(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.”


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Knight, Stephen Thomas. Crime Fiction, 1800-2000: Detection, Death, Diversity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Broad overview of the important trends and developments in two centuries of detective fiction. Argues that the genre becomes more diverse in tone and narrative technique in the twentieth century. Provides perspective on Hull’s works.

Morley, Christopher. Introduction to Murder with a Difference: Three Unusual Crime Novels. New York: Random House, 1946. Discusses Hull’s The Murder of My Aunt, which is reprinted here alongside novels by Gerald Heard and Patrick Hamilton.

Peach, Linden. Masquerade, Crime, and Fiction: Criminal Deceptions. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Extended study of the theme and portrayal of disguise and deception in mystery and detective fiction. Sheds light on Hull’s novels.

Shibuk, Charles. Review of Last First in The Armchair Detective 8 (February, 1975): 140. Review looks at Hull’s novel and analyzes its ability to stand the test of time.

Shibuk, Charles. Review of The Murder of My Aunt in The Armchair Detective 8 (Summer, 1980): 250. Another retrospective review examines Hull’s reception and contrasts it with his present reputation.

Slide, Anthony. Lost Gay Novels: A Reference Guide to Fifty Works from the First Half of the Twentieth Century. New York: Harrington Park Press, 2003. Contains a chapter analyzing The Murder of My Aunt with reference to its inclusion of gay characters.