It's Booker Prize season, which has nothing at all to do with this section of my reading journal, but I've been reading some pretty heavy hitters lately, and I've taken a few badly-needed brain breaks in between. Crime fiction from yesteryear has been the ticket, and I don't mean country house murders. The author of both tales in this book is Harry Whittington (no, not the guy who Dick Cheney shot in the face back in 2006), and according to the bibliography of his work at the end of this volume, to say that he was a prolific author is an understatement. Sheesh! I gave up counting after a while. There is a brief bio of this writer included in the informative introduction written by Cullen Gallagher; there's also a longer essay that you can read online by Woody Haut at his blog.
Originally published in 1961, A Woman Possessed was published under one of Whittington's many psedonyms, Whit Harrison. The original cover touts "strange lusts, ... wild desire, ... sadistic excesses," and all of those are definitely included here. When it comes right down to it though, this is a story about revenge, sweet and otherwise.
|original 1961 Beacon edition, from Amazon|
| 1952 Universal Giant edition; photo from ebay|
It seems that in the eight years between 1952 and 1960 (according to the introduction), Beacon's reprint edition had been "spiced-up" as "...publishers could get away with a lot more lurid passages than in 1952 -- and their audience had come to expect as much." It looks like even the cover art for this book became more lurid in the intervening years as well.
|Beacon edition, 1960, from Abebooks|