Illiteracy is a natural topic for suspense. And what an honor that the judges from Mystery Writers of America determined Fear of Beauty's protagonist, a woman in rural Afghanistan who is desperate to learn how to read, meets the MHC Award qualifications: an independent young woman whose life is disrupted and she must solve her problems with independence and courage.
Mary Higgins Clark is the best-selling author of 42 books, a legend whose work and life story have inspired many readers to try their hands at writing. Stories like Where Are the Children? and A Stranger Is Watching terrify yet steadfastly resist violence.
"Here are some things you'll never find in a Mary Higgins Clark novel: an unmarried couple living together, a curse word, a body hacked to pieces. By today's standards, Ms. Clark's thrillers are quaint throwbacks, more in the Agatha Christie mold than the blood-curdling, titillating fare." So goes the lead to a profile of Mary Higgins Clark, "The Case of the Best-Selling Author," by Alexandra Alter for the Wall Street Journal. "Yet Ms. Clark—who at 83 still churns out at least one book a year—remains as lucrative a brand as ever."
And much thanks to Diana Belchase for her interview "Afghanistan, Women, Illiteracy, and Murder." She writes: "Susan’s books are full of current issues and vibrant people whose struggles and passion for life and justice keep you turning pages. Her background as a journalist mixes with her literary talent to bring factual stories that both break your heart and exemplify the ability of people to endure and succeed in the most dire circumstances."
Photo of Diana Belchase and Susan Froetschel, courtesy of Diana; photo of Mary Higgins Clark in 2012, courtesy of Alvintrusty and Wikimedia Commons.