Mary Higgins Clark continues her masterful works of murderous suspense in You Belong to Me, published by Simon & Schuster, copyright 1998.
It is a regularly used inscription on the inside of many rings that are given to girlfriends, lovers, wives, and mistresses to show the dedication that we have to one another. In this novel of mystery and murder, Mary Higgins Clark takes that slogan that applies to many romantic situations and presents a person who is obsessed with its literal meaning. He is a regular passenger on cruise ships and often seeks out lonely women who are just divorced or whose husband has died and suddenly find themselves with nobody to talk to. This person finds them, gives them one last fulfilling time of their lives, and for some psychological reason that only he would know, murders them in some terrifying manner. The cruise ship Gabrielle was perfect for his desires and lonely women were in abundance on this particular journey.
This is a very favorable journey for him because he finds not only one, but several women that serve his intentions and he swears to himself that this will be the last. While stalking his latest target he overhears from one of the waiters attending to the woman that her name is Regina Clausen and she is recently divorced. He could tell by her laughter at the waiter’s compliments that she would be an easy conquest for his intentions which were certainly not honorable. He thinks that he will end her loneliness and give the gift that she has truly been seeking since she has been alone.
Dr. Susan Chandler has been hosting her daily talk show for many years and decides to address the issue of women that have disappeared and are eventually found to have been killed. She is highly qualified as a psychologist and psychoanalyst and regularly gets a few very bizarre questions, but that’s what makes her radio show so interesting. On a clear evening she receives a call from a woman named Carolyn Wells who claims to have seen Regina Clausen pushed off the curb in front of the truck that ran over her and that she now lays in a comatose state at Lenox Hill Hospital. Dr. Susan calls her friend at police headquarters, Chief Inspector Oliver Shea, who checks into the matter and finds out that Regina had a very jealous husband and that he may have pushed her. Yet Shea discovers that Mr. Clausen has an airtight alibi and many friends that will swear that he was playing poker with them at the time of the accident.
There were many people at the scene who claim they saw her trip, that she was not pushed, and that she fell because of an uneven crack in the sidewalk that others had tripped on before. This seems to be a reasonable explanation to Dr. Susan and Chief Shea until Carolyn Wells is stabbed to death in her home. Too many coincidences are connected to these incidents and they suspect that maybe someone is a killer who is trying to cover his tracks.
As the investigation intensifies, Susan comes to the realization that she is also a target of this murderous person. Together with the chief inspector, Susan tracks down the jewelry store where the rings with the inscription, “you belong to me,” are being sold. They stumble upon searching through many sales receipts and to her surprise and horror find that several have been purchased by the investment broker Alex Wright, whom she has been dating. He has been acclaimed to be very rich and a chauffeur has been delivering flowers to Susan’s door on a daily basis. The woman has been murdered but she had left a sketch of the face of Regina’s alleged attacker that looks surprisingly like Alex Wright.
Once again Mary Higgins Clark has given us an intricate work of murder mystery that is not easy to put down.
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