Among the Tylers of Santa Clara are a matriarch lauded as the first lady of American theater, a judicial appointee of the president, a noted fundraiser for international charities, a university vice-chancellor, and an esteemed and admired surgeon. The Tylers are, in their own words, "worthy of Paradise." Then, a violently anti-US Middle Eastern leader sends his son to California to be treated by the young Dr. Michael Tyler. The king's deal: Save his "little prince," and the lives of the twenty-eight American hostages languishing in his prison will be spared. And there's another caveat: The agreement must be kept secret. But there's one more Tyler to contend with. Rufus Tyler is the family "lemon in the basket," an underachiever who has finally found his moment in history. By exposing his family to the press as conspirators in a terrorist's negotiation, Rufus will do more than breach the walls of privacy. He will plunge his family into the dangerous waters of international politics. As unfounded fears and dreadful rumors take hold, an inevitable and shocking act of violence will threaten not only the Tylers, but also the fate of the entire country. Upon the original publication of Lemon in the Basket, an Edgar Award finalist for Best Novel, Dorothy B. Hughes wrote that Charlotte Armstrong should stand "with the immortal ladies of suspense – Rinehart and Sayers, Marsh and Tey" (Los Angeles Times).
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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