Oline Cogdill

For more than four decades, Mary Higgins Clark’s standalone novels have been a mainstay of best sellers lists.

For the past decade, Alafair Burke has proven to be a skillful writer, creating both series and standalone novels with involving plots and believable characters who readers care about.

Both authors have amassed a solid following and their readers often overlap.

Now readers will have both authors in one book.

Clark and Burke will collaborative on one novel.

The Cinderella Murder will be published in November and feature characters Clark introduced in her most recent No. 1 New York Times bestseller, I’ve Got You Under My Skin.

The Cinderella Murder will be the first collaboration novel Clark has written with an outside author, and the first time she has undertaken a continuing series.

The deal for The Cinderella Murder was announced jointly by Jonathan Karp, president and publisher of Simon & Schuster; Marysue Rucci, vice president and editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster; and Louise Burke, president and publisher of Pocket Books.

This collaboration has been a well-known secret for a few months as it has been posted for advance buys on several online retail sites.

Needless to say, the publishers are excited about this venture, which I think will attract a lot of readers.

“This suspenseful collaboration is going to produce a lot of sleep-deprived readers,” said Karp in the press release.

Added Rucci in the same release: “Mary Higgins Clark’s astonishing talent and popularity are bar none. We’ve long wished we could clone her! This exciting collaboration with the wonderfully talented Alafair Burke is the next best thing.”

The Cinderella Murder
will continue the story of television producer Laurie Moran’s investigations into cold case murders. Laurie’s show investigates the decades-old murder of a beautiful UCLA student whose body was found in the Hollywood Hills missing a shoe. The murder was dubbed the “Cinderella Case” by the press.

This sounds like the kind of story that both Clark and Burke handle well. Both authors imbue their novels with believable suspense.

“I'm so honored to be working with Mary Higgins Clark, whom I've admired both personally and professionally for years. Watching her at work is like a master class,” said Burke in an email to Mystery Scene.

“She [Clark] really does have a way of putting suspense on every single page. Hopefully I can take those lessons back to my own work,” added Burke in the same email.

Both authors will continue to write their own novels, in addition to this collaboration.

Clark’s first novel, Where Are The Children?, was published in 1975 by Simon & Schuster in 1975. Since then, she has published 46 books, 33 of which are suspense novels. She coauthored five holiday mysteries with her daughter Carol Higgins Clark. Her books have appeared 20 times in the No. 1 slot on the New York Times and have sold more than 100 million copies in the United States alone.

Burke’s 10 bestselling novels include If You Were Here and most recently, All Day and a Night, the fifth in her Ellie Hatcher series. Her Samantha Kincaid series is set in the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office, (Portland, Ore.) where Burke worked in the 1990s. Her other series features NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher.

Her novels often draw on real-world crimes and are known for their authentic plots. Burke also is a former prosecutor who currently teaches criminal law at Hofstra University in New York.

Photos: Top: Mary Higgins Clark; second photo, Alafair Burke