Sunday, November 20, 2005

Charlotte Armstrong, Pt 5

The Case of the Weird Sisters (1943; rpt 1992) is one of Armstrong's three novels that feature professor detective Macdougal Duff. His former student Alice Brennan has decided to marry her rich employer Innes Whitlock. Their visit to Whitlock's three half-sisters, who are handicapped in various ways (blind, deaf, missing an arm), results in various mishaps to Innes: an attempted poisoning, a narrow escape from a falling lamp, and a crack-up with the car after a sign indicating a detour is mysteriously removed. Or are they mishaps, as Innes is thinking about writing a new will?

The gothic elements of the three sisters may be a bit off-putting to some, but this is another of Armstrong's skillfully told tales of a warped household. Readers will like Fred, the stalwart chauffeur who reveals that he attended college on a football scholarship.

1 comment:

Jan Burke said...

You made me buy it.

I had been wanting to fill in the few remaining gaps in my Charlotte Armstrong collection, and this entry made me order TCOT Weird Sisters from Grave Matters, a mystery bookseller I truly love. (Celebrating their 20th anniversary, BTW.)

Read it quickly and while I was a little uneasy with some of the stuff about the half-sisters, I think the reviewer who once said the book is "pleasantly creepy" got it right.

Interesting mix of mystery and romance in this one.

Jan