Clark, Mary Higgins: Loves Music, Loves to Dance
(researched by Ellen Birek)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Author: Mary Higgins Clark Title: "Loves Music, Loves to Dance" Publisher: Simon and Schuster, New York, May 1991 Copyrights: 1991 by Mary Higgins Clark "Shall We Dance?" Copyright (C) 1951 by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Copyright renewed. Williamson Music Co. Owner of publications and allied rights. Used by permission. All rights reserved. "Come Dance With Me" by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heussen. Copyright (C) 1958 by Cahn Music Co. & Marville Music Corp. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The first edition was published on trade cloth only. Source: Library of Congress Webapge
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
164 Leaves, pp[8] 16-19 [2] 22-31 [2] 34-42 [1] 44-64 [1] 66-99 [2] 102-103 [2] 106-122 [1] 124-134 [1] 136-152 [1] 154-169 [2] 172-184 [1] 186-189 [2] 192-196 [1] 198-207 [2] 210-222 [1] 224-225 [2] 228-238 [1] 240-249 [2] 252-259 [2] 262-265 [2] 268-271 [2] 274-314v [1] 316-319 Source: Looking at the first edition
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
The first page of the book presents the autor's name along with all of the books she had written previously. Other than a list of the author's works, there is no other publishing advertisement in the book. There are two dedications before the text. The first dedication thanks the author's family and friends. The second dedication is to three specific family mambers. Also, there is a quote from Aristotle concerning friendship. Source: Looking in the first edition of the book.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
This book has no illustration. Source: Looking at the first edition of the book.
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?)
The book is well printed. The margins and print are both fairly large, with a page size of 9.25 inches by 6.25 inches. The margins measure 1 inch on the sides and top of the page, but measure 1.5" on the top of the page. The print is 95R. The ink is neither smeared nor smuged. Source: Looking at the first edition 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 parper is an off-wite almost parchment color. The texture is rough, and the paper itself is medium thickness. There is no discoloration. I bought the book at a used book store, and it is in very good condition. The book probably had only one previous owner. Source: Looking at the first edition of the book.
11 Description of binding(s)
There are two types of binding on the book. The binding is a dark black cloth, probably embossed linen grain. The rest of the binding is a medium red cloth. The spine reads "Mary Higgins Clark Loves Music, Loves to Dance Simon & Shuster". The type on the spine is gold, and lays on top of the black part of the binding. The front and back covers are both blank. The endpapers are the same color of medium red as the binding is. The endpapers contain no illustrations. This book does have a dust jacket. Source: Looking at the first edition of the book. Also, Gaskell's "A New Introduction to Bibliograpy".
12 Transcription of title page
The title page is on two leaves that face each other. The left side reads: MARY/HIGGINS/CLARK/SIMON & SCHUSTER The right side reads: LOVES MUSIC/LOVES TO/ DANCE/ NEW YORK*LONDON*TORONTO*SYDNEY*TOKYO*SINGAPORE
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
No manuscript holdings exist for this novel. Source:http://www.galenet.com/
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
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
1)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, 304p, 23cm. Publisher: Cutchogue, NY: Buccaneer Books, 1995, 1991. (Limited edition of 500 copies) 2)GOSTA DE MUSICA, GOSTA DE DANCAR, 337p, 20 cm. Publisher: [Lisbon]: Circulo de Leitores, 1993. 3)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, 319p, 24 cm. Publisher: New York, Simon and Schuster, 1991. Braille, Buffalo, NY. Braille Group Sisterhood of Temple Beth Am. 4)LE GUSTA MUSICA, LE GUSTA BAILAR, 264P, 22CM. Publisher: Plaza & James Editores, 1992. 5)L'I'UBIT MUZYKU, L'I'UBIT TAN 'T' SEVANT', 221p, 20 cm. Publisher: Moskva: Novosti, 1992. 6)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, 319p. Publisher: Arrow, 1992, 1991. 7)AMA LA MUSICA, LE GUSTA BAILAR, 354p, 21 cm. Publisher: Mexico, D.F.: Lasser Press Mexicana, 1992. 8)CH'*ONJAE CH*ONGSINKWA UISA UI SANN KWANGGO = LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, 342p, 23 cm. Publisher: S*oul-si: Tos*o Ch'op'an Yeha, 1992. Personal author: Han, Ki-Ch'an 9)LE GUSTA LA MUSICA, LE GUSTA BAILAR, 356p, 20 cm. Publisher: Buenos Aires: Emence, 1992. 10)READER'S DIGEST CONDENSED BOOKS: VOL 6, 1991, 573p, 20cm. Publisher: Pleasantville, NY, Reader's Digest Assn. 1991. 11)Literary Guild ed., 246p, 22 cm. Publisher: Simon and Schuster, 1991. 12)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, BOOK CLUB EDITION, 246p, 22cm. Publisher: Simon and Schuster, 1991. 13)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, LARGE PRINT EDITION, 445p, 22cm. Publisher: Thorndike, ME: Thorndike Press, 1991. 14)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, LARGE PRINT EDITION, 445p, 23cm. Publisher: Thorndike, ME: Thorndike Press, 1991. 15)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, LARGE PRINT BOOK CLUB EDITION, 487p, 22cm. Publisher: New York, Simon and Schuster, 1991. 16)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, THORNDIKE LARGE PRINT EDITION, 445p, 23 cm. Publisher: Thorndike, ME: Thorndike Press, 1991. 17)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, B-O-T LIBRARY EDITION, 8 cassettes. Publisher: Newprot Beach, CA: Books on Tape p 1991, c 1991. 18)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, SOUND RECORDING, 2 sound cassettes. Publisher: NY, Simon and Schuster Audio, 1991. ("An abridgement"). 19)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, 319p. Publisher: Arrow, 1992. (British National Bibliography Version). 20)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, 319p. Publisher: Century, 1991. (British National Bibliography Version). 21)THREE NOVELS IN ONE VOLUME; WHILE MY PRETTY ONE SLEEPS; LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE; ANASTASIA SYNDROME, 647p. Publisher: London, Cresscti, 1993. 22)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE. Publisher: Milsons Point. N.S.W. Century Fiction, 1991. (Australia). 23)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, 288p. Publisher: Century (Random Century Gruop), 1991. 24)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE. Publisher: not given, April, 1992. 25)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, LARGE TYPE MACMILLION LIBRARY REFERENCE, 485p. Publisher: Pocket Books, Ap 1992. 26)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, LARGE TYPE REPRINT MACMILLION LIBRARY REFERENCE. Publisher: not given, November, 1991. (Out of Print). 27)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, 336p. Publisher: Pocket Books, March 1992. 28)LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE. Publisher: Pocket Books, July 1991. 29)LE GUSTA MUSICA, LE GUSTA BAILAR, 356p. Publisher: Barcelons: Emeci Editores, Espana, 1997. 30)LE GUSTA LA MUSICA, LE GUSTA BAILAR, 302p, 22cm. Publisher: Barcelona: Circulo de Lectores, 1992. 31)MA RAD HUDBU, RAD TAN CI, 270s, 21cm. Publisher: Praha: Odeon, 1997. (Personal Author: Stechova, Petra (Polish)). 32)RECHERCHE JEUNE FEMME AIMANT DANSER, 277p, 18cm. Publisher: [Paris]: A. Michel, 1996, 1991. 33)SCHWESTERLEIN, KOMM TANZ MIT MIR: ROMAN, 317p, 19cm. Publisher: Munchen: Heyne Verlag, 1992. 34)LE PIACE LA MUSICA, LE PIACE BALLARE, 252p, 20cm. Publisher: Sperling & Kupfer, 1995, 1992. (1st Edition Sperling Paperback). 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?
Not Found Consulted: "Publisher's Weekly", volumes 238 and 239, in their entirety.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
See Number One
6 Last date in print?
The last date of print was February 1996. Source: WorldCat
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
Information Not Available Consulted: "Publisher's Weekly", volumes 238 and 239 in their entirety.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
No Information Available Consulted: "Publisher's Weekly", vols 238 and 239, in their entirety.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
No Information Available Consulted: "Publisher's Weekly", vols 238 and 239, in their entirety.
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
There were no advertisements for the book, but the publishers, Simon and Schuster, always try to release Mary Higgins Clarks' books sometime in May. Their jingle is "May is Mary Month".
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
1)B-O-T LIBRARY EDITION, 8 cassettes. Publisher: Newport Beach, CA: Books on Tape, p 1991, c 1991. 2)A SOUND RECORDING, 2 sound cassettes. Publisher: NY, Simon and Schuster Audio, 1991.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
1) "Le gusta la musica, le gusta bailar", 356 pages. Publisher: Barcelona: Emece Editores Espana, 1997. 2) "Le gusta la musica, le gusta bailar", 302 pages, 22 cm. Publisher: Barcelona: Circulo de Lectores, 1992. 3) "ma rad hudbu, rad tan *ci", 270 pages, 21 cm. Publisher: Praha: Odeon, 1997. Personal author: Stechova, Petra. 4) "Recherche jeune femme aimant danser", 277 pages, 18 cm. Publisher: [Paris]: A. Michel, 1996, 1991. 5) "Schwesterlein, Komm tanz mit mir: Roman", 317 pages, 19 cm. Publisher: Munchen: Heyne Verlag, 1992. 6) "Le piace la musica, le piace ballare", 252 pages, 20 cm. Publisher: [Milano]: Sperling & Kupfer, 1995, 1992. 7) "Gosta de musica, gosta de dancar", 377 pages, 20 cm. Publisher: [Lisbon]: Circulo de Leitores, 1993. 8) "Le gusta la musica, le gusta bailar", 264 pages, 22 cm. Publisher: Barcelona: Plaza & James Editores, 1992. 9) "Loves music, loves to dance", 319 pages, 24 cm. Publisher: New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991. Braille, Buffalo, NY.: Braille Group Sisterhood of Temple Beth Ann. 10) "L'i'ubit muzyku, L'i'ubit tan 't' sevant'", 221 pages, 20 cm. Publisher: Moskva: Novosti, 1992. 11) "Ama la musica, le gusta bailar", 354 pages, 21 cm. Publisher: Mexico, D.F.: Lasser Press Mexicana, 1992. 12) "Ch'*onjae ch*ongsinkwa uisa ui sann kwanggo = Loves music, loves to dance", 342 pages, 23cm. Publisher: S*oul-si: Tos*o Ch'ulp'an Yeha, 1992. Personal Author: Han, Ki-ch'an. 13) "Le gusta la musica, le gusta bailar", 356 pages, 20 cm. Publisher: Buenos Aires: Emece, 1992.
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
n/a
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
n/a
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
The novel, "Loves Music, Loves to Dance" is not a mile stone for its author. Mary Higgins Clark still turns out bestsellers each year. She has written many bestsellers since the making of this novel. She has not left her original publisher, Simon and Schuster, and she boasts she never will. The book marks an alarming awareness in America of a foreboding evil lurking at every corner: the serial killer. According to Elliott Leyton, a Newfoundland anthropologist, in 1988 "The rate of growth [of mass murders] has been almost exponential" (1). According to researchers, mass murder is on the rise, and in the late 80's and early 90's America was innundated with terrifying images of grotesque killings. The serial killer was no longer a figure from folklore. He could be your neighbor next door, the mailman, or even the clown you hired for your son's birthday. Officials have recently complied an overview of the typical serial killer. Clark attended a seminar on serial killers in 1987 and learned about the profile, and used it in the creation of antagonist in the novel. The guest speaker was Robert Kessler, the Director of Behavioral Forensic Sciences to the FBI (2). The typical serial killer is a white male between the ages of 20 and 30, who came from a single-parent home, was abused as a child, was particuarly sexually abused, and was exposed to alcohol and drug abuse at an early age. Usually the killer has female victims (3). Experts have also categorized the way in which the serial killer kills. The first category is a disorganized murder. Here, the killer uses any available weapon, and the scene is haphazard or random. An organized murder is committed by a person who brings a weapon, may have stalked his victim, and is most likely to spend time at the crime scene (4). In 1991, America seemed obsessed with the idea of a serial killer. "Silence of the Lambs" was at the bestsellers list for months. The popular movies of the time, "Fatal Attraction", The "Halloween" Series, The "Friday the 13th" Series, and The "Nightmare on Elm Street" Series also reflect America's unquenched thirst for the horrors of serial murder. Serial killers' names were common household words. The University of Florida experienced a tragic loss of five students in late 1990. The Zodiac killer haunted the streets of New York City in the late 1990's also. Serial killers seemed to be everywhere. CLark capitalized on this idea, and made it a best seller. Sources: (1) "Researchers say mass murder is on Rise". 1/3/88. The Omaha Herald. (2) http://www.simonandschuster.com/mhclark/interrogating3.cfm (3) "Professor helps write how-to manual for hunting down elusive serial killers". 1/26/88. The Toronto Star. FINAL. Page E2 (4) "Serial Killers Today's Vampires". Special to the Star (Knight-Ridder). 10/6/88. The Toronto Star. FINAL. Page L8
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Mary Higgins Clark knows how to please her readers. She consistently turns out a best seller almost once each year, and people have not tired of the author yet. "Loves Music, Loves to Dance" was fairly widely accepted as a suspense thriller by fans and reviewers alike. Phrases such as "leaves you on the edge of your seat," "keeps you in suspense," and "highly recommended" are seen numerous times in the reader reviews (amazon.com). The reception for critics was not as praising. The review in the April 5 1991 issue of Publisher's Weekly called the book a "disappointing latest suspense novel" and claimed its success was only because of Clark's large fan base (PW Ap 5, '91). The reviewer also goes on to say that "A surfeit of insignificant minor characters and one too many red herrings make the novel's sleight-of-hand ending seem very forced indeed" (PW Ap 5 '91). Although the minority, some fans agreed with the reviewer's interpretation of the novel. "Brainless, "Yuck! Yuck! Yuck!" and "elementary at best", were some of the critisms from the fan base (amazon.com). Most of the positive reviews I found were on web pages that were marketing the book or were linked to sites that were selling the book. Web pages such as The New York Times Book Review, linked to Barnes and Nobel, and Amazon.com shared mostly positive reviews of the book. Amazon.com did allow 3 unflattering reviews, but mixed these reviews among the 44 other fan reviews present. Overall, Clark's book is accepted as just another one in the line long of her suspense/thriller/mystery novels. Needless to say, the book did not turn too many heads. Book Review Index Publisher's Weekly. v 238. April 5, 1991. page 138. Publisher's Weekly. v 238. July 5, 1991. page 46. Booklist v 87. April 15, 1991. page 1602. Books In Print With Book Reviews. September 1991. School Library Journal. Gale Group. (web) By Roberta Lisker. The New York Times on the Web. WWW.NYTIMES.COM. June 16, 1991. Sunday late edition. By Joyce Cohen. Amazon.com. April 16, 1997 to November 8, 1999.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Mary Higgins Clark knows how to please her readers. She consistently turns out a best seller almost once each year, and people have not tired of the author yet. "Loves Music, Loves to Dance" was fairly widely accepted as a suspense thriller by fans and reviewers alike. Phrases such as "leaves you on the edge of your seat," "keeps you in suspense," and "highly recommended" are seen numerous times in the reader reviews (amazon.com). The reception for critics was not as praising. The review in the April 5 1991 issue of Publisher's Weekly called the book a "disappointing latest suspense novel" and claimed its success was only because of Clark's large fan base (PW Ap 5, '91). The reviewer also goes on to say that "A surfeit of insignificant minor characters and one too many red herrings make the novel's sleight-of-hand ending seem very forced indeed" (PW Ap 5 '91). Although the minority, some fans agreed with the reviewer's interpretation of the novel. "Brainless, "Yuck! Yuck! Yuck!" and "elementary at best", were some of the critisms from the fan base (amazon.com). Most of the positive reviews I found were on web pages that were marketing the book or were linked to sites that were selling the book. Web pages such as The New York Times Book Review, linked to Barnes and Nobel, and Amazon.com shared mostly positive reviews of the book. Amazon.com did allow 3 unflattering reviews, but mixed these reviews among the 44 other fan reviews present. Overall, Clark's book is accepted as just another one in the line long of her suspense/thriller/mystery novels. Needless to say, the book did not turn too many heads. Book Review Index Publisher's Weekly. v 238. April 5, 1991. page 138. Publisher's Weekly. v 238. July 5, 1991. page 46. Booklist v 87. April 15, 1991. page 1602. Books In Print With Book Reviews. September 1991. School Library Journal. Gale Group. (web) By Roberta Lisker. The New York Times on the Web. WWW.NYTIMES.COM. June 16, 1991. Sunday late edition. By Joyce Cohen. Amazon.com. April 16, 1997 to November 8, 1999.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Mary Higgins Clark, is a common household name, not only in America but in France and other European countries as well. Clark, with the help of her publisher Simon and Schuster have created a name for herself - a name that a general readership respects and one that has absorbed a very strong fan base. For Mary Higgins Clark is the self-appointed "Queen of Suspense." Although Clark includes many social issues in her novels, the issues are not what draw her readers. Instead, it is the formula of the book the readers go for. The basic plot of all of her novels follows this formula: something terrible and/or extraordinary happens to an average-Jane, she solves the problem and becomes a local hero. Clark's formula is very predictable, making it easy to assume she found a formula that worked and she stuck with it throughout all of her best-selling novels. Fans embrace the formula, putting Clark's books on the bestseller list time and time again. The use of formula is not atypical, especially for best-selling authors of mystery novels. John Girsham uses a formula that has also made his books, and the movies based on his books, extremely popular. The reviews for LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE were mixed. Fans loved the book, and reported it was suspenseful, dramatic, and realistic. On the Webpage, www.amazon.com, only three out of 45 fan reviews were negative. The rest of the reviews applauded Clark for writing another great book. Www.amazon.com, however, is a company that sells books. Because the company's purpose is to sell as many books as possible, we can assume, although there is no proof for the assumption, that the reviews are used as a form of word-of-mouth advertisement. Naturally, the product-sellers would not want a poor review of the book because it may deter sales. By including a few negative reviews, www.amazon.com keeps the reviews realistic and believable. Www.Barnes&Nobel.com uses the same technique as its contemporary. I could only find two professional reviews for LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE. The first, from BOOKLIST, picks up on the repetition of the formula Clark uses in her novels. The reviewer, Brad Hooper, said, "while never attempting a risky triple jump in her ice-skating program, Clark can be relied on for well-practiced and well-executed singles and doubles" (BOOKLIST vol. 87). Hooper's review of the book is not exceptional, nor is the review found in PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY. PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY calls LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE a "disappointing latest suspense novel" from Clark (PW vol. 238). The reviewer also says that the "hazardous pursuit" of the heroine is "one which might thrill Clark fans", pointing to Clark's loyal readership. Obviously, there is a bit of a rift between Clark's professional reviewers and fans. One can only assume that if you like one of Mary Higgins Clark books, chances are you will like all of her books. Clark's undiminishing fan support is clearly reflected in the many WebPages dedicated to the author. I found that typing her name into any search engine will immediately illicit results. Clark's WebPages offer many links to various parts in her biography. The most detailed site is a link from her publisher, Simon and Schuster. The authorized link is by far the most detailed and the most geared to Clark as a person. By keeping a professional persona with the public, Clark's face is not tarnished by sleazy articles in supermarket newspapers. In fact, Clark is well out of the Hollywood circle. After raising her five children as a single mother, she went back to college, graduating summa cum laude from Fordham University in 1979, with a B.A. in philosophy. To date, Clark has received 13 honorary doctorates from colleges and universities around the world. Along with her good educational background, Clark has a very good professional portfolio, holding prestigious positions at conferences and in clubs. Clark is the president and the board of directors of the Mystery Writers of America and was the chairman of the International Crime Congress held in New York in 1988. In an effort to keep her books out of the "trashy" genre, Clark always makes sure the main plot of her book revolves around some type of social issue. Her efforts are made clear in several interviews easily accessible through links from the homepage of her publisher. In-vitro fertilization, parental kidnapping, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and multiple personality disorders, are just a few of the relevant social issues found in Clark's signature novels. In the interview from the "Interrogating Mary" portion of the Internet site, the interviewer asks Clark about most of her books. In almost every single instance, Clark broadcasts to her readers that she had done some type of research on the subject, or was closely associated with someone who was an expert on the subject. Clark obviously wants to make it clear that she is not an author without experience in the various subjects she uses as a plot for her books. Although her subject knowledge comes only through a college course, or through a conference given by an expert in the field, Clark continually boasts of her field experience. In the online interview, she states very matter-of-factly that she "?took a course in parapsychology at New York's New School of Social Research, during which [she] observed people being regressed to former lifetimes," which aided her in writing the book THE ANASTASIA SYNDROME (www.simonandschuster.com/mhclark). Clark also "attended a lecture by an FBI agent when [she] was Chairman of the International Crime Congress?who was talking about a serial killer who enticed his victims through personal ads," which, she admits, gave her the idea for LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE (www.simonandschuster.com/mhclark). In LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE, Clark introduces two social issues that were fairly pertinent in 1991. America was saturated with a newfound interest in serial and mass murderers. Both horrific crimes were on the rise, and media coverage brought each atrocity into America's homes. During the same time, a new phenomenon in dating started turning heads. Newspaper personal ad sales were on the rise. Young men and women were using the personals as a way to meet new people and expand their circle of friends. Personal ad dating was not always safe. Here is where Clark ties the two important social issues of the time together. Clark tries to write a didactic bestseller, being the medium between the FBI agent's lecture, and the general public. She does this without, of course, straying from her formula. In 1991, America wanted blood and guts and entertainers were more than willing to deliver. Although LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE is not ultimately as bloody as any of the popular movies of 1991, it still deals with the same subject matter. Here, as in many other cases, Clark writes a book, and Simon and Schuster releases a certain it right around the time of a highly profiled case or highly popular subject matter. This technique is not new. Actually, it could be argued that Clark has made her career out of this technique. She released THE ANASTASIA SYNDROME during the most recent investigation into the life of Anna Anderson, who claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia. Her publisher, Simon and Schuster, has a knack of choosing just the right time to market certain Mary Higgins Clark books. The on-the-money marketing techniques can also be contributed to Clark's 35 million dollar, 7 year contract with Simon and Schuster for 6 books and a memoir. Because of her contract, Simon and Schuster can solicit a book from Clark whenever they want, and Clark must deliver. Gory books and movies were very popular in 1991. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS was seated at number 1 on the bestseller list for much of the first half of the year. The book dealt with a young female FBI agent on a manhunt for a serial killer. America seemed to be obsessed with the notion of mass murders. Blockbuster hits of the year included "Halloween", "Friday the Thirteenth", and "Nightmare on Elm Street", all of which had more than two sequels. "Fatal Attraction" and "Single White Female" are two other very popular violent murder mysteries that debuted in theaters shortly after Clark's book hit the bestseller list. Personal ads reflect the sign of the times, in an odd sort of way. 1990 is the decade of prosperity and technological progress. Ironically, with the new advances in computers and communication, people began to isolate themselves from their neighbors and the community. With no outlet for social activity, people, young and old alike, turned to another form of dating. Personal ad dating saw a saw a sharp increase in sales in the late 80's and early 90's. Expensive, but fairly anonymous, personal ads became attractive to busy singles in need of a Friday night date. One character in Clark's book calls personal ad dating "the social phenomenon of our society" (P 71). But there is a catch to this supposedly safe side to dating. The person whom you are meeting may not be the way he described himself in the personal ad. LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE deals directly with the latter situation. Clark's characters find themselves up against a lunatic serial killer in New York City who stalks young women he meets on personal ad dates. Needless to say, Clark did not need a muse to think up that plot. A crazy person in New York City is not a very unique story line. Something must have clicked with Clark's fans, however, because they loved this book. It was the longest running hardcover bestseller of 1991 under John Girsham's THE FIRM, spending a total of 22 weeks on the bestseller list. It debuted at number two on May 20, 1991, reaching the number one spot on July 1, 1991. The book last appeared on the bestseller list on October 14, 1991 at position thirteen. It averaged a 4.1 spot during its lifetime on the list (WorldCat). Although not critically acclaimed, LOVES MUSIC, LOVES TO DANCE was a hit. Other entries in the database for Mary Higgins Clark all have a very interesting similarity: the professional reviews do not rave over the books. They simply say that Clark's characters are strong and the book is suspenseful. They never once mention the importance of the social issue she confronted in the book. They contend that Clark has neither beautiful nor complicated prose, but simply writes a book that is easy to read while on vacation. I looked at many other reviews on Clark's books. Almost all came to the same conclusion as did the reviews in the other databases. So, if most of the people who review Clark's books, whether the books are from early-on in her career or are the most recent, say basically the same thing, the subjects of the books must not be vitally important. Clark is known for they style of her books rather than the issues confronted in them. Neither Clark nor Simon and Schuster are ignorant of the social craze of the time, and certainly cash in on it. Still, though put in a modern setting with current social issues, Clark's books will probably entertain her fans of the next generation in the same way they entertain her fans today. Clark hit a gold mine when she created her formula, and she will probably keep on spitting out her books in the same fashion until she doesn't want to do it anymore.
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