(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Richard Hull’s mysteries have won acclaim for their “acid bite,” their originality, their brilliant viciousness, and their credible exposure of the human capacity for self-delusion. They are marked by resoundingly unpleasant characters who are totally self-convinced, egotistical, and amoral, yet fascinating. They bring a sense of fun and amusement to the mystery story, mingling the comic and satiric with the gruesome, thereby adding an extra dimension to the traditions of the genre. Hull enjoys breaking formulas and reversing expectations time and again within a single work, and his clever and effective use of the inverted pattern with a final narrative twist assures that anyone who has read only the first half of one of his novels will seldom be able to predict the second half. In fact, the pattern Hull developed provides a highly successful model for imitators. Isaac Anderson of The New York Times calls Hull’s books “subtle, skillful and unusual,” while Will Cuppy calls for more mysteries by authors such as Hull, who writes with “the same kind of brains needed in other books—murderous fun of a high order.”