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101 things i wish i knew when i got


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  • "If the Devil Had a Wife" is written and published by Rebecca Stark Nugent. / Beaumont

Photo: Beaumont

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"If the Devil Had a Wife" is written and published by Rebecca Stark Nugent.

"If the Devil Had a Wife" is written and published by Rebecca Stark Nugent.

Photo: Beaumont

In Orange, the paperback has become simply “The Book.”

“Did you get ‘The Book?’” or “Have you read ‘The Book?’’ people ask in phone calls, at the post office or in the aisles of grocery stores.

Talk about the book has circulated for a decade. Rumors and stories in the book have circulated, often in whispers, for almost 70 years.

Rebecca Stark Nugent, a granddaughter of the late timber heir H.J. Lutcher Stark, wrote and self-published a book called “If the Devil Had a Wife: A True Texas Tale” about her family and its fortune.

The book’s cover is red with a glass bottle of poison pills. Pills also spill across the design, a reference to Nugent’s stories that Nelda Childers Stark, Lutcher’s third wife and the stepgrandmother she called “Nana,” drugged her grandfather, perhaps killing him in 1965, to gain control of his fortune.

In the book, she contends Nelda and her pills, also had something to do with the deaths of Lutcher’s mother, Miriam Stark in 1936; Lutcher’s first wife, Nita Hill Stark, in 1939; and Lutcher’s second wife, Ruby Childers Stark, Nelda’s sister, in 1942.

Read more about "If the Devil Had a Wife" in Sunday's Beaumont Enterprise.

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