Read The So Blue Marble by Dorothy B. Hughes Free Online
Book Title: The So Blue Marble|
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Reader ratings: 7.7
The author of the book: Dorothy B. Hughes
Edition: Golden Apple Publishers
Date of issue: January 1984
ISBN 13: 9780553197648
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 7.93 MB
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Because I love old noir, like women who write hard-boiled fiction, and remember with pleasure two of her later books (Ride the Pink Horse, In a Lonely Place) and the movies made from them, I decided to read all or most of Dorothy Hughes, starting with her first book. Now though, after reading the So Blue Marble, I almost regret not starting in the middle of things, at least a few books down the line.
Oh, it’s not that bad really. It involves a “macguffin”--a gem called the “Blue Marble”--pursued by a trio of baddies who suspect it has been hidden by Griselda, our apprehensive but ultimately gutsy heroine, and the dead bodies that keep turning up every forty pages or so definitely keep things interesting. But Griselda’s ex-husband Con is too secretive, too casually caddish (even for someone who may be a government agent) and Griselda too worshipful, too full of self-doubt not to make both together a somewhat irritating couple. It is probably a good thing for the novel that most of the time they are apart.
But the baddies are the real problem here. They consist of two “identical twin” brothers (“identical,” that is, except for the fact that one is brunette, the other blonde) equipped with evening dress and sinister walking canes, plus their stooge Missy, Griselda’s cute but psychopathic little sister, who has been living abroad so long she has acquired an unlocalizable foreign accent. These characters do not behave like real people, and although I grant they add a nightmare-like noirish touch, they eventually deprived the book of credibility and dissipated my interest.
Still, Hughes writes well and handles her plot with skill, so for now I’ll stick with the program: on to The Bamboo Blonde.
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Read information about the authorDorothy B. Hughes (1904–1993) was a mystery author and literary critic. Born in Kansas City, she studied at Columbia University, and won an award from the Yale Series of Younger Poets for her first book, the poetry collection Dark Certainty (1931). After writing several unsuccessful manuscripts, she published The So Blue Marble in 1940. A New York–based mystery, it won praise for its hardboiled prose, which was due, in part, to Hughes’s editor, who demanded she cut 25,000 words from the book.
Hughes published thirteen more novels, the best known of which are In a Lonely Place (1947) and Ride the Pink Horse (1946). Both were made into successful films. In the early fifties, Hughes largely stopped writing fiction, preferring to focus on criticism, for which she would go on to win an Edgar Award. In 1978, the Mystery Writers of America presented Hughes with the Grand Master Award for literary achievement.
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