Mary Higgins Clark is known as the “Queen of Suspense” for a reason, and for the first time, she’s teaming up with bestselling author Alafair Burke to deliver a thrilling new suspense series guaranteed to keep you guessing until the last page!

Television producer Laurie Moran is has found the ideal case to feature in the next episode of her cold-case television program, Under Suspicion: the Cinderella Murder. When Susan Dempsey, a beautiful and multi-talented UCLA student, was found dead, her murder raised numerous questions, including the most puzzling of all: why was Susan missing one of her shoes when her body was discovered? With the help of lawyer and Under Suspicion host Alex Buckley, Laurie knows the case will attract great ratings. The suspense and drama are perfect for the silver screen—but is Cinderella’s murderer ready for a close-up? Keep reading for an excerpt and pick up a copy of the mass market edition of The Cinderella Murder, available tomorrow from Pocket Books!


Forty-five minutes later, just as Rosemary was expecting Jack to walk in the door, the phone rang. It was Susan.

“Mom, I had to work up the courage to tell you. I can’t get home tonight.”

“Oh, Susan, Dad will be so disappointed!”

Susan’s voice, young and eager, almost breathless, said, “I didn’t call before because I didn’t know for sure. Mom, Frank Parker is going to meet me tonight, about maybe being cast in his new movie.” Her voice calmed a little. “Mom, remember when I was in Home Before Dark, just before Christmas?”

“How could I forget?” Rosemary and Jack had flown to Los Angeles to watch the campus play from the third row. “You were wonderful.”

Susan laughed. “But you’re my mother. Why wouldn’t you say that? Anyhow, remember the casting agent, Edwin Lange, who said he’d sign me?”

“Yes, and you never heard from him again.”

“But I did. He said Frank Parker saw my audition tape. Edwin taped the performance and showed it to Frank Parker. He said that Parker was blown away and is considering me for the lead in a movie

he’s casting. It’s a movie set on a campus and he wants to find college students to be in it. He wants me to meet him. Mom, can you believe it? I don’t want to jinx myself, but I feel so lucky. It’s like it’s too good to be true. Can you believe that I might get a role, maybe even the lead role?”

“Calm down before you have a heart attack,” Rosemary cautioned, “and then you won’t get any role.” Rosemary smiled and pictured her daughter, energy exuding from every bone in her body, twisting her fingers through her long blond hair, those wonderful blue eyes shining.

The semester’s almost over, she thought. If she did get a part in this movie, it would be a great experience. “Dad will certainly understand, Susan, but be sure to call him back.”

“I’ll try, but, Mom, I’m meeting Edwin in five minutes to go over the tape with him and rehearse, because he says Frank Parker will want me to read for him. I don’t know how late it will be. You’ll be having the party, and you’ll never hear the phone. Why don’t I call Dad in the morning?”

“That might not be a bad idea. The party is from six to ten, but most people linger on.”

“Give him a birthday kiss for me.”

“I will. Knock that director off his feet.”

“I’ll try.”

“Love you, sweetheart.”

“Love you, Mom.”

Rosemary had never become used to the sudden silence that followed when a cell phone disconnected.

When the phone rang the next morning, Jack popped up from reading the newspaper. “There’s our girl, bright and early by a college student’s standards for a Sunday.”

But the caller wasn’t Susan. It was the Los Angeles Police Department. They had difficult news. A young woman had been found just before dawn in Laurel Canyon Park. She appeared to have been strangled. They didn’t want to alarm them unnecessarily, but their daughter’s driver’s license had been retrieved from a purse found fifteen yards from the body. A mobile phone was clutched in her hand and the last number dialed was theirs.