BFTA Review: Mary Higgins Clark – Before I Say Goodbye


Title: Before I Say Good-bye
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Simon & Schuster
Rating: 3.5/5
Read for: Queen of Suspense challenge

When Nell MacDermott learns that her husband, architect Adam Cauliff, and three of his business associates have died in an explosion of his new cabin cruiser, she is not only devastated but wracked with guilt. The last time she saw Adam, they had a bitter quarrel over her plan to run for the congressional seat long held by her grandfather; she had told him not to come home.
As the investigation into the boat’s explosion proceeds, Nell learns that it was not an accident but a bomb. Despite her skepticism, Nell is swayed by her great-aunt Gert, a believer in psychic powers, to see a medium claiming to be Adam’s channel.
While trying to unravel the threads of Adam’s past and his violent end, Nell consults the medium, who transmits messages to her with instructions from Adam. The story reaches a powerful climax in Nell’s final encounter with the medium, in which she learns the truth about the explosion–a truth she can’t be allowed to live to tell. (

I think mystery novels just aren’t for me. Very possibly, it’s just MHC books that aren’t for me; however, I’m determined to finish this challenge, so I’ll at least continue reading through that. Maybe my opinion will change.

I really enjoy the plot of this book. Who-dun-its are always fun to read. And I really, really loved the characters. In particular Nell, the main character, but also her great-aunt Gert. I even really liked Mac, a down-to-earth man who has no time for daydreaming. Nell really loves Mac, and she also loves Gert, and at times she feels torn between them.

The only character I really didn’t understand was Adam. Obviously, we don’t see a lot of Adam, with the exception of the fight between him and Nell at the beginning of the book (arguing over her desire to run for candidacy). We do, however, see a lot of him in flashbacks, especially from Nell. Nell loved Adam; she supported him when he decided to open his own office. She gave up a spot on the Senate for him. She stayed at home, writing an article for a newspaper instead of doing what she wanted.

Despite my love of the characters, I had a hard time relating to them. Don’t get me wrong; the characters were well-thought-out, and they seemed real, I just had difficult time saying, “I know what that feels like.” I don’t know what it feels like to run for Senate; I don’t know what it feels like to lose my parents at a young age. However, both of these are things that really make Nell who she is.

Dan was another character that caught my attention. He comes to New York to look for his mother, who abandoned him when he was young. Unbeknownst to him, Dan’s mother is tied in with Nell’s mystery. As he continues to look for his mother, he forms a relationship with Nell, and I was definitely rooting for him. He isn’t mentioned in much of the book at first, but as their stories overlap, he becomes more and more involved. There was something about him that I liked, I just can’t pinpoint exactly what that is.

Once again I was able to figure out who-dun-it before the book’s end. I’m waiting for the day when the culprit is a total surprise; until then, I will keep reading.

Originally posted 13 November 2010.


One thought on “BFTA Review: Mary Higgins Clark – Before I Say Goodbye

  1. Pingback: March 2013 Recap | Before Midnight

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