To commemorate the 70-year anniversary of the Mystery Writers of America organization, Mary Higgins Clark headed a project to compile short stories from the most famous writers in the U.S. The result is "Manhattan Mayhem," a collection of mysteries set on the island of Manhattan.
These stories span the breadth of the Big Apple, each featuring a different part of New York City such as Central Park, Union Square and Greenwich Village. They also explore different decades, with some set during post-World War II era, the 1970s and the present day.
Clark is the first author featured in the book with "The Five Dollar Dress," a story set in the present day around Union Square. In this story, a young woman named Jenny cleans out her grandmother's hope chest and discovers secrets that were almost buried with the dead.
It then moves to Central Park, with a thrilling and disturbing short story called "White Rabbit," by Julie Hyzy. This gripping tale features a young woman who spends time in the park, reminiscing about a loved one but is then distracted by a charming young man who wants to help her let go of the past.
Other stories include bucket lists that become deadly, Jack the Ripper happening upon a curious crime scene and many family disputes where the instigator is one of the least suspecting characters.
Each short story is cohesive and surprising, with plot twists that are usually revealed in the last sentences. Each story also exposes the reader to each of the 17 authors' unique writing styles.
The stories include violence, with graphic descriptions of murder, violence, and crime scenes, with mentions and minimal descriptions of incest, rape and sex. There is mild language.