A Summary of the Book "Loves Music, Loves to Dance"

by Valerie Taylor
Clark's novel was adapted to film in 2003.

Clark's novel was adapted to film in 2003.

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark published "Loves Music, Loves to Dance" in 1993. The novel is based on two young, beautiful and successful young women living in New York. Darcy Scott and Erin Kelley have been close since college. Together, they respond to personal dating ads as a favor to Nona, who is creating a cable documentary about people who use the personals to find love.

One Dance Slipper

In a dark corner of the city, a desperate man struggles with the alter-ego he calls Charley. Charley has already killed seven young women. The first was a young college student named Nan, who was found strangled in the woods where she jogged. The killer left a running shoe on one foot and placed a beautiful dancing slipper on the other. Charley anticipates killing two more women who recently answered a "special ad" he placed in the personals. Unable to contain his excitement, the killer warns Nan's family in a letter that he will kill again.

A Body on the Pier

After Erin goes missing, FBI agent Vince D'Ambrosio becomes involved. Vince developed a computer program that profiles serial killers, and he believes a killer is preying on women in the city who answer personal ads. When Erin's lifeless body is found strangled on a lonely pier, wearing a single dance slipper, Darcy becomes desperate to find her friend's killer. Against the the wishes of Vince and Nan's handsome brother Chris Sheridan, she arranges to meet with the men Erin dated before she was murdered.

The Suspects

There is no shortage of suspects who might fit Charley's true identity. The first of these is Doug Fox, a married father of four who leads multiple lives as banker and illustrator. Doug's wife suspects that he is seeing another woman and hires a private detective to track his activities. Jay Stratton is a cad, but he's also Erin's boss and a successful jewelry dealer. Michael Nash is an affluent psychologist working on a book that analyzes the psychological needs of people who place and answer personal ads. Len Parker stalks both girls after dating them, and Gus Boxer is Erin's dirty-minded superintendent.

Spoiler Alert

Like any good mystery novel, "Loves Music, Loves to Dance" keeps readers guessing until the final chapter. Although a lot or red herrings appear throughout the story, FBI agent Vince discovers that the killer begins his personal ads with "Loves music, loves to dance." Dr. Michael Nash takes Darcy to his isolated home, where he convinces her to dance with him, wearing a pair of silver and pink dancing slippers. But it wouldn't be a Higgins novel unless the heroine survives, and Darcy does when Vince and Chris shoot Charley, just as he is about to strangle her.


About the Author

Valerie Taylor holds a master's degree in ancient history and a bachelor's degree in education and literature. She coauthored an article on Spartan religion for the "Journal of Sparta" in 2010 and has written numerous, history-related articles for Internet publication. Taylor enjoys hiking, gardening and running half-marathons.

Photo Credits

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