Saturday, November 05, 2005

Charlotte Armstrong, Pt 1
I came across author Charlotte Armstrong (1905-1969) when I was doing some research for my radio show on mysteries. Armstrong won the Edgar for Best Novel in 1957 for A Dram of Poison, the last American woman to do so until Julie Smith in 1991.

As 2005 is Armstrong's centenary, I decided to delve into Armstrong's oeuvre and have been blown away by her skill in pacing, building suspense, and creating believable characters. A Dram of Poison is an unusual novel with several unexpected turns: An older man despairing of life with his younger wife and bossy sister decides to commit suicide but mislays the unmarked bottle of poison on a bus. He then must race against time to find it before disaster strikes an innocent victim, aided by a Saroyan-like group of individuals that he picks up along the way. A masterful, fascinating work.

I plan to talk about other Armstrong works in future posts.

1 comment:

Jan Burke said...

Just back from travels and I discover this wonderful blog on a new favorite!
I also began reading Charlotte Armstrong with this book. I think it's fabulous, and I use it to hook other readers on her books.

Now -- did you read her because of the Edgar? I found myself wondering about these women who won them almost every other year in the 1950s -- I've only managed to get as far as Armstrong, though, because once I read A Dram of Poison, I had to read any of her other books I could find!

Can't wait to catch up on your other posts about her.