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)