Clark, Mary Higgins: The Lottery Winner
(researched by Anne Greenfield)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Mary Higgins Clark. The Lottery Winner: Alvirah and Willy Stories. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Four of the stories were first published in a different form: "Death on the Cape" appeared in Women's Day, July 18, 1989. "Body in the Closet" appeared in Women's Day, August 7, 1990. "Plumbing for Willy" appeared in Family Circle, August 1992. "A Clean Sweep" appeared in Justice in Manhattan, published by Longmeadow Press 1994. Source: The Lottery Winner
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The first American edition was published in a trade cloth quarter binding. Source: Gaskell's A New Introduction to Bibliography
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
139 leaves, pp. [18] [1-14] 15-54 [2] [55-56] 57-97 [2] [98-100] 101-136 [2] [137-138] 139-174 [2] [175-176] 177-228 [2] [229-230] 231-265 [5]
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
There is a paragraph entitled Acknowledgements that discusses the main character of all the short stories, Alvirah Meehan, and the author's feelings on the character. It reveals to the reader that the first manuscripts which were printed in other publications (see First Edition Publication Infomation) were written differently than the ones seen in The Lottery Winner. Mary Higgins Clark changed the original stories after her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark, told her to do so. So, the short stories seen in this collection are slightly different their original publications. The book is dedicated to siblings-in-law and friends. Source: The Lottery Winner
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
Not Illustrated
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
Presentation of Text on Page: Wide margins and space between lines make it very readable. On left side of every spread reads MARY HIGGINS CLARK in san serif font; the right side of spread reads THE LOTTERY WINNER in san serif font. Measurement of Page: 6" x 9" Measurement of Margins: Left and Right Outside margins and top margin 1.25", bottom margin 1.5" Text Width on Page: 4" Type Size: 100R Type Style: differs. Actual text san serif. Text on Title page for each short story and Table of Contents is serif. Title pages not numbered. Source: Glaister's Glossary of the Book
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The book is printed on off white paper. The book is relatively new (1994), so wear and tear are non-existent. Paper of actual pages is relatively thick. Endpapers are thicker and pink. Source: Gaskell's A New Introduction to Bibliography
11 Description of binding(s)
The book has a trade cloth very red quarter binding on embossed calico grain. The spine is gold-tooled reading vertically The Lottery Winner Mary Higgins Clark, then horizontally Simon & Schuster. The cover and back of the book are blue paper bound. The endpapers are pink. The dust jacket is printed on thin purplish blue, glossy paper. Mary | Higgins | Clark is stamped blind in pink with gilt shadowing. THE LOTTERY WINNER is stamped blind in white. Alvirah and Willy Stories is stamped blind in pink serif font. There is an illustration of an orange-yellow sunburst adorned with diamonds centered at the bottom of the dust jacket. There is another clear, glossy dust jacket over top of the other one. The jacket was designed in 1994 by Paul Bacon. The spine of the dust jacket reads vertically Mary Higgins Clark in pink with gold shadowing, then THE LOTTERY WINNER in white. Simon and Schuster along with the company symbol is written in gold horizontally. The back of the dust jacket is a picture of Mary Higgins Clark. She is sitting in a dark wooden chair with ivory cushions. She is wearing a dark sweater and gold jewelry. Her left arm is bent and resting on the arm of the chair with her chin resting on her left hand. There is an out of focus green plant with pink flowers in the background. The picture was taken by Bernard Vidal. The flaps of the dust jacket give a description of the collection of stories in the same text as the actual pages. The front flap is completely filled with text, while the back flap is only half way filled with text. There is a 3 line description of Mary Higgins Clark after the description of the book on the back flap Source: Gaskell's A New Introduction to Bibliography
12 Transcription of title page
The Title Page is a two spread page. The transcription of the left side is as follows: MARY | HIGGINS | CLARK | SIMON & SCHUSTER | [Simon & Schuster Symbol] The transcription of the right side is as follows: The | Lottery | Winner | ALVIRAH AND WILLY STORIES | NEW YORK * LONDON * TORONTO * SYDNEY * TOKYO * SINGAPORE The transcription of the back of the Title page is as follows: SIMON & SCHUSTER | ROCKEFELLER CENTER | 1230 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS | NEW YORK, NY 10020 | THIS BOOK IS A WORK OF FICTION, NAMES, CHARACTER, PLACES AND | INCIDENTS EITHER ARE PRODUCTS OF THE AUTHOR'S IMAGINATION OR | ARE USED FICITONALLY. ANY RESEMBLANCE TO ACTUAL EVENTS OR | LOCALES OR PERSONS, LIVING OR DEAD, IS ENTIRELY COINCIDENTAL | COPYRIGHT 1994 BY MARY HIGGINS CLARK | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, | INCLUDING THE RIGHT OF REPRODUCTION | IN WHOLE OR IN PART IN ANY FORM. | SIMON & SCHULSTER AND COLOPHON ARE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS | OF SIMON & SCHULSTER INC. | DESIGNED BY EVE METZ | MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA | 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 | LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA IS AVAILABLE | ISBN 0-671-86710-4 | FOUR OF THE STORIES IN THIS BOOK HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED | IN DIFFERENT FORM, AS FOLLOWS: | "DEATH ON THE CAPE" APPEARED IN WOMEN'S DAY, JULY 18, 1989. | "BODY IN THE CLOSET" APPEARED IN WOMEN'S DAY, AUGUST 7, 1990. | "PLUMBING FOR WILLY" APPEARED IN FAMILY CIRCLE , AUGUST 1992. | "A CLEAN SWEEP" APPEARED IN JUSTICE IN MANHATTAN PUBLISHED BY | LONGMEADOW PRESS (BILL ADLER BOOKS). COPYRIGHT 1994 | BY MARY HIGGINS CLARK. Each short story has a title page and their transcriptions are as follows (the text is serif): The Body | in the | Closet Death | on the | Cape Plumbing | for | Willy A | Clean | Sweep The | Lottery | Winner Bye, | Baby | Bunting Source: Gaskell's A New Introduction to Bibliography
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
No manuscript holdings available as of 1999 Source: RLIN, WorldCat
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
This copy is a dedication copy signed on the title page by Mary Higgins Clark in black ink. It is also part of the Taylor Collection. On the inside cover is a small, off-white card with the silhouettes of a man reading and a woman knitting. Between them is the silhouette of a table with flowers on it. Below the silhouette of the woman is the signature of Lillian Gary Taylor and beneath that of the man is the signature of Robert L. Taylor. This copy is also a rare book. On the back cover is a small off white piece of paper that reads "University of Virginia Rare Book Room" in navy. This book is a collection of stories about one woman, Alvirah Meehan, which was put together by popular demand. Although four of these stories have been published before, this is the first publication of them all together. There is an author's note at the end, which describes Mary Higgins Clark and her relation to the characters. This brief, half-page description tells how Clark drew on her Irish background to create the characters in this collection.
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
Large Print Book Club Edition New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Large Print Edition 396 pp (large print); 24 cm New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. 215 pp, 22 cm (original edition was 265 pp, 24 cm) New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Source: WorldCat
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
Simon and Schuster only published one impression of the first edition. It was 265 pp, 24 cm (see Assignment 1, question 4 for more details) Source: Bibliofind.com
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
New York: Pocket Books, 1994. New York: Pocket Books, 1995. New York: Buccaneer Books, 1997. New York: Buccaneer Books, 1998. Sources: WorldCat, BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com
6 Last date in print?
December 1998 New York: Buccaneer Books. Hardcover Source: BarnesandNoble.com
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
Information not available However, the following sales information was collected: Spent 12 weeks on the Publisher's Weekly Bestseller List Audio Bestseller in Publisher's Weekly on December 5, 1994 Sold 2.1 million copies after 2 press runs Source: Publisher's Weekly, Entertainment Weekly
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
Information not available
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
The following advertising copy was found in Publisher's Weekly, April 11, 1994. It was in a special Simon & Schuster promotion which consisted of 4 silver pages of advertisements: MARY HIGGINS CLARK THE LOTTERY WINNER Alvirah & Willy Suspense Stories ∑ National Advertising ∑ National author publicity ∑ 6-city author tour ∑ 20-copy floor display with riser ∑ 24-copy mixed floor display with riser, including 20 books and 4 audio cassettes Source: Publisher's Weekly
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
6-city author tour 20-copy floor display with riser 24-copy mixed floor display with riser, including 20 books and 4 audio cassettes Source: Publisher's Weekly
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
The Lottery Winner 4 sound cassettes (5.5 hrs.): analog, stereo; Dolby processed New York: Simon & Schuster Audioworks, 1994. Read by Jean Stapleton Source: WorldCat
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Hebrew: Ha-Ishah she-Zakhtah be-hagralat ha-lo to : sipure Al virah ve Vili Tel Aviv: Or'am, 1998. Spanish: Las invetigaciones de Alvirah y Willy Barcelona: Plaza & JarÈs, 1995. Braille: The Lottery Winner Alvirah and Willy Stories San Jose, California: Braile Transcription Project of Santa Clara County, 1994. Source: WorldCat
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
Four out of the six of the short stories were published in different form before the collection was published: "Death on the Cape" Women's Day, July 18, 1989. "Body in the Closet" Women's Day, August 7, 1990. "Plumbing for Willy" Family Circle, August 1992. "A Clean Sweep" Justice in Manhattan published by Longmeadow Press, 1994. Source: The Lottery Winner
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
There were no sequels or prequels to this book. This is due mostly to the fact that it is a collection of short stories dealing with the same characters. Certain short stories of the collection came before others and vice versa, however there is not another similar collection which prequel or sequel this book.
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
For a complete biography of Mary Higgins Clark see the entry for All Around Town . Note: Because The Lottery Winner is a collection of short stories that were written between the years of 1989 and 1994, this focus biography deals with a span of nearly five years.

In autumn of 1992, Mary Higgins Clark signed a $35 million contract with Simon and Schuster. This contract included the writing of four novels, a memoir, and a book of short stories (Boston Globe). In 1994, she published the latter part of this contractual agreement with The Lottery Winner . During this time, Clark said that she was averaging one book per year, which she credited to modern technology, the computer, and the fact that she no longer has to take care of her children who are now grown and living on their own. In an interview in 1993 with the Arizona Republic Clark said, "If you haven't written that day, you feel like you haven't brushed your teeth." In regards to her writing at this point in her career, Clark revealed in an interview that she has no plans to stray from fiction or her usual mystery (The Arizona Republic). However, in addition to her mysteries, she wants to write a saga that follows an Irish family through generations. Clark would write these books under the name of her grandmother, Bridget Kennedy.

During the years in which Mary Higgins Clark was writing the short stories that make The Lottery Winner , she won numerous awards and accolades. In 1992, Clark was named Irish Woman of the Year from the Irish American Heritage and Cultural Week Committee of the Board of Education of New York City. In 1993, she was given the Gold Medal of Honor from the American-Irish Historical Society. Clark was presented with the Spirit of Achievement Award by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Yeshiva University in 1994. During that same year Clark was awarded the National Arts Club Inaugural Gold Medal in Education. In 1994, a short story by the name of Malice Domestic 2 , which was edited by Clark won the Anthony Award for Best Short Story Collection/Anthology (romwell.com).

While in the process of composing the collection, Clark also made numerous appearances. On February 23, 1993, Clark spoke to about four hundred people at the Wigwam Resort in a program sponsored by the Florence Brinton Litchfield Library Guild. Later that year, she spoke at Fordham University (her alma matter) on "Suspense Writing: From Creation to Publication". In September of 1993, Clark spoke with her daughter, Carol who is also a writer, at the Women's National Democratic Club luncheon and at cocktail hour and the National Press Club. The two of them also appeared together on the Denis Wholey Show.

When The Lottery Winner was published, Clark lived in a modest home on the mid-Cape in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. However, in 1996, she married John J. Coheeney, the CEO of Merrill Lynch Futures, and they moved to Saddle River, New Jersey. Together they own an apartment in Central Park South in Manhattan and a summer home in Dennis, Mass. Which Clark says is for the family (Boston Globe). Together they have quite a large family with Clark having five children and six grandchildren and her husband having four children and nine grandchildren.

Since the publishing and release of The Lottery Winner Clark has continued to write mysteries for Simon and Schuster and she has no intentions of stopping any time soon. Sources: Doten, Patti. "Mystery Women." The Boston Globe Aug. 19, 1994: 47. Marchand, Philip. "Novelist Still Feels Pull Towards Historical Fiction." The Toronto Star June 6, 1994: F6. Romwell.com. 29 October 1999. http://www.romwell.com/books/review/clark.htm Sexton, Connie Cone. "Best-selling Author: Writing Daily Affair." The Arizona Republic March 3, 1993: 1N9. Wilder, Penfield III. "Haunted by Memories: Suspense Novelist Mary Higgins Clark." The Toronto Sun June 6, 1994: 44.

Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Few contemporary reviews of The Lottery Winner exist. This may be due to the fact that it is a collection of short stories. Therefore, it was not as readily reviewed as other novels. However, the analyses that do exist applaud and criticize similar aspects of the book. The general feeling is that the shorter version of the mystery is not Clark's strong point, instead "the compression highlights her faults rather than her virtues" ("Publisher's Weekly" 62). The compact version of her mystery leaves no time for development of characters, plot, or motive, which are usually Clark's strong points. Clark does not live up to her reputation as the "queen of suspense" in these stories, but instead critics claim that the characters' "escapades are flat, facile, and distinctly lacking suspense"(Melton 371).

Although the shorter version of Clark's writing isn't as skilled as her normal, longer version, readers still find comfort in her stories' "coziness and predictability" ("Publisher's Weekly" 62). According to some, these stories seem old-fashioned, as if they were written for The Saturday Evening Post in the 1950s ("Publisher's Weekly" 62). However, the tales are still "swift moving and skillfully plotted"("Publisher's Weekly" 62) and prove to be entertaining to readers who enjoy "the nouveau rich approach to crime solving"(Melton 371).

Overall, the consensus among the few criticisms that exist is that the condensed version of Mary Higgins Clark's infamous mystery is lacking in comparison to her usual style and length. She maintains certain aspects of her mystery, but she loses many important ones as well. The shortened version of her novel, according to critics, doesn't allow her enough time to develop her mystery and capture the reader as she usually does. Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews. Rev. of The Lottery Winner, by Mary Higgins Clark. October17,1994. Melton, Emily. Rev. of The Lottery Winner, by Mary Higgins Clark. Booklist. Vol 91, 15 October 1994: 371. "The Lottery Winner: Alvirah and Willy Stories." Rev. of The Lottery Winner, by Mary Higgins Clark. "Publisher's Weekly" Vol 241, 23 October 1994: 62.

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Few contemporary reviews of The Lottery Winner exist. This may be due to the fact that it is a collection of short stories. Therefore, it was not as readily reviewed as other novels. However, the analyses that do exist applaud and criticize similar aspects of the book. The general feeling is that the shorter version of the mystery is not Clark's strong point, instead "the compression highlights her faults rather than her virtues" ("Publisher's Weekly" 62). The compact version of her mystery leaves no time for development of characters, plot, or motive, which are usually Clark's strong points. Clark does not live up to her reputation as the "queen of suspense" in these stories, but instead critics claim that the characters' "escapades are flat, facile, and distinctly lacking suspense"(Melton 371).

Although the shorter version of Clark's writing isn't as skilled as her normal, longer version, readers still find comfort in her stories' "coziness and predictability" ("Publisher's Weekly" 62). According to some, these stories seem old-fashioned, as if they were written for The Saturday Evening Post in the 1950s ("Publisher's Weekly" 62). However, the tales are still "swift moving and skillfully plotted"("Publisher's Weekly" 62) and prove to be entertaining to readers who enjoy "the nouveau rich approach to crime solving"(Melton 371).

Overall, the consensus among the few criticisms that exist is that the condensed version of Mary Higgins Clark's infamous mystery is lacking in comparison to her usual style and length. She maintains certain aspects of her mystery, but she loses many important ones as well. The shortened version of her novel, according to critics, doesn't allow her enough time to develop her mystery and capture the reader as she usually does. Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews. Rev. of The Lottery Winner, by Mary Higgins Clark. October17,1994. Melton, Emily. Rev. of The Lottery Winner, by Mary Higgins Clark. Booklist. Vol 91, 15 October 1994: 371. "The Lottery Winner: Alvirah and Willy Stories." Rev. of The Lottery Winner, by Mary Higgins Clark. "Publisher's Weekly" Vol 241, 23 October 1994: 62.

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
"I am grateful for the continued existence of books. But I do worry that there are too many of them, too many people writing them, too many of them done too hurriedly, in search of too many bucks, too many barely worth reading. But we will survive, for some are real gems." - Herbert Tico Braun Professor of History, University of Virginia

Mary Higgins Clark is a world renowned author. She has written fourteen best sellers, with over thirty-five million copies in print just in the United States. While most of her novels are considered by many as "real gems," on occasion, she too gets caught up in the world of bestsellers and she authors a book "done too hurriedly, in search of too many bucks" that is "barely worth reading" (Professor Braun). Clark sold her first short story to Extension Magazine in 1956 for $100, after six years and forty rejection slips (SimonSays.com). Following that, Clark wrote her first biographical novel about George Washington, entitled Aspire to the Heavens. She first experimented with the suspense novel in 1975, with Where are the Children? It soon became a best seller and was an important point in her career.

Clark is known for her "sheer story-telling power and breathtaking pace"(People Weekly 28). Her characters are usually very likeable and easy to relate to and her plots are well developed, including many interesting and shocking twists and turns along the way. Clark's plots grow quickly, yet strongly, and she is able to "successfully and skillfully juggle all the plot lines"(from critical essay of All Around Town). Clark has a reputation for being a "popular fast read", thus contributing to her success.

The Lottery Winner is a collection of short stories put together by Clark and published in 1994. The stories are all interconnected and revolve around the crime solving abilities of Mary Higgins Clark's character Alvirah Meehan (former cleaning lady who wins $40 million in the lottery) and her husband Willy. The pair is very likeable and is a favorite among many readers. One reader comments, "by the end of the book I felt as if I knew Alvirah and Willy, personally" (Amazon.com). This pair is what seems to be one of the only selling points for the novel. The overall plots and story lines of the short stories are heavily criticized and the notion of it being a best seller is even questioned. Clark seems to struggle with developing her ever-so-popular mystery in such few pages. This is also seen in other short story collections of hers, such as My Gal Sunday . According to most critics, Clark needs more time to create her masterpieces and the shorter versions don't do her justice as the famous author she is. The Lottery Winner , along with other collections of short stories by Mary Higgins Clark, was a best seller not because of its contents and the way it reads, but because of Clark's previous reputation.

Mary Higgins Clark's popularity comes from the development of her mystery and her characters. People continue to read her books for her usual style of suspense and mystery. According to Clark herself, the secret to her popularity is because "readers identify with my characters. I write about people going about their daily lives, not looking for trouble, who are suddenly plunged into menacing situations" (SimonSays.com). People enjoy her books for their easy, fast read appeal. Because of the light, but page-turning qualities of her novels, Clark's books are often seen as "great time-kill reading[s] in airports, planes, trains, and the like"(Amazon.com). Clark's easy to read, attention grabbing style is liked by many and her numerous novels have created quite a legion of dedicated fans who are willing to read anything written by "The Queen of Mystery".

Although The Lottery Winner isn't revered as one of Clark's bests, it still appealed to many of her readers. According to Publisher's Weekly, "There is no doubt that the author's army of fans finds her stories' very coziness and predictability reassuring." Proponents of the book are naturally attracted to the adorable and comforting relationship between Alvirah and Willy, "Willy smiled affectionately at Alvirah, looking with love at the woman with whom he had spent the best years of his life"(Clark 236). Some readers enjoyed the simplicity of the short stories over Clark's usual length novels. One reviewer writes, "I recommend this book for some easy light reading. It contains some exciting plots, not quite as demanding reading as some of her mysteries"(BarnesandNoble.com). While the short stories might not have Clark's usual content level, they are still a "popular fast read" which attracts the regulars, "If you want a couple of hundred pages of pure escapism to soothe the soul on a rainy day, this book could be just what the cleaning lady ordered" (Amazon.com). While the tales of Alvirah and Willy may not live up to Clark's usual reputation, they are still purchased and enjoyed by many.

Unlike Clark's other novels, The Lottery Winner did not receive such rave reviews, neither by critics nor readers. There is an almost unanimous feeling that Clark doesn't write as well in this condensed fashion, "the compression highlights her faults rather than her virtues"(Publisher's Weekly). In this short form, she is unable to develop plot, motive, or characters. Clark finds it difficult to create a good plot line in under fifty pages. It seems as though Alvirah has a "talent" for murder, however only because she seems to be in general area when it occurs and the guilty seem to leave a clear path to follow. Kirkus Reviews sarcastically comments on this, "After all, what chance do kidnappers stand when Willy's already fixed their plumbing, and Sister Cordelia and Sister Maeve Marie?who also happens to be his biological sister?are patrolling the streets inches away from their lair?" The plot lines of the short stories are very simple and lack suspense and twists. According to the Kirkus Reviews, "Clark's heart isn't really into the details of plotting whodunits like this but the remaining two stories of kidnapping which ought to be closer to her home turf, are even thinner." Clark just doesn't have enough time to form a plot like readers are used to in her longer novels. It is as though the stories are rushed; the reader learns of the crime, motive, and solution all within the first few pages.

Similarly, Clark has difficulty creating strong, dynamic characters in such a short time. While Alvirah and Willy are very likeable, one reader found Alvirah a "very annoying character and too overwhelming and her husband seems to be a dopey sweet guy who just tags along and doesn't seem to have much personality"(amazon.com). Alvirah's constant attraction to crime can be quite tiring. It seems that at times even her loving husband gets tired of her constant involvement in crime solving, "Willy's only response was the clatter of a spoon and a deep sigh"(Clark 63). Because of the lack of pages, Clark is unable to develop her usual, powerful characters.

The Lottery Winner isn't Clark's only collection of short stories that has received this sort of criticism. Many of the same things were said about another similar collection entitled My Gal Sunday. This is a similar series of short stories with a couple much like Alvirah and Willy, however this novel introduces "a new sleuthing couple, Henry and Sunday, an ex-president and his young congresswoman bride"(Amazon.com). Like Alvirah, Clark has trouble developing Lacey, one of the characters in the collection, "Lacey is a particularly obtuse heroine, always doing the exact thing that will get her into more trouble"(Booklist). The plot is lacking as well. The book is described by the Kirkus Reviews as "A Love Story with Detective Interruptions." When criticizing, the Kirkus Reviews compare its downfalls with those of The Lottery Winner:

"The real interest here, as in Clark's Alvirah and Willy stories, is in the romance of wealth, coupled this time with the potent fairy-tale mix of power, glamour, gentility, and a certain endearing obtuseness. Clark's army of fans won't find any unseemly surprises here?and will know better than to expect much in the way of mystery or suspense in this gentle, upscale epithalamion."
Readers seem to have similar feelings towards My Gal Sunday as they do towards The Lottery Winner, "Clark's legion of fans will find this pleasing enough, though not top drawer"(Booklist). Simply stated, Clark just cannot produce a plot and characters that meet her usual standards in such few pages.

In autumn of 1992, Mary Higgins Clark signed a $35 million contract with Simon and Schuster. This contract included the writing of four novels, a memoir, and a book of short stories (Boston Globe). Some reviewers and readers believe that this collection seems rushed partially due to her contractual obligations, thus contributing to the divergence from Clark's usual quality. "It seems as if her intent was to get a book out as soon as she could whether it was any good or not"(Amazon.com). It seems as if Clark was in a hurry to get this book written and published, therefore taking away from its contents.

This point reiterates what the quote by Professor Braun was trying to say, "too many of them done too hurriedly, in search of too many bucks." This says a lot about Mary Higgins Clark and many other best selling authors. Once a writer has earned the title as a best selling author, often times they seem to get caught up in the money making and rapid production of books which tends to take away from their writing. In Clark's case she was commissioned to write a collection of short stories along with other books in a specific time period. In essence, she was forced to produce, and it proves that she was unable to produce as successfully as before. Clark might be aware that she is not as talented with short stories, however because her publisher asked her to write short stories, that is what she had to do, even if it meant sacrificing her skills as a long mystery writer.

Mary Higgins Clark is known in the book business as a blockbuster author. Others in this category are writers such as Danielle Steel, John Grisham, Tom Clancy and many more. These sort of authors are usually supported by one publishing company (in Clark's case Simon and Schuster), and their books are announced with enormous advertising campaigns. Promotion of The Lottery Winner included national advertising, national author publicity, a six city author tour, a twenty copy floor display with a riser, and a twenty-four copy mixed floor display with a riser, including twenty books and four audio cassettes (Publisher's Weekly). Her book was also advertised in a huge promotional campaign by Simon and Schuster, which consisted of four silver pages of advertising which included the cover of Publisher's Weekly. Basically, once an author writes one bestseller and gains the support of a major publishing company, his/her books are most likely going to sell, no matter what their quality. With the advertising Clark had for this novel, combined with her already well known and well liked reputation, it is no wonder that The Lottery Winner was a best seller.

Blockbuster novels are usually best-sellers because people "have a clear sense of what they are going to get: a Danielle Steel novel is always?well, a Danielle Steel novel" (Gladwell 49). Similarly, while some are better than others, for the most part, a Mary Higgins Clark novel is always a Mary Higgins Clark novel. When consumers enter a large bookstore they are often overwhelmed by the nearly infinite choices. Since many people in today's society live fast paced lives, they do not have the time to read the backs of every book that looks interesting to them, so they go for what they know best. In the case of The Lottery Winner people went for Clark's novel because she is one who the average public knows best and usually enjoys, not because they had heard rumors of its astounding literary qualities.

There is usually a common sales trend seen with such blockbuster best sellers; "Within days of publication they leap onto the best seller lists. Sales start high--hundreds of thousands of copies in the first few weeks?and then taper off"(Gladwell 49). This same trend was seen with the sales of The Lottery Winner. Five hundred thousand copies were sold in the first printing (Publisher's Weekly), and after two press runs 2.1 million copies were sold. These figures show that Clark's novel became a best seller because of good marketing and because it falls under the stereotype as a blockbuster best seller, not because it was critically acclaimed.

The Lottery Winner's successes as a best seller can be attributed to the reputation of Mary Higgins Clark not to its level of writing. Clark struggles to perform in such limited space. This is seen not only in The Lottery Winner, but also in My Gal Sunday, another collection of similar short stories. Critics and readers agree that the shortened version takes away from her usual skillful plots and intriguing characters. Because Clark has such a dedicated group of followers and such excellent promotional techniques, her reputation and fans saved her on this one. Too many more like this and people might start jumping off the band wagon. Clark needs to stick to her long version, suspense novels, the ones that earned her the title as "The Queen of Suspense." Sources

Amazon.com. 29 November 1999. http://www.amazon.com

BarnesandNoble.com. 27 November 1999. http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Clark, Mary Higgins. The Lottery Winner. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994.

Doten, Patti. "mystery Women." The Boston Globe August 19, 1994:47.

Gladwell, Malcom. "The Science of the Sleeper." The New Yorker. October 4,1999.

Kirkus Reviews. Rev. of The Lottery Winner, by Mary Higgins Clark. October17,1994.

Melton, Emily. Rev. of The Lottery Winner, by Mary Higgins Clark. Booklist. vol 91, 15 October 1994:371.

SimonSays.com. 28 November 1999. http://www.simonsays.com

Toepfer, Susan. People Weekly. June 15, 1992. v37 n23 p28(1).

Supplemental Material
Author Photo from the Back of the First Edition Dust Jacket
Binding of First Edition
Spine of First Edition Dust Jacket
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