The So Blue MarbleBy: Hughes, Dorothy B. (female)
Publisher: Dell Publishing Co. (100)
Place of Publication: New York, NY
Catalog #: Kelley Box 275: PS3515 .U268 S6 1940
Contributor: P. Hults
GeneralEra: 1940s Author as on Cover: Dorothy B. Hughes Geographic Locale: New York City Date of Publication: 1940 | Original Date: 1940 Setting: urban, with a few scenes in upstate New York Motives: greed; inside the very blue marble is a map leading to a secret cache containing untold riches -- gold, rubies, diamonds, emeralds, and other precious gems. It also holds the secrets of the power of the sun and gravitation. The evil trio will do anything to obtain the marble.
While walking home from an evening at the theater, Griselda Cameron Satterlee is accosted by a pair of mysterious twins, one fair, one dark. Although she has never seen them before, they claim to know her well. They are looking for a very blue marble possessing arcane powers and they believe she knows where it is. They will stop at nothing, even murder, to acquire this treasure. The twins turn out to be part of an evil trio involving Griselda's younger sister. Griselda, along with help from her estranged husband and the mysterious upstairs neighbor, struggles to stop the carnage created by the quest for the blue marble.
Griselda Cameron Satterlee adult female, beautiful, clothing designer, former movie star
David Montefierrow adult male, strikingly handsome, dark eyes, black hair, mirror image of his twin brother, Danny
Danny Montefierrow adult male, strikingly handsome, blue eyes, blonde hair, mirror image of his twin brother, David
Missy Cameron adolescent female, very small but beautiful, hair the color of lemon ice
Mr. Grain adult male, tubby little man with a waxed mustache, building superintendent
Kerrigan adult male, watchman at a bank
Nesta Fahney adult female, beautiful, movie star
Con Satterlee adult male, tall and bony, nice horsey face, wise gray eyes, government agent
J. Antwerp Gigland "Gig," adult male, not very tall, nondescript hair not combed very well, round gray eyes, spectacles, professor
Ann Stepney adult female, smart dresser, always perfectly turned out, tall, good looking, rich wife
Inspector Tobin adult male, plainclothes police inspector
walking canes with concealed knives in the tips; bludgeoning
Level of Violence
the threat of violence underlies the entire story. Griselda's actions are largely driven by fear of violence to herself or others. Dead bodies are described rather circumspectly. Some altercations between individuals are detailed, but the level of violence is low-key by current standards and is mostly implied. There are four murders, but most of the action does not focus on the actual murders.
Griselda still loves Con, her former husband, but has no hope that they will reunite. The level of description is implied, and forms a very minimal part of the book.
relatively progressive; the main character, Griselda, takes an active role in resolving the conflict. She is self-supporting with a career. Her sister, Missy, a young girl, is violent and aggressive. The third sister, Ann, is more traditional as the pampered rich wife, but she is held somewhat in contempt by Griselda for this. The male characters play more traditional roles. Sexist attitudes do not play a major role in the plot.
the characters all seem to be Caucasian, although that is not explicitly stated. There is no mention of race.
the characters drink alcohol socially and frequently. Drinking is portrayed as part of the sophisticated life and the characters drink daily. The female villain, Missy, appears drunk once.
after the first murders, policemen question the suspects and subsequently appear occasionally, but play no significant role in resolving the murders.
the characters live in a privileged world of money and sophistication. There is little depiction or acknowledgment of lives other than the rich and famous, except for minor appearances of characters such as the housekeeper.
Greed/ New York (N.Y.)/ Murder
the twins and the sister are sinister with an air of potential violence. This atmosphere of potential violence permeates the novel and the main character, Griselda, operates in continued fear of the twins and her younger sister. The blue marble becomes an obsession with more than one of the characters.