Reprint of the Year Nomination 2: The Little Lie

The Little Lie by Jean Potts

Who among us has never told a lie? The power of domestic suspense comes from its ability to infuse the everyday with horror, even something as mundane as a little white lie. Few authors are more skilled than Jean Potts at tapping into these anxieties, and The Little Lie (reissued by Stark House) may be her masterpiece. Potts uses a single moment of dishonesty to prod at the many other secrets and lies hidden beneath the surface of small-town life, as one small sin escalates into shocking consequences. Continue reading “Reprint of the Year Nomination 2: The Little Lie”

The Little Lie (1968) by Jean Potts

The Little Lie by Jean Potts

9 Stars (9/10 stars)

“Doesn’t it occur to you that somebody is—well, not telling the truth?”

“Lying,” she specified. “Somebody’s lying.”

It all starts with a white lie. When her boyfriend Chad breaks up with her, Dee Morris is humiliated. To save face, she tells her family and neighbors that he is out of town for a job interview. She assumes the story will eventually peter out on its own. But when outside forces intervene, Dee’s little lie becomes a very big one. How far will she go to protect her reputation? And what will happen when Chad returns? Continue reading “The Little Lie (1968) by Jean Potts”

Go, Lovely Rose (1954) by Jean Potts

Go Lovely Rose by Jean Potts

8 Stars (8/10 stars)

“Aren’t we ever going to get rid of Mrs. Henshaw? Hasn’t she done enough to Hartley and me without this. She might at least have the decency to die a natural death. But no. She’s got to get herself murdered […] Nothing can stop people like Mrs. Henshaw. I ought to know. I grew up under her thumb.”

Since they were children, Rachel and Hartley Buckmaster have been terrified of the family housekeeper, Rose Henshaw. They can’t even pretend to be sorry when she’s found dead at the bottom of the cellar stairs. But it turns out that Rose may have had a little help falling down those stairs. When her brother Hartley becomes the prime suspect, Rachel must probe the town’s deepest secrets to learn why so many people were so afraid of Rose. Continue reading “Go, Lovely Rose (1954) by Jean Potts”

The Footsteps on the Stairs (1966) by Jean Potts

The Footsteps on the Stairs by Jean Potts

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“There isn’t anything funny about wanting to kill somebody you love. There isn’t anything reasonable about it, either. All the same, it happens. But you don’t believe that, do you, Rosemary? You’re one of the lucky ones that never get love and hate mixed up. Or maybe you’ve never been in love.”

Enid knew it was a bad idea to get involved again with Vic while he was still married, but that was Enid. “I never do the right thing…Or if I do, it’s at the wrong moment.” She even confided to her friend Martin that she thought Vic was dangerous, that he might kill her one day.

When Enid is found murdered, the police dismiss it as a burglary gone wrong. Martin can’t help remembering her worries about Vic, but hesitates to report his suspicions. He himself was once wrongly accused of a crime, and it’s cast a shadow over his entire life. No, before going to the police, Martin must solve his friend’s murder on his own. Continue reading “The Footsteps on the Stairs (1966) by Jean Potts”

Home Is the Prisoner (1960) by Jean Potts

Home Is the Prisoner by Jean Potts

5 Stars (5/10 stars)

“I just can’t see Jim Singley turning into the kind of guy that would harbor a grudge, no matter how long they kept him locked up…Why, I bet you, sore as he was at Herb Fleming, by next morning he’d have cooled off and made it up if—if—”

“If he hadn’t already killed Herb.”

No one expected Jim Singley to show his face in town again after spending six years in prison for killing his business partner. After all, so many of those affected by the tragedy still live there. Some of them have reason to be afraid of having the whole thing stirred up again. Whatever Jim’s reason for returning, at least one of his old friends is determined to keep him from sticking around—by any means necessary. Continue reading “Home Is the Prisoner (1960) by Jean Potts”

The Evil Wish (1962) by Jean Potts

The Evil Wish by Jean Potts 1962 book cover

8 Stars (8/10 stars)

“We are stuck with each other and with our left-over murder till death do us part. Death. Not his, but somebody else’s. Because we set death in motion, we geared ourselves for it, and we can’t stop it now, we’ve got to…”

Life with a domineering father hasn’t been easy for Lucy and Marcia Knapp. Dr. Knapp sabotages his daughters’ relationships, endlessly criticizes them, and expects them to wait on him hand and foot. At least, they think, they’ll always have a home with him. Then they overhear their father’s plans to marry his nurse (and give her the house), a disaster that can be averted only by his death. Their father simply has to die. But the two sisters will soon learn to be careful what they wish for. Continue reading “The Evil Wish (1962) by Jean Potts”