The novel...is a revelation. It utilizes Hughes’s poetic skills to create an overwhelming atmosphere of fear, terror, and suspense surrounded by the high society environment of 1940 New York City. The novel is supersaturated with crisp dialogue, insurmountably evil characters infused with menace and malice, and a fast-paced plot that explores morality and depravity ... The breathless conclusion to The So Blue Marble underscores its choice as the perfect inaugural title for the American Mystery Classic series ... Hughes’s classic is evidence that a good page-turner never dies.
...nonstop action, with menace and daring exploits bursting through the smooth veneer of upper-class life. Students of cultural history will enjoy stepping back into a New York where gentlemen wear top hats when going out on the town, and ladies, when hastily packing to escape from psychopaths, remember to include in their suitcases 'hats with tissue paper crumpled in their hollows.' That Hughes was a poet is clear from the jangling rhythm of her prose. Readers new to this forgotten classic are in for a treat.
Nearly 80 years after its initial publication, there is still nothing like Hughes'...debut novel. The 1940s New York setting, the characters who drink like fish and dress for dinner and take cabs to go a block—because, really, who walks?—give the book the sophisticated luster of romantic comedy. But it's as if a Lubitsch movie kept being periodically taken over by David Lynch. It remains funny only now we're being asked to laugh at murder and threats and oddball sociopaths. And so the book becomes genuinely nightmarish, at times close to suffocating. The debut by one of the great American suspense writers will suck you in even as it makes you keep asking, 'Did I just read that?'