Feeling unmoored since the death of her father, twenty-year-old Bessie Gibbon has left upstate New York to live with an aunt and uncle, Lina and Charles Cathcart, in their four-story Manhattan home. Bessie has heard tales about her eccentric uncle: that he was a millionaire theater magnate and the black sheep of the family, that his marriage to Lina was more of an arrangement than a matter of love, and most important, that he was an inveterate player of parlor games – but nothing prepares Bessie for the luxury in which he lives, the odd assortment of servants, or the cronies who can turn a late-night Parcheesi tournament into a blood sport. And that's precisely what happens when one of them is shot to death after a particularly cutthroat game. Now there are whispers that it was Uncle Charles who pulled the trigger, and no one is all that surprised. Detective MacDougal Duff wants to know why. When Duff's investigation yields more secrets about the family than Bessie is comfortable with, she starts to fear for her safety. Especially when another of her uncle's acquaintances is murdered – stabbed with a carving knife. If this is another one of her uncle's games, Bessie can't help but wonder who might be the next to lose. Lay On, Mac Duff! is the 1st book in the MacDougal Duff Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
Edgar Award–winning Charlotte Armstrong (1905–1969) was one of the finest American authors of classic mystery and suspense. The daughter of an inventor, Armstrong was born in Vulcan, Michigan, and attended Barnard College, in New York City. After college she worked at the New York Times and the magazine Breath of the Avenue, before marrying and turning to literature in 1928. For a decade she wrote plays and poetry, with work produced on Broadway and published in the New Yorker. In the early 1940s, she began writing suspense. Success came quickly. Her first novel, Lay On, MacDuff! (1942) was well received, spawning a three-book series. Over the next two decades, she wrote more than two dozen novels, winning critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base. The Unsuspected (1945) and Mischief (1950) were both made into films, and A Dram of Poison (1956) won the Edgar Award for best novel. She died in California in 1969.
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