Hoch, Edward D.

Website: http://www.hycyber.com/MYST/hoch_edward_d.html

Edward Dentinger Hoch (born February 22, 1930 in Rochester, New York) is a prolific American writer of detective fiction. Although he has written several novels, he is primarily known for his vast short story output.

Hoch (pronounced hoke) began writing in the 1950s; his first story appeared in 1955 in Famous Detective Stories and was followed by stories in The Saint Mystery Magazine. In January 1962 he began appearing in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. In December 1962 he kicked off his most successful collaboration, with the appearance of his first story in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine; in the years since EQMM has published over 450 of Hoch's stories, roughly half of his total output. In May 1973 EQMM began publishing a new Hoch story in every monthly issue; as of May 2004 the author has gone an astonishing 31 years without missing a single issue.

Hoch is a master of the classic detective story, emphasizing mystery and deduction rather than suspense and fast action; EQMM has called him "The King of the Classical Whodunit." His stories are usually tightly plotted puzzles, with carefully and fairly presented clues, both physical and psychological. He is particularly partial to "impossible crime" tales, where to all appearances the crime (usually a murder) could not have been committed at all; he has invented numerous variants on the locked room mystery popularized by John Dickson Carr and others. For instance, in "The Second Problem of the Covered Bridge", a man is shot at close range while alone on a covered bridge, while crowds of witnesses watch both ends of the bridge.

Hoch has also published magazine stories under the names "Stephen Dentiger", "R. L. Stevens", "Pat McMahon", "Anthony Circus", and "Mr. X". In many cases he also had a story under his own name in the same magazine issue.

In 2001 Hoch was named a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America, the first time a Grand Master was known primarily for short fiction rather than novels.

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