RE: Re: RARA-AVIS: Dorothy B. Hughes Month

From: Anders Engwall (ERA) (
Date: 07 May 2001

Bill Hagen:

> The So-Blue Marble is still very much in the Buchan
> (39 Steps) tradition, though the assassin twins (as
> I remember) have the polish of Eric Ambler at his best.
> Believe Hughes dedicated one or more of her early
> fictions to Ambler.

I just finished THE BAMBOO BLONDE which strongly reminded me of Ambler.

Except I much prefer Ambler. This was one very boring book. Hardly anything happened, and what few plot-driving events there were, were mostly only referred to by the characters after they had happened. Plenty of characters and plenty of personal motifs consequently turned this into a narrative mess. The characters could hardly be described as hardboiled, either.

The one interesting bit was the historical context it was written in. It's copyrighted in 1941 but obviously written before Pearl Harbour.

I won't dismiss Hughes, though. I also read two of her short stories this weekend; HOMECOMING (re- printed in PURE PULP) and THE BLACK AND WHITE BLUES
(in AMERICAN PULP) and they were both excellent, esp. the latter. I also recently began reading DREAD JOURNEY and judging by the first few pages it's way better than BAMBOO.

Anders Engwall

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