The Anastasia Syndrome and Other Stories
by Mary Higgins Clark
Book Review by Amy Coffin
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The Anastasia Syndrome and Other Stories is a collection of five stories by bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark. Though the stories are short, each one is packed with suspense. As a reader, I couldn't help but furiously turn the pages in an attempt to find the answers in the dramatic endings.

In The Anastasia Syndrome, Judith Chase is a historical author in London. Orphaned as a child in World War II, Judith takes time from her book writing to research her past. She consults a psychiatrist who specializes in past life regression and gives her more information than she bargains for. Suddenly, a woman matching Judith's appearance and clothing description begins placing bombs in historical locations throughout London. Judith claims to know nothing. Did Judith place the bombs? Does she play a role in English history through a past life? Can these questions be solved before the mystery bomber kills again? Find all of the answers when you read The Anastasia Syndrome.

The short story Terror Stalks the Class Reunion is appropriately self-titled. Denny Rubel has returned to the high school reunion to kidnap Kay Crandell. Can the authorities reach Kay before it is too late?

In Lucky Day Bill Regan calls Nora Barton. He says he's coming over to tell her about his lucky day. Then, Bill turns up dead and a possible lottery ticket in his possession turns up missing. Did Bill win the lottery? Was he killed for it?

Double Vision tells the story of one murdered twin speaking from the grave to prevent her sister from becoming the second victim.

The Lost Angel is the last story in the book. Four year-old Jamie was kidnapped by her father, Jeff, seven months ago. When Jeff is arrested, his girlfriend abandons Jamie in New York City on Christmas Eve. Will Jamie be found before she is harmed?

The Anastasia Syndrome and Other Stories is not a well-known book by Mary Higgins Clark. I have never seen a copy in a book store or library. I found my copy in the basement cave of a used book store.

In the spectrum of Ms. Clark's books, this is a pretty good one. The stories are short and get right to the suspenseful point. There is no time for the usual fluff that comes with many of the author's works. I was grateful to be spared of the "beautiful, successful heroine who has it all" nonsense that is the theme of many of today's books including some of Ms. Clark's.

The first story, The Anastasia Syndrome takes up half of the book. The story contains a very heavy dose of fantasy in the past lives and English history. These elements are not my cup of tea. If you're into fantasy and romance, though, this story is right up your alley.

Terror Stalks the Class Reunion and Double Vision are classic Mary Higgins Clark stories. You know the equation: Pretty Girl + Successful Life + Hunky Love Interest + Suspense = A Popular Story.

Lucky Day was my favorite story. I have already described the premise, so I'll just tell you that the ending was quite clever.

I didn't care for the final story, The Lost Angel. I felt Ms. Clark was trying to tug at my heart strings and I didn't feel like playing the game. Huge fans of this author would probably like the story, though.

Overall, I thought The Anastasia Syndrome and Other Stories was an ok read. It is a perfect book for vacation reading. If you are a big fan of Mary Higgins Clark's work, then I very much recommend this book. If not, don't break your back trying to find this lesser known Clark book, when any other could take its place.

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Other titles of interest:

Before I Say Goodbye

A Stranger is Watching

Where are the Children?

If you like Clark, you might enjoy Sandra Brown:
Envy
The Switch