To Florence Hackett and her daughters Elinor and Louisa, Richard Baurie, a handsome young bookstore clerk and aspiring poet, seems a little odd but harmless enough. With his amusing conversation and his eager-to-please attitude, Richard works his way into the Hacketts’ confidence until he is almost one of the family. When he suggests they rent Wisteria Cottage, a charming seaside residence, it seems to promise a summer of pleasant companionship and fun. What the Hacketts don’t know is that Richard is a deeply troubled individual, recently released from a mental institution, and that their relaxing summer holiday will soon turn into a terrifying nightmare....
A brilliant psychological examination of criminal insanity, Robert M. Coates’s Wisteria Cottage (1948) earned rave reviews on its initial publication and was adapted for the 1958 film noir Edge of Fury. As Mathilde Roza writes in the introduction to this new edition, “the novel has lost nothing of its remarkable power of taking the reader into a disturbed man’s world.”
“A brilliant tour de force.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Top peaks of terror . . . a grade-A psycho-thriller!”—Saturday Review
“As direct and frightening as the uncoiling of a serpent.”—Commonweal