SOTL/Hannibal: Chronology question about Clarice Starling's parents (spoilers)

I don’t read much present-day fiction, so I’m pretty obsessive about the little that I do read. Thomas Harris’ three novels (‘Red Dragon’, ‘The Slience of the Lambs’ and ‘Hannibal’) are among my favorites.

I may be remembering this incorrectly – I can’t find my copies of ‘SOTL’ and ‘Hannibal’ to look it up.


In ‘SOTL’, Clarice discusses the death of her father. She tells Lecter about it, and reveals further that her mother had died when she was very young. So Clarice was sent to live with a relative in Montana, and (after subsequent events) the Lutheran orphanage in Bozman, MT. I believe these chronologies were indentical in both the novel and the movie (is this correct?)

But I also remember in the novel ‘Hannibal’ that Clarice described the financially strained life that followed her father’s death. She recalls cleaning rooms in cheap motels with (IIRC) her mother. These memories were recounted during the therapy sessions conducted by Lecter late in the story.

I guess my question is: who died first, Clarice’s mother or her father?

Harris is known for his meticulousness, so I suspect there’s no contradiction, and that I’m remembering something incorrectly. What’s the straight dope?

Clarice’s father died first; among the things making this clear is the fact that the town mayor comes to the widow Starling and asks for teh fther’s gear. The remaining Starlings are impoverished, which is why Starling gets sent to Bozeman.

Yes, thank you – I remember this now from the novel ‘SOTL’ (Clarice bitterly remembers the mayor “in his Army surplus shoes” coming to the hospital to reclaim the gear).

However, I still recall Clarice’s line from the movie, “My mother died when I was very young; my father had become my whole life”, or something close. If I’m remembering this correctly, the movie may have changed the chronology from the novel?