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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Saddle River  NJ, The colorful bloom of spring always reminds New Jersey businessman Thomas Giacomaro of his first enchanted meeting with celebrated mystery novelist, Mary Higgins Clark.

It was March 2000 and Clark was already a $20 million dollar investor in his successful company, Wellesley. But other than a friendly nod across the candlelit room at Valentino’s restaurant, the two Saddle River neighbors had never met up close.

Until that spring. Clark’s investment returns with Wellesley were so lucrative, the famous writer was poised to invest more—under one condition: She wanted to meet the mystery man behind the company name, the hidden mastermind behind the moneymaking machine.

They set it up.

“I waited for her at the top of my circular driveway dressed in my usual ‘mob’ outfit,” Giacomaro recalls, “and a cigar dangling from my mouth.”

He also remembers the 45,000 red and yellow tulips around his house bursting in exquisite bloom. He took it as a good sign.

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Clark pulled up in her Mercedes decked out with a Chanel bag, teased blonde hair, and Jackie O sunglasses, “she was dazzling,” he says, of the then-72-year-old.

But he knew underneath the dazzle, “she was a tough girl from the Bronx and liked smart-talking bad boys,” he says. “She’d written about guys like me, but never met one.”

So Giacomaro, author of The King of ConHow a Smooth-Talking Jersey Boy Made and Lost Billions, Baffled the FBI, Eluded the Mob, and Lived to Tell the Crooked Tale, played up the mob-character bit for her amusement.

‘Howyadoin’?! he asked.

Clark slid her sunglasses down and scanned the designer lake in back, the Jags and Bentleys on the driveway, the Rolex on Giacomaro’s wrist, and the $350,000 Italian mahogany desk in his office.

She liked.

It didn’t take long before the two had a meeting of the minds—and pocketbook.

“Let’s be partners, Mrs. Clark,” Giacomaro suggested.

“Dear,” she said, squeezing his hand across the desk, “please…call me Mary.”

At Clark’s holiday party that year at the NY Athletic Club, Giacomaro was her guest of honor.

“I got off the elevator, she hugged me, and introduced me to the crowd, saying:

‘This is the man who’s going to make me rich and famous!’”


  1. I don’t know what to say.

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