RARA-AVIS: Dorothy B. Hughes questions

Bill Hagen (billha@ionet.net)
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 00:12:26 -0600 (CST) I know a number of you have read Dorothy B. Hughes. Remember some
exchanges on Ride the Pink Horse. I'm hoping some of you can advise me.

Perhaps unwisely, I've committed to doing a paper on those 1940s novels
that were made into "noir" films, espec. Ride the Pink Horse and In a
Lonely Place. As background, I've been reading The So Blue Marble and The
Fallen Sparrow, both of which seem to use a Maltese Falcon device of the
invaluable, cursed object which sets two sides against each other. I'm
currently in the middle of The Fallen Sparrow, which reads like an Eric
Ambler set in NY (it's dedicated to Ambler), and plan to fill out my
reading with The Davidian Report and The Expendable Man, and try to get her
study of Earle Stanley Gardner. Located one interview with her in Mystery
Magazine that I'm searching libraries for, and will be able to get some
reviews easily.

To my questions:

Focus of the paper is on her as a writer of noir fiction, at a time when
few women wrote that kind of thing--and, more uniquely, a woman whose noir
fiction was turned into film. So--any other Hughes' titles I should
definitely read to get a feel for what she was doing?

The Fallen Sparrow is quite competent, maybe even better than competent,
but I understand the film made from it is not. Anyone confirm or counter
this? Should I search for the film, and consider featuring it in the

I haven't yet located any extensive guides to Hughes on the big websites
and standard references, and so far, have turned up no booklength studies
or extensive bibliographies, so I would appreciate any leads...espec. to
individual stories that have been anthologized in books, or chapter-length
studies of her in books, or even whole books, on her--the sort of thing I
can chase down through interlibrary loan.
[Am getting Polan's BBC book on the film of In a Lonely Place.]

Appreciate any thoughts, or leads. Reply offline if you prefer.

Bill Hagen

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