Dorothy B. Hughes (1904–1993) was an American mystery writer and critic. Born Dorothy Belle Flanagan in Kansas City, Missouri, she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and worked as a reporter before attending graduate school at the University of New Mexico and Columbia University. In 1931 her collection of poetry, Dark Certainty, was selected for inclusion in the Yale Series of Younger Poets. The next year she got married and it was not until 1940 that she published the first of her fourteen mystery novels, The So Blue Marble. For four decades Hughes was the crime-fiction reviewer for The Albuquerque Tribune, earning an Edgar Award for Outstanding Mystery Criticism from the Mystery Writers of America in 1950. The Expendable Man, published in 1963, was her last novel. “I simply hadn’t the tranquility required to write” while caring for her family, she later said. In 1978, however, she published The Case of the Real Perry Mason, a critical biography of Erle Stanley Gardner, and that same year she was recognized as a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. Among Hughes’s best-known books are The Cross-Eyed Bear, Ride the Pink Horse, and In a Lonely Place (which was made into a movie directed by Nicholas Ray and starring Humphrey Bogart).
Young doctor Hugh Denismore would seem to have everything going for him. Why then is he the first suspect when a hitchhiking teen goes missing? Dorothy B. Hughes was one of the great novelists of the golden age of noir. Here she not only takes up the subject of American social injustice, she delivers a supremely suspenseful story.