The Cinderella Murder
Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke
Simon & Schuster, Nov 18 2014, $26.99
Two decades ago, UCLA student Susan Dempsey skipped her father’s sixtieth birthday bash to audition for a role in director Frank Parker’s production. She was found strangled to death near the director’s home. Because a shoe had fallen off the victim, the media dubbed this The Cinderella Murder.
In the present, Under Suspicion TV producer Laurie Moran wants to do a recreation show on the cold case. Susan’s still grieving mom Rosemary agrees as she sees this as an opportunity for her daughter Susan to become known as a victimized person rather than a fairy tale in which everyone has ignored that the ogre won. No one else from Susan’s inner circle including her then boyfriend actor Keith Ratner, her college roommates (Madison Meyer and Nicole Melling) or her close friend Dwight Cook want to participate; though their motive for avoidance may have to do with their present elite stature rather than guilt. In spite of a persistent refusal to help from those who knew Susan; Laurie and show attorney Alex Buckley continue their inquiries.
The latest (and first collaboration with Alafair Burke) Under Suspicion (see I’ve Got You Under My Skin) is a thrilling cold case whodunit as the TV protagonists investigate what happened twenty years ago, but with practically no cooperation from the victim’s friends. As readers will try to guess whose lead character seemingly represents which of the two authors, The Cinderella Murders is a super mystery.