Title: Daddy’s Little Girl
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Simon & Schuster
Read for: Queen of Suspense Challenge
Ellie Cavanaugh was only seven years old when her fifteen-year-old sister, Andrea, was murdered near their home in Oldham-on-the-Hudson, a rural village in New York’s Westchester County. There were three suspects: Rob Westerfield, nineteen-year-old scion of a wealthy, prominent family, whom Andrea has been secretly dating; Paul Stroebel, a sixteen-year-old schoolmate, who had a crush on Andrea; and Will Nebels, a local handyman in his forties.
It was Ellie who had led her parents to a hideout in which Andrea’s body was found–a secret hideaway in which she met her friends. And it was Ellie who was blamed by her parents for her sister’s death for not telling them about this place the night Andrea was missing. It was also Ellie’s testimony that led to the conviction of the man she was firmly convinced was the killer. Steadfastly denying his guilt, he spent the next twenty-two years in prison.
When he comes up for parole, Ellie, now an investigative reporter for an Atlanta newspaper, protests his release. Nonetheless, the convicted killer is set free and returns to Oldham. Determined to thwart his attempts to whitewash his reputation, Ellie also returns to Oldham, intent on creating a Website and writing a book that will conclusively prove his guilt. As she delves deeper into her research, however, she uncovers horrifying and heretofore unknown facts that shed new light on her sister’s murder. With each discovery, she comes closer to a confrontation with a desperate killer. (goodreads.com)
This is the first mystery I’ve read that was told from the first person point of view, and I must say that it worked. Ellie comes across as a real person, and someone who knows her job very well, and is also very good at it.
I really adored her sincere protection of Paulie, but at times I wondered how often she was willing to put her own life on the line to “get the story” (in this case, keep her sister’s killer behind bars). With every entry she put up on her Website, she made herself a bigger target, especially for a desperate killer. While I thought she was good at piecing together facts, I wondered how much she took into account the risk she was really taking.
I also didn’t like her reaction to her father, then later, her half-brother. She constantly referred to her father as “your father” when talking to her brother, Teddy, and her cold reaction to him turned me off a little, too. After all, it wasn’t Teddy’s fault that her parents split, and although he was the result of her father re-marrying, Teddy didn’t ask to be thrown into the middle of the drama. He just wanted to be friends.
While reading the book, especially towards the beginning, my decision wavered on who had really done it, but the further along I read, the more I began to agree that Ellie was right. Overall, I really liked the book, despite my dislike of Ellie at times. Reading a mystery in first person POV was a different experience, and I’d love to read more like it.
Originally posted 23 January 2011.