RARA-AVIS: Early Dorothy Hughes

From: billha@ionet.net
Date: 14 May 2001

Most would agree (or have said) that early Dorothy Hughes is NOT hard-boiled, but folks may be interested in snippets from reading notes on a couple of these novels, for the sake of background to the more interesting titles: The Fallen Sparrow, Ride the Pink Horse, In a Lonely Place, and The Expendable Man:
                            The So Blue Marble, 1940, first mystery. Griselda, protagonist, come back to NYC to sort her life out, after a brief success in film, working as a photographer/designer/model (?), living in her ex- husband's (Con) apartment. Sister Anne, married, family; other sister, Missy, just arriving after growing up on the Continent; mother living in Rome with stepfather, aristocrat.

Characters all fr. rich set. In line of 30s society types who get involved in crime--Thin Man, screwball comedy, where have the rich, the reporters, sometimes professors, business types, and finally the police come dragging in.

Introduced early are the identical twins, almost cartoonlike, one with black hair, the other with blond hair. Both carry canes with knife tips, gas ejection. Eyes hard and glittering, like jewels. Twins seem to operate and move about freely, without being watched, much as if we were in a John Buchan thriller or some Eric Ambler East European setting, with borders and official corruption creating openings for crime. NO REAL PRESSURE FROM POLICE. Turns on a Maltese Falcon device, the Blue Marble with a secret code inside, invaluable, history of owner fatalities (96-97).

The Cross-Eyed Bear (1940) POV: ingenu, Lizanne Dene, recent widow of heir to a fortune. Hus. killed, she flees to city, to hunt for D's murderer. As with SBMar.'s Griselda, Lizanne is brave, but ultimately in a world of men, one or more of whom she must trust. Feelings, based on attractiveness cloud judgement: Has she trusted the right one? That is the question after she commits.

Bill Hagen billha@ionet.net

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# majordomo@icomm.ca.  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 14 May 2001 EDT