Daddy's Little Girl Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Daddy's Little Girl

Ellie Cavanaugh was only seven years old when her sister, Andrea, was murdered, yet she was the chief witness in the trial of the accused 19-year-old, Rob Westerfield, only heir of the most prominent family in town. Although there were actually three suspects who were the focus of police investigations, and Westerfield steadfastly denied he murdered Andrea, it was Ellie's testimony that resulted in his conviction and incarceration.
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It's now 22 years later, and Westerfield is being paroled. He and his family are seeking a reversal of his conviction so that he can inherit his grandmother's fortune. But Ellie is desperate to find evidence to prove once and for all that he is the sick killer she always believed him to be. As an investigative reporter for an Atlanta newspaper, Ellie returns to her hometown and begins a dangerous probe into the events of that night --- an intrusion that is resented by both the Westerfield family as well as many of the local residents who never believed Rob was responsible for Andrea's death.

The review of this Book prepared by Sarah

Every time Rob is up for parole, Ellie attends the meeting to protest his release. She believes he is the one who beat her fifteen year old sister, Andrea to death. But supposed new evidence has surfaced and Rob claims this will prove his innocence. He is released and begins his campaign to prove he is innocent.

Being a journalist, Ellie decides to write about Rob's release and her sister's murder years ago. Her real purpose behind this is to get Rob back where he belongs, behind bars. She is conviced he has killed others in the past and begins her search. If she can prove this, she can get Rob behind bars again.

She starts a web page and posts any information about her investigation about Rob. She invites others leave any pertinent information about Rob's past. She finally hits pay dirt when one of his old inmates tells her of a murder Rob bragged about. As Ellie set out to investigate, Rob sets out to stop her.
The review of this Book prepared by Tracey Ray

Ellie was only seven years old when she found her fifteen year old sister one morning, beaten to death by some unknown killer, in a neighborhood hang out. She was put on the witness stand and fingered the killer. Twenty years later, the killer was up for parole and Ellie was destined to do what she could to keep that from happening. The killer she had sent to prison for twenty years was claiming he hadn't murdered Andrea that night, and was determined to clear his name. Ellie sets off on a mysterious adventure to prove that he was a killer. The book is fast paced and easy reading.
The review of this Book prepared by amy blaine

When Ellie was seven years old, her fifteen year old sister, Andrea, was murdered. Two days after Andrea's funeral, her secret boyfriend, Rob, was arrested and convicted of the crime. Now, twenty-three years later, Ellie is working as an investigative reporter in Atlanta, and Rob is up for parole. She returns to her childhood home in New York City to try to prevent him from getting out of prison, and despite her desperate attempts, Ellie cannot keep Rob in prison. Ellie later discovers that new evidence has been found in the case and Rob is trying to prove once again that he is innocent. After many terrifying experiences, Ellie learns more about herself than she ever knew, and finally learns the truth about the night her sister was murdered.
The review of this Book prepared by Kiki Bledsoe

A girl's sister is murdered. The girl, Ellie Cavenaugh, knows that the person who murdered her sister was told by her father to stay away. Throughout the book, there are twists towards other suspects but comes back to the one that committed the crime, plus several other crimes.
The review of this Book prepared by Stephanie Hunsicker

The brutal murder of 15-year-old Andrea Cavanaugh shattered the world of her young sister, Ellie. Citing 'too much grief' under one roof, Ellie's mother decides to leave her state trooper husband, gaining custody of Ellie.

It was Ellie's testimony that helped convict 19-year-old Robson Westefield, son of a wealthy, prominent family. However, doubt has remained in the minds of some members of the community as to his actual guilt.

23 years later, a hardened Ellie returns to her old hometown to protest Westerfield's upcoming parole, and takes on the unenviable job of proving his absolute guilt in the face of his protestations of innocence.

Written in the first person, the reader gets wonderful insight into the grief, pain and suffering a grieving family goes through, and how 'the blame game' can have lasting and devastating effects. Mary Higgins Clark is back on top of her game, and makes Ellie a very strong and compelling character who takes on her sister's supposed killer at all costs.
The review of this Book prepared by tesubcalle

Ellie Cavanaugh was just seven years old when her fifteen-year-old sister, Andrea, was murdered near their home in Oldham-on-the-Hudson, a rural village in New York's Westchester County. There were three suspects: Rob Westerfield, nineteen year old scion of a wealthy, prominent family, whom Andrea has been secretly dating; Paul Strobel, a sixteen year old schoolmate, who had a crush on Andrea; and Will Nebels, a local handyman in his forties.

It was Ellie who had led her parents to a hide-out in which Andrea's body was found-a secret hideaway in which she met her friends. And it was Ellie who was blamed by her parents for her sisters death for not telling them about this place the night Andrea was missing. It is also Ellie's testimony that led to the conviction of the man she was firmly convinced was the killer. Steadfastly denying his guilt, he spent the next twenty-two years in prison.

When he comes up for parole, Ellie now an investigative reporter for an Atlanta newspaper, protests his release. Nonetheless, the convicted killer is set free and returns to Oldham. Determined to thwart his attempts to whitewash his reputation, Ellie also returns to Oldham, intent on creating a Website and writing a book that will conclusively prove his guilt. It is only then that she will be able to put her sister's murder to rest when the gult is proven.
The review of this Book prepared by Boppy

Ellie Cavanaugh was only 7 when her 15-year-old sister Andrea was murdered near there home in Oldham-on-the-Hudson. There were 3 suspects: Rob Westerfield, 19 year-old from a wealthy prominint family whom Andrea had secretly been dating, Paul Stroebel, 16-year-old classmate, who had a crush on Andrea, And Will Nebles, a local handyman in his 40's. If Ellie had told her parents about the hideout sooner, Andrea might have still been alive, but her testimony convicted the man she believed was the killer. Now, 23 years later, the man was released from prison on parole, and Ellie, now an investigative reporter, returns to her hometown to prove his guilt. But as she digs deeper, she uncovers horrifying and unknown facts about her sister's murder, with each new disocvery, she comes closer to a desperate killer, who will stop at nothing to silence her. An excellent book! A little different because it was written in 1st person, but didn't disapoint me none the less. Clark struck gold once again! A story many teenagers like myself feel like they can relate too. I recommend this book or any other of her books to mystery/romance lovers of all ages!
The review of this Book prepared by Star

Ellie probably could have saved her sister's life had she told her parents where Andrea was going the night she was murdered. This book is about Ellie trying to right a wrong, and to make sure her sister's killer does not get to live like the rich off his grandmother's money.
The review of this Book prepared by Julie

Mary Higgins Clark's latest book is somewhat different than the other books I have read by her. This book is written in first person and isn't quite suspenseful. Daddy's Little Girl is about a woman named Ellie whose 15 year old sister was brutally murdered when Ellie was 7. Rob, a boy who she was forbidden to see but did anyways, was convicted for the murder. After the murder, Ellie's parents get divorced and Ellie and her mom move all over the country. Ellie vists her dad once or twice but then loses contact with him. Ellie's mom developes a drinking problem as they move from place to place and dies when Ellie is in college. Ellie finishes college and becomes an investigative reporter. She also occasionally writes books about the cases she investigates. When she learns that Rob is up for parole again and the chances that it will be granted are large, she goes back to her hometown to write a book about Rob. She has always believed that Rob murdered her sister so she does everything in her power to keep him from getting out. Despite her efforts, he is granted parole. She starts digging and comes up with some very good information on him. Her life is endangered several times but in the end she finds out who really killed her sister.
The review of this Book prepared by Kristian Herron

A teenager is murdered, and her 19-year-old boyfriend, Rob Westerfield, is convicted of the crime. When he is released from prison 20 years later, he seeks to inherit the family fortune by proving his innocence. Ellie Cavanaugh, the victim's sister and an investigative reporter, is certain he was indeed the killer. She returns to her hometown where the crime was committed to try to prove Westerfield's guilt. But because Cavanaugh was only seven years old at the time her sister was killed, even old friends question her abilities to solve the crime, with some doubting that Westerfield was even the killer. This in combination with threats on her life and a complicated relationship with her father lead Ellie down a dangerous path that may cost her her life.   
The review of this Book prepared by Susan

Simon & Schuster, May 2002, 26.00, 291 pp.
ISBN 0743206045

    When Ellie Cavanaugh was eight years old, her fifteen-year-old sister did not come home one night. Her frantic parents put Ellie to bed before she had the chance to tell them about Andrea's hiding place in Mrs. Westerfield's garage. The next day Ellie goes to the hiding place and sees the bludgeoned body of her sister and runs home to tell her parents.

    She is questioned by the police and is forced to tell them that Ellie was sneaking around behind her parents back dating nineteen-year-old Rob Westerfield. She testifies that Andrea was to meet Rob the night she was killed and on the strength of her belief, a jury convicted Rob of murder. Now twenty years later, Rob is out on parole, trying to get his record overturned and Ellie is determined to see that does not happen even if it means putting her life in danger.

    Mary Higgins Clark has written another exciting work of suspense starring a heroine who is determined to do what she thinks is right no matter what the cost. Because readers like her and believe in her, they root her on every step of the way and hope she is successful in her mission. DADDY'S LITTLE GIRL is a fast paced absorbing read that is sure to hit the New York Times bestseller list.

Harriet Klausner
The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Daddy's Little Girl

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 11.7%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40.8%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 29.2%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 18.3% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   solving long-past murder Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings towards family/friends Crime Thriller    -   Yes Is MAIN CHARACTER an EVIL criminal?    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   journalist Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast City?    -   Yes Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Mary Higgins Clark Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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