Edward D. Hoch was and is the undisputed master of the mystery short story. His total output of published short fiction hovers just under 1,000 stories (estimates are in the neighborhood of 960 stories). Hoch (pronounced "Hoke") is best remembered for his fair-play and impossible crime short stories, particularly the series featuring Dr. Sam Hawthorne, a small-town physician who unraveled seemingly impossible "problems" in 1920s New England. His other popular series characters included British Intelligence codebreaker Jeffrey Rand and thief-for-hire Nick Velvet.
While a vast majority of Ed Hoch's stories were mysteries, he enjoyed horror and science fiction. Of his nine-hundred-plus output, he wrote several handfuls of horror and science fiction stories that appeared in various magazines and anthologies. It could be argued that his first published story, "Village of the Dead" (which appeared in the December 1955 issue of the pulp magazine Famous Detective Stories), is as much horror as it is a mystery. In that story, the mass suicide of an entire village is investigated by Simon Ark, a mysteriouspossibly two-thousand year oldCoptic Priest.
Here, then, are 31 tales of the future, the fantastic, and the improbable by a master of the craft: Edward D. Hoch, writer extraordinaire!
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