corner corner The Charlotte Armstrong Reader-The Unsuspected, A Dram of Poison, Turret Room

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Journal Entry 1 by cyber-librarian from Cary, North Carolina USA on Saturday, July 11, 2009

This book has not been rated.

I bought this book on 6/18 from Powell's Bookstore in Portland, OR for $5.95

c. 1970 -- 474 pages -- Hardcover -- Preface by Alice Cromie -- 3 great novels of suspense -- A Dram of Poison is on the IMBA's 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century list

Jacket Flaps: Here, for the first time in one volume, are three of the best-loved novels of Charlotte Armstrong, America's "queen of suspense." As Anthony Boucher so accurately observed, "As you may have noticed, I tend to become inarticulate in reviewing Armstrong, largely because the method by which she achieves her magical effects defies critical analysis. You are simply caught up as you might be by a collaboration of Cornell Woolrich and Shirley Jackson, with all the former's insistent terror of the everyday-gone-wrong and the latter's combination of fantastic imagination and realistic feminine insight."

* The Unsuspected (c. 1945), made into a highly successful film of the same name, in considered by many to be one of the dozen top suspense novels of all time. Here the author constructs a chilling tale concerning Luther Grandison, a Hollywood personality who may or may not be a killer, and a most unusual love story involving his beautiful young ward.

* A Dram of Poison (c. 1956), winner of the coveted Edgar Allan Poe Award of the Mystery Writers of America, finds Miss Armstrong at her irresistible best, combining in masterful style a chase after a poison bottle and an attempted suicide. To quote Mr. Boucher again, "Reading it is an experience as delightful as it is unclassifiable."

* The Turret Room (c. 1965) is a shivery tale of a man accused of being an insane killer, the girl who befriends him, and the strange house -- and even stranger inhabitants -- spinning an evil web around them. Harper's Magazine observed: "The terror which gathers like a cold fog through The Turret Room provides still another instance of Miss Armstrong's skill at making us jump when she lowers her voice."

Charlotte Armstrong fans will want to renew their acquaintance with these three great novels, for she is one of those rare writers whose work remains perpetually fresh and exciting. And those who have never read Miss Armstrong before should prepare themselves for a spell cast by America's "mistress of the macabre." 

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