Publication Date: October 27, 2009
What happens when the tree intended for Rockefeller Center is highjacked? In The Christmas Thief by Mary Higgins Clark, for Alvirah Meehan and her P.I. co-conspirator, Regan Reilly, it means time to get back on the case and find the tree. Could there be more to this particular tree than they know? The Christmas Thief is the third novel co-authored by Mary Higgins Clark and her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark.
Alvirah Meehan is a former cleaning lady who won the lottery. Alvirah and her husband, Willy, travel to Vermont to visit her mystery writer friend, Nora Reilly (mother of P.I. sidekick, Regan) and witness the cutting of the 90-foot spruce that will serve as the holiday centerpiece for Rockefeller Center. But what happens when the tree chosen is one where a con man hid his ill-gotten gains?
OK, let’s just get this out of the way; this whole story is quite the coincidence. Man cons woman, man hides several million dollars worth of diamonds in a tree he must climb. Man spends 12 years in prison. Man gets out of prison as his tree is chosen for the honor of standing as one of the two most prestigious Christmas trees in America (the other one being the White House tree). Packy, the con man, is the one really bad character in the book and mostly the tone is light and the mystery easy. Mary Higgins Clark is a prolific writer with a vast library of published works and they, for the most part, have a practiced, homogeneous tone that serves to comfort the reader because we know when we pick up a Clark book, we will get the easy comfort of an ultimately warm and smooth story.
There are no real surprises in The Christmas Thief. The charm of the novel lies in its humor and holiday warmth. There’s a sweet mastery in the relationship of the plain speaking, blue-collar woman who made good and her young friend. Opal, a lottery winning friend of Alvirah, who was conned out of her winnings, is a sympathetic character with a wiser in the aftermath outlook on life and some solid lines that may not break forth wall but speak to the reader. Overall, The Christmas Thief is a light story in a snowy setting meant to be read with a roaring fire, fluffy blanket and decadent glass of whatever you like best. Holidays are meant for quick reads and contented smiles, just don’t dwell too much on the story. It may be improbable but suspension of disbelief for an overall story done well is playing along done right.
Read an excerpt and buy The Christmas Thief by Mary Higgins Clark on