California University mathematics instructor Pat O'Shea is horrified to learn that a fellow faculty member is responsible for the theft of a valuable piece of lab equipment. But biology professor Everett Adams hasn't just turned thief; he's also become a stark raving madman. After a confrontation, Adams leaves his accuser for dead, badly beaten on the outside of town. Now, no one has seen either man in days. When O'Shea awakens in a dilapidated old bungalow on a deserted stretch of nowhere, he's not in the hands of a rescuer, but rather at the mercy of a captor. The watchful old woman is demented, homicidal, and taking wicked delight in keeping a hostage. Her killer hound stands guard, and if all goes according to plan, the gravely injured O'Shea will never be allowed to leave. Frustrated by the ineffective work of the authorities, O'Shea's wife, Anabel, is committed to conducting her own investigation into her husband's disappearance. Amassing a trail of evidence, she follows a strange path of baffling clues, family skeletons, and fatal secrets. One by one, they will lead Anabel to a house on the dark side of a dead-end road.
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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