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.