Book review: The Cinderella Murder by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

For over 30 years, Mary Higgins Clark has been delighting readers with her smart, beautifully written murder mysteries, but there’s a fresh and exciting element to her intriguing ‘cold case’ series.

By Pam Norfolk
Monday, 17th August 2015, 10:00 am
The Cinderella Murder by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke
The Cinderella Murder by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

Enter the spicy new ingredient… co-author Alafair Burke, a trained lawyer and thriller writer whose gripping novels, including Never Tell and All Day And A Night, are often drawn from real-life cases and the author’s own personal and professional experiences.

Together these two talented writers form a formidable team, harnessing Clark’s powerful storytelling and experience with Burke’s gift for suspense and authenticity.

Simmering with tension, a cast of cleverly created suspects and some unexpected twists and turns, this edge-of the-seat mystery delivers high drama, red herrings and suspense… at the wave of a magic wand.

New York television producer Laurie Moran’s reality drama Under Suspicion is proving a big success after just one pilot programme. The cold case TV series revisits unsolved crimes by recreating them with the family of the victim and others involved in the case in the hope of finding new evidence.

Now Laurie has the ideal case to feature in the next instalment of Under Suspicion… the unsolved Cinderella Murder in Los Angeles 20 years ago. Susan Dempsey, a beautiful, gifted, 19-year-old UCLA student was found strangled in Laurel Canyon Park, a mobile phone clutched in her hand and one shoe missing.

Her murder left many unanswered questions. Why was her car parked miles from her body and did she ever show up for the acting audition she was due to attend at the home of up-and-coming film director Frank Parker?

Could her disappearance have been connected to a controversial church which was active on campus, are her two room-mates hiding vital information and was she close to her computer science professor because of her technological brilliance, or something more?

Susan’s boyfriend at the time was fellow student Keith Ratner, the man her parents regarded as ‘no-good, ’and he still seems reluctant to answer questions about their relationship.

With the help of handsome lawyer and Under Suspicion host Alex Buckley, Laurie and her production team must dig deep into dangerous secrets from the past if they are to track down the Cinderella murderer.

Clark and Burke work up a terrific atmosphere in this entertaining cold case whodunit which is guaranteed to keep mystery fans hooked right through to the thrilling dénouement.

A winning start to an enthralling new series.

(Simon & Schuster, paperback, £7.99)