Dorothy B. Hughes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Dorothy B. Hughes (10 August 1904 – 6 May 1993) was an American crime writer and literary critic. Hughes wrote fourteen crime and detective novels, primarily in the hardboiled and noir styles, and is best known for the novels In a Lonely Place (1947) and Ride the Pink Horse (1946).

Born Dorothy Belle Flanagan in Kansas City, Missouri, she studied journalism and after graduating from the University of Missouri with a B.J. degree in 1924 worked in that field in Missouri, New Mexico, and New York. She did graduate work in journalism at the University of New Mexico and at Columbia University without receiving degrees from either institution.

Hughes’s first published book, Dark Certainty (1931), a volume of poetry, won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition.

In 1940, she published her first mystery novel, The So Blue Marble. She published eight more mystery novels in the 1940s. She also wrote a history of the University of New Mexico and a critical study of writer Erle Stanley Gardner. In 1951 she received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America in the category of Outstanding Mystery Criticism, and in 1978 she was given the MWA's Grand Master award.

Hughes acknowledged the influence of such writers as Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, and William Faulkner.[1] Her writing style and suspenseful plots exemplified the hardboiled genre of crime and detective novels, and her literary career associates her with other female crime writers of the 1940s and 1950s, such as Margaret Millar, Vera Caspary, Elizabeth Sanxay Holding, and Olive Higgins Prouty.

Hughes was a successful writer and popular during her day. Three of her novels were made into movies: The Fallen Sparrow (1943), starring John Garfield; In a Lonely Place (1950), directed by Nicholas Ray and starring Humphrey Bogart; and Ride the Pink Horse (1947), directed by and starring Robert Montgomery, which was remade for television in 1964 as The Hanged Man.

From 1940 to 1979 she reviewed mysteries for the Albuquerque Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Herald-Tribune and other newspapers.

Hughes made her home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which she used as the setting of several novels.

Hughes died in Ashland, Oregon, from complications following a stroke.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Dark Certainty, poetry (1931)
  • Pueblo on the Mesa: The First Fifty Years of the University of New Mexico (1939)
  • The So Blue Marble (1940, her first novel)
  • The Cross-Eyed Bear (1940, later published as The Cross-Eyed Bear Murders)
  • The Bamboo Blonde (1941)
  • The Fallen Sparrow (1942; filmed in 1943)
  • The Blackbirder (1943)
  • The Delicate Ape (1944)
  • Johnnie (1944)
  • Dread Journey (1945)
  • Ride the Pink Horse (1946; filmed in 1947; Robert Montgomery Presents TV series, "Ride the Pink Horse" episode, 1950; remade in 1964 as The Hanged Man)
  • The Scarlet Imperial (1946, also published as Kiss for a Killer)
  • In a Lonely Place (1947; filmed in 1950)
  • The Big Barbecue (1949)
  • The Candy Kid (1950; Climax TV series, "Spider Web" episode in 1958)
  • The Davidian Report (aka The Body on the Bench, 1952; Robert Montgomery Presents TV series, "The Davidian Report" episode, 1952)
  • The Expendable Man (1963; republished by Persephone Books, 2006)
  • Erle Stanley Gardner: The Case of the Real Perry Mason, critical biography (1978)


  1. ^ Liukkonen, Petri. "Dorothy B. Hughes". Books and Writers ( Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on 7 March 2006. 
  • DeAndrea, William L. (1994). Encyclopedia Mysteriosa. A Comprehensive Guide to the Art of Detection in Print, Film, Radio, and Television. New York: Macmillan.