Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Short Story Wednesday: "The Splintered Monday" by Charlotte Armstrong

Yesterday I started reading Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives, a book I have had on my shelves for five years. Edited by Sarah Weinman, this book contains 14 short stories by women writing from the 1940s to the 1970s.

I have read 6 stories in the book and the best one so far was "The Splintered Monday" by Charlotte Armstrong.

Sarah Brady is staying with her nephew Jeff, and his family, following the funeral of her sister Alice, Jeff's mother. Alice has always controlled her family with her poor health, and her family would often hide things from her. 

Now Sarah is feeling that something is off; information about her sister's death is being withheld from her, and she wants to know what is going on. She will be returning home with her daughter the next day. She queries everyone in the family and even Alice's doctor with no results. It seems that everyone will be relieved when she goes home. 

She does not give up and the resolution is unexpected and chilling.


I have also read these stories in the anthology:

"Everybody Needs a Mink" by Dorothy B. Hughes was a lovely story, shorter than most of them. I learned a new word in this story. Meggy Tashman, mother of two young children, is trying on a mink that she cannot possibly afford, and she describes it as "simple supernal." Supernal means "superlatively good" or maybe in this case "celestial." The story was not what I expected and it was very very good.

"The Purple Shroud" by Joyce Harrington: I had not heard of this author but Weinman's introduction to the story encourages me to look for more of her writing.

"Lost Generation" by Dorothy Salisbury Davis is a well-executed story but it was not a pleasant read. Several men plan to kill another man in the community for reasons not clear in the story, probably some taboo in their community that he had broken.

"The People Across the Canyon" by Margaret Millar is a story that I read earlier, in a collection of Millar's stories. I posted my thoughts on it here.

"Mortmain" by Miriam Allen Deford was very clever; I did not expect the twist at the end. This was another author I was unfamiliar with. 


Margot Kinberg said...

What an interesting-sounding collection, Tracy! And I'm glad you've chosen to highlight a Charlotte Armstrong story. I've read some of her longer work (and enjoyed it), but not any of her short stories. This sounds like an interesting way to explore that side of her writing.

TracyK said...

Margot, I have not read a lot by Charlotte Armstrong (recently) but I have liked what I read. I know there is at least one collection of her stories and I plan to look for it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

This has been sitting on my shelf for...five years. I really have to open it.

TracyK said...

I don't know why it took me so long to read it, Patti. I guess I had to be in the right mood for it.

Clothes in Books said...

I am a big fan of Charlotte Armstrong, though haven't read this story. And what a great theme for a short story collection! I'm not always a short story fan, but this particular theme could win me over.

TracyK said...

So far I have liked all the stories I have read in this book, Moira. And especially the Charlotte Armstrong story. Two of the stories, by Vera Caspary and Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, are closer to novella length, and I look forward to those.

col2910 said...

Tracy, sounds like a great collection, but do I need it.... well probably not

TracyK said...

I still haven't finished this book of stories, Col. But I will, probably in 2021. Right now, I am concentrating on short stories with a Christmas theme. I have so many books of short stories I don't ever need to buy more... but I probably will.