I have read several books by Charlotte Armstrong. Some are easy to ready, some are somewhat obtuse with obscure slang and references to things I am unfamiliar with. This falls in the first category and I finished it in one sitting.
The synopsis: John comes home to find Nan, the girl he has been “dating”, is engaged to be married to another man, Dick. Unfortunately for Nan, Dick had been suspected to be involved in a murder but another man had been convicted and serving a prison sentence for it. The story involves John’s attempt to find evidence that either convicts or exonerates Dick with the help of Dorothy, Nan’s cousin.
The story involves identity changes and this is revealed early on; however, it is the people involved, i.e, Nan and Dorothy, who are not aware of their real identities until the end. The events take place over a period of about a week, so the pacing is fast. The reader is more aware of the truth than the characters and tension is created by the interactions of the characters. Nan, in her simplicity and stupidity (purposefully created and deemed as such by all, readers included) is easily duped by Dick and sees John’s efforts as the work of a scorned lover. All works out well in the end, as the reader is led to believe and hope for. The fortune hunter gets his just desserts. Some minor twists are involved but overall, it was somewhat predictable. Nevertheless, it did not detract from the pleasure of reading.