Authors: Mary Higgins Clark
Critical Acclaim for #1
MARY HIGGINS CLARK
I'LL BE SEEING YOU
“The story moves swiftly and plays cunningly on the universal fear of parental loss and abandonment. And by voicing our secret anxieties about designer genetics . . . Ms. Clark raises . . . horrid possibilities. . . .”
âThe New York Times Book Review
“The best of this year's beach books is Mary Higgins Clark's
I'LL BE SEEING YOU,
not only because its characters seem the most real but because Clark is a flawless storyteller. . . . When Clark tells a story, the diverse elements twine together in ways that draw the reader on to a gripping and plausible end.”
âWashington Post Book World
“Mary Higgins Clark's tenth novel is another page-turner with a strong, endearing heroine and plenty of surprises. The book's climax [contains an] ingenious twist. . . . As a storyteller, Mary Higgins Clark is first-rate.”
“Mary Higgins Clark is one of a kind. Her personal stamp is packing more plot into a few hundred pages than anyone else would dare. . .
. I'LL BE SEEING
is . . . a taut, entertaining thriller.”
âOrange County Register
A Literary Guild Main Selection
“Every bit as compelling a mystery as her previous novels . . . Clark's well-drawn characters populate an intricate, fast-paced story in which the heroine's reluctant attraction to her childhood flame is just one appealing nuance.”
“Mary Higgins Clark can spin a tale that has you checking the latch on your door and burrowing under the covers for more.”
“For sheer storytelling powerâand breathtaking paceâClark is without peer.”
“I'LL BE SEEING YOU
has a lot going onâand a lot going for it.”
“Mary Higgins Clark has become the grande dame of American thriller writing. . . .”
âLos Angeles Times Book Review
“Mary Higgins Clark, the âQueen of Suspense,' is strutting her stuff with another tightly woven tale of deceit and intrigue. . . . A multilayered plot guaranteed to take your breath away . . . Into this convoluted tale of deceit and murder, obsession, hidden lives and intrigue, Clark sculpts a degree of suspense so riveting you can't turn the pages fast enough.”
“In her latest romantic thriller, Mary Higgins Clark mixes glitz and gore in a manner that should delight her large army of fans.”
âSan Diego Union-Tribune
“Clark has always been able to instill in her readers the breathless question: âAnd what happens next?' Answer in
I'LL BE SEEING YOUâ
“Clark, one of today's best suspense writers, weaves a spidery web of intrigue in
I'LL BE SEEING YOU
that tantalizes and mystifies to the very end.”
âCopley News Service
Books by Mary Higgins Clark
You Belong to Me
Pretend You Don't See Her
My Gal Sunday
Moonlight Becomes You
Let Me Call You Sweetheart
The Lottery Winner
I'll Be Seeing You
All Around the Town
Loves Music, Loves to Dance
The Anastasia Syndrome and Other Stories
While My Pretty One Sleeps
Weep No More, My Lady
A Cry in the Night
The Cradle Will Fall
A Stranger Is Watching
Where Are the Children?
Published by POCKET BOOKS
New York Â Â London Â Â Toronto Â Â Sydney Â Â Singapore
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
POCKET BOOKS, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
Visit us on the World Wide Web:
Copyright Â© 1993 by Mary Higgins Clark
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
For information address Simon & Schuster Inc., 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
POCKET and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster Inc.
OR MY NEWEST GRANDCHILD
WITH LOVE AND JOY
The writing of this book required considerable research. It is with great gratitude I acknowledge those who have been so wonderfully helpful.
B. W. Webster, M.D., Associate Director, Reproductive Resource Center of Greater Kansas City; Robert Shaler, Ph.D., Director of Forensic Biology, New York City Medical Examiner's Office; Finian I. Lennon, Mruk & Partners, Management ConsultantsâExecutive Search; Leigh Ann Winick, Producer Fox/5 TV News; Gina and Bob Scrobogna, Realty Executives, Scottsdale, Arizona; Jay S. Watnick, JD, ChFC, CLU, President of Namco Financial Associates, Inc.; George Taylor, DirectorâSpecial Investigation Unit, Reliance National Insurance Company; James F. Finn, Retired Partner, Howard Needles Tammen & Bergendoff, Consulting Engineers; Sergeant Ken Lowman (Ret.), Stamford, Conn., City Police.
Forever thanks to my longtime editor, Michael V. Korda, and his associate, senior editor Chuck Adams, for their terrific and vital guidance. Sine qua non.
As always, my agent Eugene H. Winick and my publicist Lisl Cade have been there every step of the way.
Special thanks to Judith Glassman for being my other eyes and my daughter Carol Higgins Clark for her ideas and for helping to put the final pieces of the puzzle together.
And to my dear family and friends, now that this is over, I'm happy to say I'll Be Seeing You!
His honour rooted in dishonour stood,
And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true.
âAlfred, Lord Tennyson
eghan Collins stood somewhat aside from the cluster of other journalists in Emergency at Manhattan's Roosevelt Hospital. Minutes before, a retired United States senator had been mugged on Central Park West and rushed here. The media were milling around, awaiting word of his condition.
Meghan lowered her heavy tote bag to the floor. The wireless mike, cellular telephone and notebooks were causing the strap to dig into her shoulder blade. She leaned against the wall and closed her eyes for a moment's rest. All the reporters were tired. They'd been in court since early afternoon, awaiting the verdict in a fraud trial. At nine o'clock, just as they were leaving, the call came to cover the mugging. It was now nearly eleven. The crisp October day had turned into an overcast night that was an unwelcome promise of an early winter.
It was a busy night in the hospital. Young parents carrying a bleeding toddler were waved past the registration desk through the door to the examination area. Bruised
and shaken passengers of a car accident consoled each other as they awaited medical treatment.
Outside, the persistent wail of arriving and departing ambulances added to the familiar cacophony of New York traffic.
A hand touched Meghan's arm. “How's it going, Counselor?”
It was Jack Murphy from Channel 5. His wife had gone through NYU Law School with Meghan. Unlike Meghan, however, Liz was practicing law. Meghan Collins, Juris Doctor, had worked for a Park Avenue law firm for six months, quit and got a job at WPCD radio as a news reporter. She'd been there three years now and for the past month had been borrowed regularly by PCD Channel 3, the television affiliate.
“It's going okay, I guess,” Meghan told him. Her beeper sounded.
“Have dinner with us soon,” Jack said “It's been too long.” He rejoined his cameraman as she reached to get her cellular phone out of the bag.
The call was from Ken Simon at the WPCD radio news desk. “Meg, the EMS scanner just picked up an ambulance heading for Roosevelt. Stabbing victim found on Fifty-sixth Street and Tenth. Watch for her.”
The ominous ee-aww sound of an approaching ambulance coincided with the staccato tapping of hurrying feet. The trauma team was heading for the Emergency entrance. Meg broke the connection, dropped the phone in her bag and followed the empty stretcher as it was wheeled out to the semicircular driveway.
The ambulance screeched to a halt. Experienced hands rushed to assist in transferring the victim to the stretcher. An oxygen mask was clamped on her face. The sheet covering her slender body was bloodstained. Tangled chestnut hair accentuated the blue-tinged pallor of her neck.
Meg rushed to the driver's door. “Any witnesses?” she asked quickly.
“None came forward.” The driver's face was lined
and weary, his voice matter-of-fact. “There's an alley between two of those old tenements near Tenth. Looks like someone came up from behind, shoved her in it and stabbed her. Probably happened in a split second.”
“How bad is she?”
“As bad as you can get.”
“None. She'd been robbed. Probably hit by some druggie who needed a fix.”
The stretcher was being wheeled in. Meghan darted back into the emergency room behind it.
One of the reporters snapped, “The senator's doctor is about to give a statement.”
The media surged across the room to crowd around the desk. Meghan did not know what instinct kept her near the stretcher. She watched as the doctor about to start an IV removed the oxygen mask and lifted the victim's eyelids.
“She's gone,” he said.
Meghan looked over a nurse's shoulder and stared down into the unseeing blue eyes of the dead young woman. She gasped as she took in those eyes, the broad forehead, arched brows, high cheekbones, straight nose, generous lips.
It was as though she was looking into a mirror.
She was looking at her own face.
eghan took a cab to her apartment in Battery Park City, at the very tip of Manhattan. It was an expensive fare, but it was late and she was very tired. By the
time she arrived home, the numbing shock of seeing the dead woman was deepening rather than wearing off. The victim had been stabbed in the chest, possibly four to five hours before she was found. She'd been wearing jeans, a lined denim jacket, running shoes and socks. Robbery had probably been the motive. Her skin was tanned. Narrow bands of lighter skin on her wrist and several fingers suggested that rings and a watch were missing. Her pockets were empty and no handbag was found.
Meghan switched on the foyer light and looked across the room. From her windows she could see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. She could watch the cruise ships being piloted to their berths on the Hudson River. She loved downtown New York, the narrowness of the streets, the sweeping majesty of the World Trade Center, the bustle of the financial district.
The apartment was a good-sized studio with a sleeping alcove and kitchen unit. Meghan had furnished it with her mother's castoffs, intending eventually to get a larger place and gradually redecorate. In the three years she'd worked for WPCD that had not happened.
She tossed her coat over a chair, went into the bathroom and changed into pajamas and a robe. The apartment was pleasantly warm, but she felt chilled to the point of illness. She realized she was avoiding looking into the vanity mirror. Finally she turned and studied herself as she reached for the cleansing cream.
Her face was chalk white, her eyes staring. Her hands trembled as she released her hair so that it spilled around her neck.
In frozen disbelief she tried to pick out differences between herself and the dead woman. She remembered that the victim's face had been a little fuller, the shape of her eyes round rather than oval, her chin smaller. But the skin tone and the color of the hair and the open, unseeing eyes were so very like her own.
She knew where the victim was now. In the medical
examiner's morgue, being photographed and fingerprinted. Dental charts would be made.
And then the autopsy.
Meghan realized she was trembling. She hurried into the kitchenette, opened the refrigerator and removed the carton of milk. Hot chocolate. Maybe that would help.
She settled on the couch and hugged her knees, the steaming cup in front of her. The phone rang. It was probably her mother, so she hoped her voice sounded steady when she answered it.
“Meg, hope you weren't asleep.”
“No, just got in. How's it going, Mom?”
“All right, I guess. I heard from the insurance people today. They're coming over tomorrow afternoon again. I hope to God they don't ask any more questions about that loan Dad took out on his policies. They can't seem to fathom that I have no idea what he did with the money.”
In late January, Meghan's father had been driving home to Connecticut from Newark Airport. It had been snowing and sleeting all day. At seven-twenty, Edwin Collins made a call from his car phone to a business associate, Victor Orsini, to set up a meeting the next morning. He told Orsini he was on the approach to the Tappan Zee Bridge.
In what may have been only a few seconds later, a fuel tanker spun out of control on the bridge and crashed into a tractor trailer, causing a series of explosions and a fireball that engulfed seven or eight automobiles. The tractor trailer smashed into the side of the bridge and tore open a gaping hole before plunging into the swirling, icy waters of the Hudson River. The fuel tanker followed, dragging with it the other disintegrating vehicles.
A badly injured eyewitness who'd managed to steer out of the direct path of the fuel tanker testified that a dark blue Cadillac sedan spun out in front of him and disappeared through the gaping steel. Edwin Collins had been driving a dark blue Cadillac.
It was the worst disaster in the history of the bridge.
Eight lives were lost. Meg's sixty-year-old father never made it home that night. He was assumed to have died in the explosion. The New York Thruway authorities were still searching for scraps of wreckage and bodies, but now, nearly nine months later, no trace had as yet been found of either him or his car.
A memorial mass had been offered a week after the accident, but because no death certificate had been issued, Edwin and Catherine Collins' joint assets were frozen and the large insurance policies on his life had not been paid.
Bad enough for Mom to be heartbroken without the hassle these people are giving her, Meg thought. “I'll be up tomorrow afternoon, Mom. If they keep stalling, we may have to file suit.”
She debated, then decided that the last thing her mother needed was to hear that a woman with a striking resemblance to Meghan had been stabbed to death. Instead she talked about the trial she'd covered that day.
For a long time, Meghan lay in bed, dozing fitfully. Finally she fell into a deep sleep.
A high-pitched squeal pulled her awake. The fax began to whine. She looked at the clock: it was quarter-past four. What on earth? she thought.
She switched on the light, pulled herself up on one elbow and watched as paper slowly slid from the machine. She jumped out of bed, ran across the room and reached for the message.
It read: MISTAKE. ANNIE WAS A MISTAKE.
om Weicker, fifty-two-year-old news director of PCD Channel 3, had been borrowing Meghan Collins from the radio affiliate with increasing frequency. He was in the process of handpicking another reporter for the on-air news team and had been rotating the candidates, but now he had made his final decision: Meghan Collins.
He reasoned that she had good delivery, could ad lib at the drop of a hat and always gave a sense of immediacy and excitement to even a minor news item. Her legal training was a real plus at trials. She was damn good looking and had natural warmth. She liked people and could relate to them.
On Friday morning, Weicker sent for Meghan. When she knocked at the open door of his office, he waved her in. Meghan was wearing a fitted jacket in tones of pale blue and rust brown. A skirt in the same fine wool skimmed the top of her boots. Classy, Weicker thought, perfect for the job.
Meghan studied Weicker's expression, trying to read his thoughts. He had a thin, sharp-featured face and wore rimless glasses. That and his thinning hair made him look older than his age and more like a bank teller than a media powerhouse. It was an impression quickly dispelled, however, when he began to speak. Meghan liked Tom but knew that his nickname, “Lethal Weicker,” had been earned. When he began borrowing her from the radio station he'd made it clear that it was a tough, lousy break that her father had lost his life in the bridge trag
edy, but he needed her reassurance that it wouldn't affect her job performance.