Mary Higgins Clark, America's "Queen of Suspense," delves into the mystery of psychic powers and communication with the dead in her gripping new thriller, Before I Say Good-Bye.
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.
As the investigation into the boat's explosion proceeds, Nell is shocked by the official confirmation that it was not an accident but the result of foul play. Adam, an architect, had been involved in a major construction project on land he had recently purchased and which had since had a spectacular rise in value.
Was Adam the target of the explosion? Or was it Winifred Johnson, his self-effacing, fifty-two-year-old assistant, who knew too much about bribery in the construction business and who was openly in love with him? Or was it Sam Krause, a builder with a questionable reputation who was involved in the new project? Or Jimmy Ryan, the debt-ridden construction foreman whose wife, after his death, discovers money hidden in their home? Or was it Peter Lang, the wealthy man-about-town real-estate entrepreneur, whose minor traffic accident caused him to miss the fatal meeting on the boat?
As Nell searches for the truth about Adam's death, she carries out instructions from Adam transmitted through the medium. What she does not know is that she is being closely watched, and the nearer she comes to learning what actually happened on the boat that night, the nearer she is to becoming the next victim of a ruthless killer.
Fifty-two-year-old Winifred Johnson never entered the lobby of her employer's apartment building on Park Avenue without feeling intimidated. She had worked with Adam Cauliff for three years, first at Walters and Arsdale, and then she had left with him last fall, when he started his own company. He relied on her from the beginning.
Even so, whenever she stopped by his apartment, she couldn't help feeling that one day the doorman would instruct her to use the delivery entrance around the corner.
She knew that her attitude was the result of her parents' lifelong resentment over imagined slights. Ever since she could remember, Winifred's ears had been filled with their plaintive tales of people who had been rude to them: They use their little bit of authority on people like us who can't fight back. Expect it, Winifred. That's the kind of world it is. Her father had gone to his grave railing against all the indignities he had suffered at the ...
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