Simon Ark was the protagonist of a series of short stories by Edward D Hoch
Simon Ark looks to be an ordinary man in his sixties but he claims he is actually over 2000 years old, a Coptic priest who travels the world looking for evil—specifically, Satan. It is said that he is cursed by God, that when Jesus carrying the cross wanted to rest, Ark refused him rest and in turn has never known rest himself, doomed to wander the globe forever. The narrator of the Ark stories, Simon's publisher, believes that the immortality story is just something Simon came up with to make himself sound mysterious, but he does admit that Simon has not visably aged in all the years he has known him. The immortality element is not played up in any way and is just incidental to the stories.
The Simon Ark stories have supernatural themes, although the crimes in them are always found to have been committed by mundane means.
The Simon Ark stories contain examples of:
- Amateur Sleuth: Simon claims to be a Coptic priest. Of course, he also claims to be 2000 years old, and searching for works of the devil. What he finds is usually more mundane.
- Locked Room Mystery: Many of the stories involve some kind of variation on the locked room mystery. The implication is usually that some sort of occult forces are involved. The reality inevitably turns out to be something much more mundane.
- Occult Detective: This is what Simon claims to be, or at least claims to be trying to be. It's not really his fault that the mysteries he uncovers aren't really all that occult after all, now, is it?
- Scooby-Doo Hoax: The series was using this as a standard device before the trope namer was born.
- Serial Killings, Specific Target: In "The Avenger from Outer Space", a killer makes a carefully planned series of murders look like the work of a local lunatic.
- Wandering Jew: Simon claims to be over 2000 years old and says that he was cursed by God for refusing to allow Jesus to rest while he was carrying the Cross. Whether this is true, a delusion, or an elaborate deception on Simon's part is left as an exercise for the reader.
- The Watson: Simon's publisher, who is also the narrator, fills this role.