The Virtue Of Suspense: The Life and Works of Charlotte Armstrong

Does experiencing a suspenseful situation allow one to develop virtue? The suspense writer Charlotte Armstrong (1905-69) no doubt believed that it could. In her works, she implied the benefits of experiencing suspense by illustrating the rhetorical benefits of resolving it. Thus, in their dealings with other characters, her protagonists discover a virtuous approach to resolving suspense that involves an expanded view of the language one uses and the perspective one adopts.This book examines Armstrong's contribution to the suspense genre through an exploration of her childhood diaries, adult correspondence, published and cinematic works, reviews of those works, and the recollections of her agent, children, and grandchildren. What emerges is the portrait of a writer whose determination, curiosity, analytic mien, adventuresome spirit, and ideas about humanity shaped her writing in ways that fascinated her critics and readers, a fascination that perhaps unconsciously recognized the virtue of suspense in her works.