pool of Andrea's blood, soaking through her slacks. Then, from somewhere in the big room, she was sure she heard someone breathing -- harsh, heavy, sucking-in breaths that broke off in a kind of giggle. Terrified, she tried to get up, but her knees slid in the blood and she fell forward across Andrea's chest. Her lips grazed something smooth and cold -- Andrea's gold locket. Then she managed to scramble to her feet, and she turned and began to run. She did not know she was shrieking until she was almost home, and Ted and Genine Cavanaugh ran into the backyard to see their younger daughter burst out of the woods, her arms outstretched, her little form covered in her sister's blood. Copyright © 2002 by Mary Higgins Clark Excerpted from Daddy's Little Girl by Mary Higgins Clark All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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