Review: Before I Say Good-bye by Mary Higgins Clark

Title: Before I Say Good-bye
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Obtained: borrowed from library || image from google search
Simon & Schuster
Rating: 3.5/5
Read for: Queen of Suspense challenge

Blurb (from dust jacket)

When Adam Cauliff’s new cabin cruiser, Cornelia II, blows up in New York harbor with him and several close business associates aboard, his wife, Nell MacDermott, is not only distraught at the loss but wracked with guilt because she and Adam had just had a serious quarrel and she had told him not to come home.
The quarrel was precipitated by Nell’s decision to try to win the congressional seat long held by her grandfather Cornelius MacDermott. Orphaned at age ten, she had been raised by “Mac,” as she called him, and was always at his side on Capitol Hill. Politics was in her blood, and Adam had known her ambitions when they married. Suddenly, however, he became opposed to her plan to run for Congress.
Nell, like her great-aunt Gert, possesses psychic gifts, which her grandfather scoffingly dismisses as “flights of fantasy.” As a child she had been aware of the deaths of both her parents and grandmother at the exact moment they died. She knew because at that very moment she sensed their presence near her.
Even though Nell has the rare gift of extrasensory perception, she is much too levelheaded to accept most of the claims made by many so-called psychics and is skeptical about Aunt Gert’s fascination with mediums. After Adam’s death, however, Gert begs Nell to see a medium, Bonnie Wilson, who has contacted her, claiming she is in touch with Adam. Still regretting her last angry words to Adam, Nell agrees, hoping that she will be able to reach him through the medium and part from him in peace.
(NOTE: The dust jacket continues with the summary, which, in my opinion, contains a few spoilers, so I won’t post the rest.)

The Cover

I was unable to find a picture of the cover on the copy I borrowed from the library, so let me just say that I really loved the look of the burned-out candle. The smoke and the over-all blue tones added a nice touch.

My Thoughts

I think mystery novels just aren’t for me. Very possibly, it’s just MHC books that aren’t for me; however, I’m determined to finish this challenge, so I’ll at least continue reading through that. Maybe my opinion will change.

I really enjoy the plot of this book. Who-dun-its are always fun to read. And I really, really loved the characters. In particular Nell, the main character, but also her great-aunt Gert. I even really liked Mac, a down-to-earth man who has no time for daydreaming. Nell really loves Mac, and she also loves Gert, and at times she feels torn between them.

The only character I really didn’t understand was Adam. Obviously, we don’t see a lot of Adam, with the exception of the fight between him and Nell at the beginning of the book (arguing over her desire to run for candidacy). We do, however, see a lot of him in flashbacks, especially from Nell. Nell loved Adam; she supported him when he decided to open his own office. She gave up a spot on the Senate for him. She stayed at home, writing an article for a newspaper instead of doing what she wanted.

Despite my love of the characters, I had a hard time relating to them. Don’t get me wrong; the characters were well-thought-out, and they seemed real, I just had difficult time saying, “I know what that feels like.” I don’t know what it feels like to run for Senate; I don’t know what it feels like to lose my parents at a young age. However, both of these are things that really make Nell who she is.

Dan was another character that caught my attention. He comes to New York to look for his mother, who abandoned him when he was young. Unbeknownst to him, Dan’s mother is tied in with Nell’s mystery. As he continues to look for his mother, he forms a relationship with Nell, and I was definitely rooting for him. He isn’t mentioned in much of the book at first, but as their stories overlap, he becomes more and more involved. There was something about him that I liked, I just can’t pinpoint exactly what that is.

Once again I was able to figure out who-dun-it before the book’s end. I’m waiting for the day when the culprit is a total surprise; until then, I will keep reading.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Before I Say Good-bye by Mary Higgins Clark

  1. Marce says:

    Great HONEST review. Your in for 6 yaaaaay. I really hope I am able to figure out which one’s are my favourites, I remember the details of one fully but not the title.

    Thanks again for joining and I look forward to one that you can’t figure out who done it 🙂

    • Jen says:

      I am, indeed, in for 6. I’m hoping I can find one that I really like. My mom is going to be shipping her collection of books (which includes a lot of Mary Higgins Clark) to me sometime next year, so I’ll hopefully have more of a selection than my local library can provide.

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