'An author with a flair for terror' The New Yorker
Jose Aragon is a ranch hand between jobs. Looking and smelling just like a piece of border-town trash, he's hoping the Chenoweth Hotel, El Paso, will let him in for a much-needed shower, a room and a couple of cold beers.
But a beautiful and wealthy woman with golden-brown hair, Dulcinda Farrar, mistakes him for a local, and offers him money to pick up a package for her. Jose goes along for the ride, but his playfulness is about to get him in trouble.
Just minutes after he's picked up the package, it disappears, and suddenly he has the border's toughest thugs on his tail. Jose knows how to round up a herd of cattle, but a classy blonde is going to prove more difficult . . . and more dangerous.
Dorothy B. Hughes was an acclaimed crime novelist and literary critic, her style falling into the hard-boiled and noir genres of mystery writing. Born in Kansas City, she studied journalism at the University of Missouri, and her initial literary output consisted of collections of poetry. Hughes' first mystery novel, The So Blue Marble, was published in 1940 and was hailed as the arrival of a great new talent in the field. Her writing proved to be both critically and commercially successful, and three of her novels - The Fallen Sparrow, Ride the Pink Horse and In a Lonely Place - were made into major films. Hughes' taught, suspenseful detective novels are reminiscent of the work of Elisabeth Sanxay Holding and fellow The Murder Room author Margaret Millar. In 1951, Hughes was awarded an Edgar award for Outstanding Mystery Criticism and, in 1978, she received the Grand Master award from the Mystery Writers of America. She died in Oregon in 1993.