The Balloon Man Author:Charlotte Armstrong Ward Reynard, a struggling writer equally at odds with the Establishment and with himself, turns on with LSD, tunes into violence, and drops out at the home of his wealthy, protective parents. In his wake are a hospitalized son, injured as much spiritually as physically by his father's betrayal, and a badly shaken wife, Sherry, who has taken a ... more »room in a boardinghouse in order to be near her little boy.
At first, Mrs. Peabody's establishment seems indistinguishable from the dingy gray world of seedy rooming houses tottering on the fringe of Los Angeles' suburban sprawl. But when the atmosphere around her perceptibly to cool, Sherry is forced to take a closer look at her fellow boarders. What gave kindly, attractive Dr. Joe Bianchi the notion that Sherry would be open to a rather obvious suggestion? Why did alcoholic Mr. Peabody suddenly find it natural to offer her a drink in the middle of the morning? And what made the "Norns," the three gossipy old ladies who perpetually occupy the parlor card table, even more curious about Sherry's comings and goings than they already were by nature? Is Sherry being paranoid? Or could sudden chill be traced back to the arrival of Cliff Storm, the enigmatic "friend of the family" who just happens to be under treatment at the same hospital as Sherry' son and who just happens to take a room at Mrs. Peabody's - Cliff Storm who seems to know suspiciously much about Sherry's activities and associates. Before Sherry can put together all the pieces of this progressively more ominous puzzle, she finds first her rights, then her life, directly threatened by the same drug that destroyed her husband.« less