Edward D. Hoch

Edward D. Hoch was an American writer of over 900 mystery stories and detective fiction. Hoch was renowned for his mastery of the short story form and was often referred to as the "King of the Puzzle Mystery" due to his skill in creating intricate mystery plots.

Edward Dentinger Hoch was born in Rochester. He studied at the University of Rochester and began writing crime fiction as a teenager.

Hoch published his first story, Village of the Dead, in the December 1955 issue of Famous Detective Stories. During his five decades of literature career, Hoch created many unforgettable series of characters, such as a police detective Captain Leopold, a small-town family practitioner Dr. Sam Hawthorne, Simon Ark, and Ben Snow, who have all come across one or two crimes of the impossible variety.

His most popular sleuth was Nick Velvet, a professional thief engaged to steal a bewildering array of things for his clients.

Hoch played myriad variations on the locked-room theme, impossible disappearances, and other miraculous mysteries. In his story The Vanishing of Velma (1969), a woman disappears from a moving Ferris wheel. In The Problem of the Candidate’s Cabin (2004), a murderer is placed in a locked cabin containing only the lately departed and a caged chimpanzee.

Edward D. Hoch wrote a few novels, among them three science-fiction titles starring a team of futuristic sleuths: The Transvection Machine (1971), The Fellowship of the Hand (1973), and The Frankenstein Factory (1975). Under the pen name Ellery Queen, he wrote The Blue Movie Murders (1972).

His writing appeared in numerous mystery magazines. He contributed to Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine for several decades.

In an essay, The Pleasure of the Short Story, Hoch explains why he prefers mysteries "in which the reader is given a clue or hint well in advance of the ending. As a reader, I find the greatest satisfaction in spotting the clue and anticipating the author. If I overlook it, I don't feel cheated—I admire the author's skill!"

Hoch appeared in every issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (hereafter, EQMM) from May 1976 until his death. He also won numerous awards for his writing, including the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Edward D. Hoch died at home in Rochester of a heart attack aged 77.


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