We'll Meet Again, p.1Mary Higgins Clark
Praise for the Queen of Suspense
MARY HIGGINS CLARK
WE’LL MEET AGAIN
“Everyone knows about the monster in the closet and the bogeyman under the bed, but Mary Higgins Clark is shrewd enough to spot another universal fear—that our doctors are quacks and our hospitals are death mills.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“The bestselling author returns with a knuckle-biting mystery about murder, suicide, revenge, and other low deeds among the swells of Greenwich, Connecticut.”
“Mary Higgins Clark does not traffic in mundane murders. Her victims tend to be dispatched with imagination and dramatic flair . . . the author may surprise even those who fancy themselves amateur sleuths.”
“Mary Higgins Clark is one of those rare novelists whose books get better with each passing year. She is already one of the most beloved mystery writers of our generation and as such could coast along turning out pale imitations of her past hits. But not our Mary; she has to keep being more inventive and more entertaining with each new story she creates. Her latest is WE’LL MEET AGAIN and it is one of her best. . . . Find a comfortable chair and dive in. You owe yourself this pleasure.”
—The Daily Sun (Perry, GA)
“WE’LL MEET AGAIN speeds along at an enjoyable breakneck pace . . . .”
—Roanoke Times (VA)
“Another page-turner . . . .”
—The Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN)
“This is Mary Higgins Clark at her finest and her millions of fans will love it.”
—Arvada Community News (Denver)
“A fast, fun read. . . . You’ll be reading late into the night as you have with previous Mary Higgins Clark bestsellers.”
—The Florida Times-Union
“When it comes to suspense, there’s no writer today more capable of keeping the reader completely absorbed than Mary Higgins Clark. She does it again in WE’LL MEET AGAIN.”
—Abilene Reporter-News (TX)
“Clark is a longtime master of suspense. . . . As with all Mary Higgins Clark books, the action is fast-paced, starting with the first page. . . . An engaging plot . . . filled with the ingredients Clark’s fans have come to love.”
—The Indianapolis Star
Books by Mary Higgins Clark
We’ll Meet Again
All Through the Night
You Belong to Me
Pretend You Don’t See Her
My Gal Sunday
Moonlight Becomes You
Let Me Call You Sweetheart
The Lottery Winner
I’ll Be Seeing You
All Around the Town
Loves Music, Loves to Dance
The Anastasia Syndrome and Other Stories
While My Pretty One Sleeps
Weep No More, My Lady
A Cry in the Night
The Cradle Will Fall
A Stranger Is Watching
Where Are the Children?
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My firstborn child
“Once upon a time” is the way most of us start to tell a story. It is the beginning of a journey. We seek out the people who have begun to form in our minds. We examine their problems. We tell their tales. And we need all the help we can get along the way.
May the stars shine brightly on my editors, Michael Korda and Chuck Adams, for their unfailing guidance, editing, and encouragement. They are the best. One hundred thousand thanks, guys.
Copy Supervisor Gypsy da Silva, copy editor Carol Catt, proofreader Barbara Raynor, assistants Carol Bowie and Rebecca Head continue to surpass themselves in their generosity of time and concern. Bless You and Thank You.
A grateful tribute to my publicist, Lisl Cade, always my loyal friend, rooter, and sounding board.
Kudos and gratitude to my agents, Gene Winick and Sam Pinkus, for their sound advice and encouragement.
Profound thanks to my friends who so generously shared their medical, legal, and technical expertise with me: psychiatrist Dr. Richard Roukema, psychologist Dr. Ina Winick, plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Bennett Rothenberg, criminal attorney Mickey Sherman, writers Lindy Washburn and Judith Kelman, producer Leigh Ann Winick.
Merci and Grazie to my family for all the help and rooting along the way: the Clarks, Marilyn, Warren and Sharon, David, Carol, and Pat; the Conheeneys, John and Debby, Barbara, Trish, Nancy and David. A tip of the hat to my work-in-progress reading friends, Agnes Newton, Irene Clark, and Nadine Petry.
And of course love and bouquets to “Himself,” my husband,
Now once again to joyfully quote my fifteenth-century monk, “The book is finished. Let the writer play.”
The State of Connecticut will prove that Molly Carpenter Lasch, with the intent to cause the death of her husband, Dr. Gary Lasch, did in fact cause his death; that as he sat at his desk, his back to her, she shattered his skull with a heavy bronze sculpture; that she then left him to bleed to death as she went upstairs to their bedroom and fell asleep . . . .
The reporters seated behind the defendant scribbled furiously, roughing out the articles they would have to file in just a couple of hours if they were to meet their deadlines. The veteran columnist from Women’s News Weekly began inking her usual gushing prose: “The trial of Molly Carpenter Lasch, charged with the murder of her husband, Gary, opened this morning in the mellow dignity of the courtroom in historic Stamford, Connecticut.”
Media from all over the country were covering the trial. The New York Post reporter was jotting down a description of Molly’s appearance, noting in particular how she had dressed for her first day in court. What a knockout, he thought, a remarkable blend of classy and gorgeous. It was not a combination that he often saw—especially at the defense table. He noticed how she sat, tall, almost regal. No doubt some would say “defiant.” He knew she was twenty-six. He could see that she was slender. Had collar-length, dark blond hair. That she wore a blue suit and small gold earrings. He craned his neck until he could see that she was still wearing her wedding band. He made note of it.
As he watched, Molly Lasch turned and looked around the courtroom as though searching for familiar faces. For a moment their eyes met, and he noted that hers were blue; and her lashes, long and dark.
The Observer reporter was writing down his impressions of the defendant and the proceedings. Since his paper was a weekly, he could take more time in actually composing his article. “Molly Carpenter Lasch would look more at home in a country club than in a courtroom,” he wrote. He glanced across the aisle at Gary Lasch’s family.
Molly’s mother-in-law, the widow of the legendary Dr. Jonathan Lasch, was sitting with her sister and brother. A thin woman in her sixties, she had an expression that was stony and unforgiving. Clearly, if given the chance, she’d gladly plunge the needle with the lethal dose into Molly, the Observer reporter thought.
He turned and peered around. Molly’s parents, a handsome couple in their late fifties, looked strained, anxious, and heartsick. He noted those words on his pad.
At 10:30 the defense began its opening statement.
“The Prosecutor has just told you that he will prove Molly Lasch guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Ladies and Gentlemen, I submit to you that the evidence will show that Molly Lasch is not a murderer. She is, in fact, as much a victim of this terrible tragedy as was her husband.
“When you have heard all of the evidence in this case, you will conclude that Molly Carpenter Lasch returned on Sunday evening last April 8th, shortly after 8 P.M., from a week in her Cape Cod home; that she found her husband, Gary, sprawled over his desk; that she put her mouth to his to try to resuscitate him, heard his final gasps, then, realizing he was dead, went upstairs and, totally traumatized, fell unconscious on the bed.
Quiet and attentive, Molly sat at the defense table. They’re only words, she thought, they can’t hurt me. She was aware of the eyes on her, curious and judgmental. Some of the people she had known best and longest had come up to her in the corridor, kissing her cheek, squeezing her hand. Jenna Whitehall, her best friend since their high school years at Cranden Academy, was one of them. Jenna was a corporate lawyer now. Her husband, Cal, was chairman of the board of Lasch Hospital and of the HMO Gary had founded with Dr. Peter Black.
They’ve both been wonderful, Molly thought. Needing to get away from everything, she had sometimes stayed with Jen in New York during the past months, and it had helped tremendously. Jenna and Cal still lived in Greenwich, but during the week, Jenna frequently overnighted at a Manhattan apartment they kept near U.N. Plaza.
Molly had seen Peter Black in the corridor as well. Dr. Peter Black—he always had been so pleasant to her, but like Gary’s mother, he ignored her now. The friendship between him and Gary dated from their days in medical school. Molly wondered if Peter would be able to fill Gary’s shoes as head of the hospital and the HMO. Shortly after Gary’s death, he’d been elected by the board to take over as chief executive officer, with Cal Whitehall as chairman.
She sat numbly as the trial actually began. The prosecutor began calling witnesses. As they came and went, they seemed to Molly to be just blurred faces and voices. Then Edna Barry, the plump sixty-year-old woman who had been their part-time housekeeper, was on the stand. “I came in at eight o’clock on Monday morning, as usual,” she stated.
“Monday morning, April 9th?”
“How long had you been working for Gary and Molly Lasch?”
“Four years. But I’d worked for Molly’s mother from the time Molly was a little girl. She was always so gentle.”
Molly caught the sympathetic look Mrs. Barry cast toward her. She doesn’t want to hurt me, she thought, but she’s going to tell how she found me, and she knows how it will sound.
“I was surprised because the lights were on inside the house,” Mrs. Barry was saying. “Molly’s suitcase was in the foyer, so I knew she was back from the Cape.”
“Mrs. Barry, please describe the layout of the first floor of the house.”
“The foyer is large—it’s really more of a reception area. When they had large parties they would serve cocktails there before dinner. The living room is directly beyond the foyer and faces the front door. The dining room is to the left, down a wide hallway and past a service bar. The kitchen and family room are in that wing as well, while the library and Dr. Lasch’s study are in the wing to the right of the entrance.”
I got home early, Molly thought. There hadn’t been much traffic on I-95, and I was earlier than I’d expected to be. I only had one bag with me, and I brought it in and put it down. Then I locked the door and called Gary’s name. I went directly to the study to look for him.
“I went into the kitchen,” Mrs. Barry told the prosecutor. “There were wine glasses and a tray of leftover cheese and crackers on the counter.”
“Was there anything unusual about that?”
“Yes. Molly always tidied up when they had company.”
“What about Dr. Lasch?” the prosecutor asked. Edna Barry smiled indulgently. “Well, you know men. He wasn’t much for picking up after himself.” She paused and frowned. “But that was when I knew something was wrong. I thought that Molly must have come and gone.”
“Why would she have done that?”
Molly saw the hesitance in Mrs. Barry’s face as once again she looked over at her. Mother was always a little annoyed that Mrs. Barry called me Molly and I called her Mrs. Barry. But I didn’t care, she thought. She’s known me since I was a child.
“Molly hadn’t been home when I went in on Friday. The Monday before that, while I was there, she’d left for the Cape. She seemed terribly upset.”
The question came quickly and abruptly. Molly was aware of the hostility the prosecutor felt for her, but for some reason it didn’t worry her.
“She was crying as she packed her bag, and I could see that she was very angry. Molly’s an easygoing person. It takes a lot to ruffle her. In all the years I’d worked there, I’d never once seen her so upset. She kept saying, ‘How could he? How could he?’ I asked her if there was anything I could do.”
“What did she say?”
“She said, ‘You can kill my husband.’ ”
“ ‘You can kill my husband!’ ”
“I knew she didn’t mean it. I just thought they’d probably had an argument, and I figured she was leaving for the Cape to cool down.”
“Well, Molly likes the Cape; says she can clear her head there. But this was different—I’d never seen her leave like this, so upset.” She looked at Molly, sympathy in her eyes.
“All right, Mrs. Barry, let’s go back to that Monday morning, April 9th. What did you do after you’d seen the condition of the kitchen?”
“I went to see if Dr. Lasch was in the study. The door was closed. I knocked, and there was no answer. I turned the knob and noticed it felt sticky. Then I pushed open the door and saw him.” Edna Barry’s voice quivered. “He was slumped over in his chair at the desk. His head was caked with dried blood. There was blood all over him and the desk and the chair and the carpet. I knew right away he was dead.”
Listening to the housekeeper’s testimony, Molly thought back to that Sunday night. I came home, let myself in, locked the front door, and went down to the study. I was sure Gary would be there. The door was closed. I opened it. . . . I don’t remember what happened after that.
“What did you do then, Mrs. Barry?” the prosecutor asked.
“I dialed 9-1-1 right away. Then I thought about Molly, that maybe she was hurt. I ran upstairs to her bedroom. When I saw her in there, on the bed, I thought she was dead too.”
“Why did you think that?”
“Because her face was crusted with blood. But then she opened her eyes and smiled and said, ‘Hi, Mrs. Barry, I guess I overslept.’ ”
I looked up, Molly thought as she sat at the defense table, and then realized I still had my clothes on. For a moment I thought I’d been in an accident. My clothes were soiled, and my hands felt all sticky. I felt groggy and disoriented and wondered if maybe I was in a hospital instead of my own room. I remember wondering if Gary had been hurt too. Then there was a pounding at the door downstairs, and the police were there.
All about her, people were talking, but the voices of the witnesses were blurring again. Molly was vaguely aware of the days of the trial passing, of going in and out of the courtroom, of watching people coming and going on the witness stand.
She heard Cal and Peter Black and then Jenna testify. Cal and Peter told how on Sunday afternoon they had called Gary and said they were coming over, that they knew something was wrong.
We'll Meet Again by Mary Higgins Clark / Mystery & Detective / History & Fiction / Thrillers & Crime have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes