George's Mystery Book Club: The Unsuspected & Death From a Top Hat

Current Selection:  The Unsuspected by Charlotte Armstrong and Death From a Top Hat by Clayton Rawson.

Bear Pond’s Mystery Club first met in February of 2008. The club generally selects two books to read & discuss, usually with a unifying theme.

Meetings are the last Monday of the month at 6:30 pm at Bear Pond Books.

Drop-ins are welcome! 

The book club's picks are available in the store at a 15% discount.

The Unsuspected


The note discovered beside Rosaleen Wright's hanged body is full of reasons justifying her suicide--but it lacks her trademark vitality and wit, and, most importantly, her signature. So the note alone is far from enough to convince her best friend Jane that Rosaleen was her own murderer, even if the police quickly accept the possibility as fact. Instead, Jane suspects Rosaleen's boss, New York theater impresario Luther Grandison. To the world at large, he's powerful and charismatic, but Rosaleen's letters to Jane described a duplicitous, greedy man who would no doubt kill to protect his secrets. If Rosaleen stumbled upon one such secret, it could have led to an untimely demise--and Jane risks a similar end when she takes a job with Grandison's company, tangling with one of Broadway's deadliest actors in a desperate play for the truth.

A playwright before she turned to crime fiction, Charlotte Armstrong drew from her experience in the theater for her fourth novel, The Unsuspected. The book inspired the 1947 film of the same name.

Death From a Top Hat


Now retired from the tour circuit on which he made his name, master magician The Great Merlini spends his days running a magic shop in New York's Times Square and his nights moonlighting as a consultant for the NYPD. The cops call him when faced with crimes so impossible that they can only be comprehended by a magician's mind. In the most recent case, two occultists are discovered dead in locked rooms, one spread out on a pentagram, both appearing to have been murdered under similar circumstances. The list of suspects includes an escape artist, a professional medium, and a ventriloquist, so it's clear that the crimes took place in a realm that Merlini knows well. But in the end it will take his logical skills, and not his magical ones, to apprehend the killer.

Reprinted for the first time in over twenty years, Death from a Top Hat is an ingeniously-plotted puzzle set in the world of New York stage magic, which was at its pinnacle in the early twentieth century. In 1981, the novel was selected as one of the top ten locked room mysteries of all time by a panel of mystery-world luminaries that included Julian Symons, Edward D. Hoch, Ellery Queen's co-creator Frederic Dannay, and Otto Penzler.

Event date: 

Monday, April 1, 2019 - 6:30pm

Event address: 

77 Main St
Montpelier, VT 05602
United States
The Unsuspected Cover Image
By Charlotte Armstrong, Otto Penzler (Introduction by)
$14.36
ISBN: 9781613161234
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: American Mystery Classics - March 5th, 2019

Death from a Top Hat Cover Image
By Clayton Rawson, Otto Penzler (Introduction by)
$14.36
ISBN: 9781613161012
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: American Mystery Classics - October 2nd, 2018