FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #515: GO, LOVELY ROSE/THE EVIL WISH By Jean Potts



In this latest STARK HOUSE volume, long-time FFB participant, J. F. Norris (Pretty Sinister Books), provides an informative and lively essay “Jean Potts,” an introduction to very canny writer. The first novel in this wonderful STARK HOUSE omnibus, Go, Lovely Rose (1954), won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. The novel begins with the death of Mrs. Henshaw, a woman universally disliked. Mrs. Henshaw’s body is found dead at the bottom of some stairs. The late Mrs. Henshaw had been a “housekeeper” to Doctor Buckmaster, his daughter Rachel, and son, Hartley. After Mrs. Henshaw’s death, which may or may not be accidental, Rachel returns home to look after her brother…who may be a suspect. Jean Potts captures the anxieties and suspicions of the 1950s in this chilling psychological thriller.

The Evil Wish (1962) deals with an innovative situation: two sisters, Marcia and Lucy Knapp, plot to murder their father. Dr. Knapp plans to marry his much younger nursing assistant and then disinherit his daughters. But, ironically, on the very day Marcia and Lucy plan to kill their father, Dr. Knapp and Pam the nurse die in a car accident. End of story, right?…not quite. Jean Potts allows the guilty conscience of each of the sisters to breed doubt, deceit, and treachery. The Evil Wish will keep you up late at night long after you finish reading it. The Evil Wish was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. I hope STARK HOUSE reprints more of Jean Potts’s unique novels. GRADE: B+ (for both)

18 thoughts on “FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #515: GO, LOVELY ROSE/THE EVIL WISH By Jean Potts

    1. george Post author

      Prashant, Jean Potts’s writing career started out with a bang with her winning an Edgar Award for Best First Novel! I’m hoping STARK HOUSE reprints more of her work.

      Reply
      1. J F Norris

        This reprint edition got an enviable starred review in Booklist, BTW. “Two masterpieces here” ends the review! I’m going to announce & post the review in full on my blog on Sunday. We weren’t allowed to show it or quote from it until after Feb 6.

        Greg Shepard tells me the plan is to reprint more of Potts mystery and crime fiction. He told me he probably would never have discovered her on his own had he not read my blog posts on her books. I will let people know as the plans progress, but you may know before me as I think you get a ARCs from him. this actually is released on Feb 15. So it’s not exactly available yet that i’m aware of. But I encourage everyone to go ahead and buy as many copies as you can! I’m very proud to have helped revive Jean Potts’ work and brought her to the attention of the many people who never knew she existed.

      2. george Post author

        J.F., congratulations on the excellent introduction you wrote for GO, LOVELY ROSE/THE EVIL WISH! I learned a lot about Jean Potts and want to read more of her work!

    1. george Post author

      Dan, Steve Lewis’s MYSTERY*FILE blog is one of my favorites. I have never seen a copy of Jean Potts’s THE DIEHARD and now I have to go track down a copy.

      Reply
  1. Jeff Meyerson

    I used to have a couple of her books but never read one. Stark House is doing good work. There are a lot of older writers now forgotten (or almost so) who deserve a reprinting.

    Reply
      1. george Post author

        Todd, I totally agree. Jean Potts seems to have been forgotten until J. F. Norris and STARK HOUSE brought her work back into print.

  2. Michael Padgett

    This looks interesting, although I must admit that I’d never heard of Potts. And despite the fact that I (supposedly) get the Stark House newsletter I was unaware of the fact that it had been published. It wasn’t mentioned in the most recent newsletter that I got less than two weeks ago. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, and I’ll check out the link Dan provided.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Michael, I’m sure GO, LOVELY ROSE/THE EVIL WISH will be mentioned in the next STARK HOUSE e-newsletter. It’s just been published.

      Reply

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