Hugh Pentecost created a world of characters who, to his wide readership, are as familiar in their personalities and relationships as old friends. His characters are generally affluent, physically striking, urbane, intelligent, and articulate. Most of his series are set in New York City, with the specific setting featured in one series likely to appear peripherally in another. When the action called for a rural environment, Pentecost chose the vicinity of Lakeview—located in a New England state sometimes, though not always, identified as Connecticut. The issues treated in Pentecost’s work are usually defined in terms of right and wrong (with occasional moralizing—against drugs, for example), and although nice people sometimes die, virtue triumphs in the end. The writing is clear, the characters are both believable and likable, the plots are deviously complex, and the solutions seem both inevitable and surprising. Pentecost published his first short story in 1923, and by 1936 he had begun the prolific output of novels that, though unlikely to become literary classics, clearly contribute to the mystery and detective genre.


Axel-Lute, Melanie. Review of Past, Present, and Murder, by Hugh Pentecost. Library Journal 107, no. 21 (December 1, 1982): 2271. This Julian Quist series mystery looks at a case in which one of his PR firm’s partners disappears after the woman he is engaged to is raped and murdered. A traditional whodunit.

Bertens, Hans, and Theo D’haen. Contemporary American Crime Fiction. New York: Palgrave, 2001. Wide-ranging study of the contemporary scene in American crime fiction that provides perspective on Pentecost’s work.

Horsley, Lee. Twentieth-Century Crime Fiction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Comprehensive overview of the development of crime fiction in the twentieth century helps place the nature and importance of Pentecost’s distinctive contributions.

Pentecost, Hugh. Foreword to Cream of the Crime: The Fifteenth Mystery Writers of America Anthology. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1962. Pentecost’s foreword to this anthology of detective fiction demonstrates the types of writing he values in others and gives clues to his own writing process.

Pentecost, Hugh. Interview in The Armchair Detective. 13 (1980): 425-430. This brief interview discusses Pentecost’s life and his mystery and detective works.

Pentecost, Hugh. Interview in Writer’s Digest. May, 1981, pp. 14-15. A brief interview that sheds light on Pentecost’s work, characters, and concerns.

Rawlinson, Nora, and Barbara Hoffert. Review of Pattern for Terror, by Hugh Pentecost. Library Journal 114, no. 16 (October 1, 1989): 1680. Reviewer find this George Crowder series book to have plenty of action and good settings.