RE: RARA-AVIS: What about Dorothy Hughes ?

From: Robison Michael R CNIN (
Date: 05 Sep 2002

Bill Hagen wrote: SO BLUE MARBLE has some hard-edged aspects to it, but is more in the mode of a Buchan (39 Steps) thriller. The heroine is learning on the

job, and her escapes are not quite believeable. Not quite up to Ambler standards.

THE FALLEN SPARROW (movie made starring John Garfield) showed Hughes moving to a male protagonist who has been released from a Spanish prison (Span. Civl War era) so that he can lead a lame-footed villain to friends in NYC. Gets inside the head of someone who is still suffering the trauma of being imprisoned and has to determine and pursue the murderer of a friend of his.

I think she's achieved something hard-boiled in that novel.

RIDE THE PINK HORSE (also a film, starring & directed by Robert Montgomery) is much better than Blue Marble, with a gunman named Sailor waiting to confront his old boss in Santa Fe, during a festival celebrating the casting

out of old bad spirit of winter (Sosobra or something like). It is definitely hard-boiled, and very dark. It has some nightmarish qualities, if that's what surreal means. It's quite interesting in its mixing of Indian, Mexican, and tough urban (Chicago) perspectives.

IN A LONELY PLACE (also a Nicholas Ray film with Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame) is possibly her best, about a writer who may or may not be a serial

killer in LA.

My view of her--which wrote up in a paper, but have never published--is that

she may be the first major woman writer of noir novels. Sparrow and Pink Horse were published in 1943-45, as I remember.

********* Thanks for the excellent information, Bill. Based on what you and Mark have told me, I think I'll pass on the SO BLUE MARBLE and read either IN A LONELY PLACE or RIDE THE PINK HORSE.


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