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Creator / Edward D. Hoch

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Edward Dentinger Hoch (February 22, 1930 – January 17, 2008) was an extremely prolific American mystery writer, predominantly of short stories.

Series characters created include:

  • Nick Velvet, Gentleman Thief
  • Captain Leopold, Police Procedural
  • C. Jeffery Rand, spy
  • Simon Ark, Occult Detective
  • Sebastian Blue and Laura Charme (Interpol)
  • The Alexander Swift series
  • Ben Snow, cowboy detective
  • Dr. Sam Hawthorne, a solver of impossible crimes
  • Michael Vlado, the king of a Gypsy tribe
  • Al Darlan, Private Eye

Works by Edward D. Hoch include:

Other works by Edward D. Hoch provide examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: The stories featuring Sir Gideon Parrot are parodies of classical mystery writers like John Dickson Carr (creator of Sir Henry Merrivale and Dr. Gideon Fell) and Agatha Christie (creator of Hercule Poirot).
  • Amateur Sleuth: Sam Hawthorne is a small-town doctor.
  • Character Overlap:
    • Private detective Al Darlan and police officer Jules Leopold debuted in the same 1957 story, "Jealous Lover", before going on to successful separate careers.
    • "The Theft of Leopold's Badge" features both Leopold and Nick Velvet.
    • The Ben Snow story "The Problem of the Haunted Teepee" also features Sam Hawthorne.
    • The Jeffery Rand story "The Spy and the Gypsy" also features Michael Vlado.
    • Hoch also wrote Sherlock Holmes pastiches, and the Nick Velvet mystery "The Theft of the Sherlockian Slipper" indicates that Holmes was real person in the Hoch-verse.
  • Death in the Clouds: Combined with Locked Room Mystery in "The Problem of the Tin Goose". A Ford Trimotor touches down and the pilot is found stabbed to death at the controls, alone in the locked cockpit.
  • High Turnover Rate: Mayors in the Dr. Sam Hawthorne mysteries died in various impossible manners.
  • Historical Detective Fiction:
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming:
    • Stories featuring cryptanalyst Jeffery Rand tend to be titled "The Spy and the [noun]".
    • The Dr. Sam Hawthorne stories are all titled "The Problem of [location]".
    • The Nick Velvet stores are titled either "The Theft of the [object]" or (more rarely) "The The Theft from [location]".
  • Locked Room Mystery: Quite a few of his stories, with Dr. Sam Hawthorne getting one per story.
  • Nostalgic Narrator: Sam Hawthorne, as an old man, narrates the adventures of his younger self.
  • Private Detective: Al Darlan.
  • Ten Paces and Turn: "An Early Morning Madness" features a pistol duel.
  • This Bear Was Framed: In the Sherlock Holmes pastiche "Return of the Speckled Band", the killer injects snake venom into the victim using a pair of hypodermics tied together to simulate a snakebite.