Moonlight Becomes You - Mary Higgins Clark After the terrible, terrible experience I had with Eleventh Hour (overall assessment: don't read that book even if you are forced to), I had to come back with a decent mystery. I had read Where Are the Children? by Mary Higgins Clark a while back and greatly enjoyed it so figured this one would redeem the genre.

Plot:
Maggie Holloway is a successful photographer in New York. She reunites with her beloved step-mother, Nuala Moore, at a family reunion and is invited to spend two weeks with her step-mom in Newport, Rhode Island. However, just as Maggie comes, Nuala is murdered. As Maggie settles into Nuala's home, she begins to realize that maybe the murder wasn't random and that maybe it was connected to the death of Greta Shipley, one of Nuala's friends living at a retirement center, Latham Manor.

Good:
Mary Higgins Clark writes and writes well. In Eleventh Hour, there were so many writing issues--missing transitions, juvenile writing--that are pleasantly absent in Mary Higgins Clark's writing. Her characters are real and not cardboard cutouts. The dialogue they speak makes sense given their personality, education, background, etc. She describes the surroundings well and knowledgeably (particularly when relating to the eccentric professor, Earl Bateman, and his monologues about death and its rituals).
Further, Moonlight Becomes You begins with an absolutely heart-stopping foreshadowing. I cannot see how anyone could read that beginning and not want to continue reading. I was a little hesitant about a mystery, but after that beginning, I was hooked. The middle was kinda slow (see below), but took off after the 250 page point and didn't stop until the very end. And the end--wow! I had predicted who one of the perpetrators was but the other was a complete surprise.
My favorite character is a tie between Neil and Earl. It was sweet to see how Neil liked Maggie and tried hard to find where she went on vacation. Then, to see Neil and his father hunt for Maggie--it was great and completely genuine. Also, I loved the relationship he had with his parents. And Earl Bateman was so different from the average man. His obsession--death--may seem odd (as every character mentions in the book), but is it that much different from people who are obsessed with video games? Comic books? Trading cards? Food? Cars? (You get the point.)

Bad:
Overall, a good book, but I still have a few complaints:
1. Slow plot. After the heart-racing beginning, it takes almost 2/3 of the book before the mystery really advances (of course, when it does, it is *awesome*!). In the meantime, we have two people get murdered and a woman who continually is too tired to investigate the things she comes across until the very end. I mean, if I heard something fall on the floor, I would hunt around until I find it not go "Oh, well, I'll get that later". Or when I find dirt in a pocket, not say, "Hmmm, better leave it there". Had Maggie been half as curious as she becomes in the end at this time, the book would have lost about 100 senseless pages that don't really go anywhere other than elaborate what the reader already knows (that someone is scamming people out of money, Latham Manor is creepy, the enormous cast, etc.).
2. Maggie Holloway. Our heroine is great, but not that awesome. She is rather stoic (somewhat understandable to others as she lost a spouse, but to the reader?) and icy. I don't see why she gets so chummy so quickly to Greta Shipley or to Laura Bainbrigde. I have no clue why Greta takes such a shine to an aloof, somewhat pleasant (when in social situations) woman. I mean, Greta meets Maggie twice and says, "I can see why Nuala was so excited to see you again". I just wished Clark would have told the audience how Greta knew this after two meetings. I see nothing particularly out of the ordinary about this woman. She got better at the end, but I really didn't care much about her at all.
3. Too many characters. While it is kinda neat to do the whole Murder on the Orient Express thing, I think that the number of viewpoints should have been halved. It is too hard to balance all that is going on and to bebop from Maggie to Greta, to Douglas to Janice to Dr. Lane to Neil to Neil's dad to Malcolm... I liked thinking, as I read the viewpoints, "Now, who is the bad guy?" but did Clark have to have almost a dozen different character viewpoints?

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
Very extremely minor (one or two d*** and other crass words). I didn't perceive anything sexual in nature (other than a mention that Odile Lane, Dr. Lane's wife, had a boyfriend). Violence includes a woman bludgeoned to death and five women dying in their sleep. A woman is buried alive.

Overall:
Much better than Eleventh Hour but too slow. It takes too long to get to the mystery part, and there are too many characters. Also, the heroine was rather shallow, making it hard for me to be that invested in her. Probably a 3.5 stars, but since I can't give half stars, I'll be kind and round up to 4.