Her fame as a writer was achieved against heavy odds. Born and raised in the Bronx, her father died when she was eleven and her mother struggled to raise her and her two brothers.
On graduating from high school, she went to secretarial school, so she could get a job and help with the family finances and wrote short stories in her sparse spare time.
Left a young widow by the death of her husband from a heart attack in 1964, with five young children to raise, Mary went to work writing radio scripts and, in addition, decided to try her hand at writing books.
Every morning, she got up at 5 AM and wrote until 7 AM, when she had to get her children ready for school.
Her first suspense novel, Where Are the Children? was published by Simon & Schuster in 1975. It became a bestseller and marked a turning point in her life and career. It is currently in its 75th edition in paperback and was re-issued in hardcover as a Simon & Schuster classic.
Her latest novel, The Melody Lingers On, is just one of three books Mary will release in 2015.