Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Book Review: The Christmas Thief by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark

Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner turned amateur sleuth, teams up with private investigator Regan Reilly to solve another Christmas mystery. In Deck the Halls, they rescued Regan's kidnapped father. This time they get in the middle of a case involving a beautiful eighty-foot blue spruce that has been chosen to spend the holidays as Rockefeller Center's famous Christmas tree. The folks who picked the tree don't have a clue that attached to one of its branches is a flask chock-full of priceless diamonds that Packy Noonan, a scam artist just released from prison, had hidden there over twelve years ago." "An excited Packy breaks his parole and heads to Stowe, Vermont, to reclaim his loot. Once there, he is horrified to discover that his special tree will be heading to New York City the next morning. With a bumbling crew consisting of Jo-Jo, Benny, and an unsuccessful poet, Milo, he knows he has to act fast." What Packy does not know is that Alvirah and Regan are on a weekend trip to stowe with Alvirah's husband, Willy; Regan's fiance, Jack; Regan's parents, Luke and Nora; and Alvirah's friend Opal, a lottery winner who lost all her winnings in Packy's scam. On Monday morning when they're supposed to head home, they learn that the tree is missing, Packy Noonan may be in the vicinity, and Opal has disappeared 

Mary Higgins Clark has long been a favorite author of mine.  Her daughter Carol Higgins Clark has been writing with her and alone for quite some time now, but I'm partial to Mary.  This book was a joint effort.  Unfortunately, I was disappointed.  

The main characters have been written about in other books, but in The Christmas Thief, they lacked substance.  The attempt to fill the reader in on them and their personalities from past stories was half-hearted at best.  The bad guys didn't come off any better, either.  I think they were supposed to be bumblers, providing comic relief, but they weren't very funny - just inept.

Worst of all, this was supposed to be a Christmas book, the main theme is about the tree which was earmarked to become the Rockefeller Center.  It didn't feel "Christmassy" at all to me.  Just because a book is set at Christmas time doesn't make it a Christmas book.  The author must add those bits of Christmas spirit in the writing, and the Higgins Clark ladies failed to do it.

I'm afraid I can't recommend this one.  It's a very quick read, so if you find it at your library and are curious, you can go that route.  Otherwise, keep looking.

I give this book 2 Christmas Penguins.

Paperback:  336 pages
Publisher:  Pocket (October 26, 2010)
ISBN-10:  1451609361
ISBN-13:  978-1451609363


  1. It's the only book I've read from Mary and Carol Higgins Clark and I loved it. I had no idea the characters were written in some other book .

  2. I knew the minute I reviewed it that someone would come along who loved it. LOL I'm really glad you did, as I said, Mary Higgins Clark is one of my all-time favorites. They are also in Dashing Through the Snow, All Through the Night, The Lottery Winner, and some others.

  3. I love the other Christmas books they have done, so I'll be curious to see what I think of this one once I get to it. Thanks for the review.

  4. I am sorry to hear that this book wasn't the best. I have read many Mary Higgins Clark books and loved them. I haven't read anything by her daughter, but I saw her give a keynote speech this year and she was very interesting. I would have thought that they would create a fascinating read together. Thanks for sharing!


  5. You might like it, Ryan. I hope you do! I'm about to start reading another of their Christmas ones, Dashing Through the Snow.

    Hi Jess, I guess I just like Mary's writing style better. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I wondered about this one. I'm usually skeptical about this type of mystery/thriller Christmas books. I think cozy mysteries are a better fit with Christmas or Anne Perry's Victorian mysteries. Will probably skip this one. thanks for the review!