Like her 1995 bestseller Silent Night, Mary Higgins Clark’s All Through the Night is a mystery for the Christmas season. Both novels feature a child in a pivotal role, since threats to children are deemed particularly ugly in December.
All Through the Night opens on a cold December night as a young woman leaves her newborn baby in a secondhand stroller on St. Clement’s rectory steps just as a man inside empties the offering boxes and grabs a precious chalice, setting off the alarm system.
Seven years later, the woman, who has always regretted abandoning her infant, comes to play a concert in Carnegie Hall just as the thief, who grabbed what he thought was an empty stroller to deflect suspicion, makes plans to take “his” daughter to provide cover for his lucrative drug delivery business.
Meanwhile, amateur sleuth Alvirah Meehan and husband, Willy, are trying to prevent an after-school program for poor kids from being closed and to keep their Kate Durbin from losing her home because of what they believe to be a fraudulent will.
There’s little story and less suspense in this novel, but it has snow and lights and a happy ending, which may be enough for Christmas.
If you want to know why The Daughter of Anderson Crow was a bestseller, look at B. Martin Justice’s illustrations.
If you want to know what’s wrong with the novel, look at Justice’s illustrations.
The Daughter of Anderson Crow by George Barr McCutcheon
B. Martin Justice, illus. Dodd, Mead 1907. 1907 bestseller #3. Project Gutenberg ebook #14818. My Grade: B-.
George Barr McCutcheon’s starts out writing a funny novel about Anderson Crow, Tinkletown marshal, fire chief, and street commissioner who is just smart enough to not let Tinkletown see how dumb he is.
That first part of the novel is illustrated with cartoonish line drawings as funny as McCutcheon’s text.
The second part of the story is about Rosalie Gray, who the Crows raised like a daughter after finding her in a basket on their doorstep one winter night.
Her parentage was a mystery that even self-proclaimed super-sleuth Anderson Crow couldn’t solve.
A note in the basket said the Crows would receive $1000 a year to raise the child.
No one around Tinkletown had that kind of money.
The illustrations for Rosalie’s life as a young woman are lush scenes, suited to the Gothic romance style McCutcheon adopts whenever he focuses on her.
Eventually McCutcheon gets Rosalie suitably married, and turns his attention back to Anderson Crow long enough to give readers one final laugh before the novel ends.