Dorothy B. Hughes

Dorothy B. Hughes

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. A New York–based mystery, it won praise for its hardboiled prose, which was due, in part, to Hughes’s editor, who demanded she cut 25,000 words from the book.

Hughes published thirteen more novels, the best known of which are In a Lonely Place (1947) and Ride the Pink Horse (1946). Both 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.    

“Nobody but Dorothy Hughes can cast suspense into such an uncanny spell.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Hughes didn’t just pre-date Jim Thompson, she also pre-dated Patricia Highsmith, Ruth Rendell, and other so-called Masters of Psychological Suspense or Noir. And her writing style stands up to the test of time.” —Bookslut

“[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

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