cover image Death Wears a Beauty Mask and Other Stories

Death Wears a Beauty Mask and Other Stories

Mary Higgins Clark, read by Jan Maxwell and Robert Petkoff. S&S Audio, , unabridged, 8 CDs, 9.5 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-8706-5

Tony Award–nominated actress Maxwell, the narrator of many of bestseller Clark’s audiobooks, reads the author’s informative introduction and seven of the eight short stories in this collection, as well as the title novella. All of the shorts are entertaining and well performed, but a few of them stand out. In “Stowaway,” first published in 1958, a stewardess on a flight from an occupied (and only vaguely identified) country hides a young member of the underground from a brutal police commissioner, and Maxwell presents her with a teeth-clenched, nerves-of-steel delivery while portraying the commissioner, in all his unpleasantness, with a snarling Russian accent. “A Crime of Passion” features former U.S. president Henry Parker Britland IV and his wife, Sandra, who give off a Nick and Nora vibe as they try to defend his secretary of state from a murder charge. As for the one entry not read by Maxwell, “The Tell-Tale Purr” is a goof on the famous Poe short story. Petkoff does a splendid job of giving voice to the effete, homicidal narrator, but the story and its final joke are about as thin as, well, a cat’s whisker. [em]A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (Apr.) [/em]