Topping her bestselling success with Alvirah and Willy, in The Lottery Winner,America's Queen of Suspense introduces a new sleuthing couple , Henry and Sunday, an ex-president and his young congresswoman bride. Henry Parker Britland IV is wealthy and worldly -- a beloved former president who, still youthful, is enjoying early retirement. His new wife, Sunday, is beautiful, smart and seventeen years younger than he, and has just been elected to Congress in a stunning upset victory that has made her the darling of the media. Henry and Sunday make a formidable team of sleuths -- and never more so than when they set out to solve crimes occurring among their friends in political high society. When Henry's former secretary of state is indicted for the murder of his mistress, Henry and Sunday suspect he is taking the fall for a crime of passion he did not commit. With cases ranging from a crime on the presidential yacht to a kidnapping that brings Henry back to the White House as he races against time to unravel the plot, there is never a dull moment for the ex-president and his bride -- or the reader. With her wit and gift for characterization, the creator of the popular Alvirah and Willy stories brings us another marvelously endearing sleuthing duo, destined to return again and again
An appealing husband-and-wife sleuthing team are the stars of the four stories in Clark's new collection. Her protagonists are Henry Parker Britland IV, the 44-year-old former president of the U.S., and his recent bride, plucky congresswoman Sandra ("Sunday'') O'Brien Britland. Debonair, wealthy Henry and smart-as-a-whip Sunday enjoy their estates in New Jersey, Florida, the Bahamas and Provence, and other perks of Henry's patrician background, such as a private jet and an elegant yacht. But they keep getting embroiled in dicey situations. The best entry, "They All Ran After the President's Wife,'' features two genuinely eccentric and creepy evildoers and a kidnapped Sunday in peril. Although nicely set up and suspenseful, it suffers from a rushed denouement. A pleasant diversion, "Hail, Columbia,'' takes place aboard the Britlands' yacht, from which the prime minister of Costa Barria had disappeared 32 years earlier after having given the then 12-year-old Henry an envelope, which has also vanished--until clever Sunday finds the missing link. A kidnapper from the wrong side of the tracks who improbably speaks fluent French is the drawback to credibility in "Merry Christmas/Joyeux Noel,'' and the lead entry, "A Crime of Passion,'' is a clunky no-brainer. But Clark uses every occasion to celebrate her gorgeous newlyweds' delirious happiness and misses no opportunity to cater to those readers who favor a little romance with their mild suspense. 800,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection.