Dorothy B. Hughes

Hughes PP

Dorothy B. Hughes (1904–1993) was a mystery author and literary critic. Born in Kansas City, she studied at Columbia University and won an award from the Yale Series of Younger Poets for her first book, the poetry collection Dark Certainty (1931). After writing several unsuccessful manuscripts, she published The So Blue Marble in 1940, winning praise for its terse, hard-boiled prose.

Hughes published thirteen more novels, the best known of which are The Fallen Sparrow (1942), Ride the Pink Horse (1946),  In a Lonely Place (1947). All three were made into successful films. In the early fifties, Hughes largely stopped writing fiction, preferring to focus on criticism, for which she would go on to win an Edgar Award. In 1978, the Mystery Writers of America presented Hughes with the Grand Master Award for literary achievement.

“You will have to read [The So Blue Marble] for yourself, and if you wake up in the night screaming with terror, don’t say we didn’t warn you.” The New York Times Book Review

“[Hughes’s] novels are carefully crafted pieces, ahead of their time in their use of psychological suspense and their piercing observations about class and race. She was among the best.” —Walter Mosley, author of the Easy Rawlins novels

American Mystery 5