The world of genre fiction lost a true luminary as Mary Huggins Clark died on Friday at the age of 92.
Clark was the bestselling author of more than 40 top titles and fans knew her as the “Queen of Suspense” for her role in the literary world. She was to the world of suspense fiction what Stephen King is to horror novels.
Her publisher, Simon & Schuster, said Clark died in Naples, Florida, peaceful and surrounded by her family.
Mary Higgins Clark legacy
Mary Higgins Clark has been writing professionally since she was young, submitting her first story at the age of 16 and making her first sale in 1956 to Extension Magazine.
In 1968, Higgins Clark published Aspire to the Heavens and by 1975 she had her first major sale with Where Are the Children?, her debut suspense novel. That novel is in its 75th printing.
That novel was a massive success and she sold her second novel, A Stranger is Watching, to Simon & Schuster for $1.5 million, meaning she could focus all her time on her writing career.
Mary Higgins Clark then spent most of the next four decades on top of the bestsellers list. She has sold over 100 million copies of her books in the United States alone and many of them were made into movies.
It is with deep sadness we say goodbye to the "Queen of Suspense" Mary Higgins Clark, author of over 40 bestselling suspense titles. She passed away peacefully this evening, January 31, at the age of 92 surrounded by family and friends. pic.twitter.com/SoAGqBebRP
— Simon & Schuster (@SimonBooks) February 1, 2020
As a top suspense writer, she has two successful series, including the Alvirah and Willy series, which included 12 novels, the most recent coming in 2017 with All By Myself, Alone.
She also wrote the Under Suspicion series, based on a documentary program with Laurie Moran that investigates cold cases. The most recent of those came in 2018 with You Don’t Own Me.
Mary Higgins Clark also wrote a novel just last year with the standalone fiction novel, Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry.
She had four of her books turned into movies, with the two most popular being A Stranger is Watching in 1982 and Where Are the Children? in 1986.
Higgins Clark also had her books turned into TV movies, with 36 television adaptations based on her work.
Over her career, Mary Higgins Clark won several awards for her writing and was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame in 2011.
Mary Higgins Clark personal life
Mary Higgins Clark was born in 1927 in Bronx, New York. She started her writing in high school but ended up working as a flight attendant while she struggled to sell her first work.
Before she started writing novels, she worked as a playwriter for radio.
She was married three times, her first husband dying in 1964 and her third dying in 2018. She has five children, including mystery author Carol Higgins Clark.