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Edward D. Hoch: Available Collections

Edward D. HochEdward Dentinger Hoch (1930 – 2008) was an American writer of detective fiction. Although he wrote several novels, he was primarily known for his vast output of over 950 short stories. Hoch is the leading contemporary writer of true puzzle plot mysteries. He was also one of the greatest anthologizers of the locked room and impossible crime sub-genre, as well as the one who initiated the production of the top locked room mysteries list.

Hoch was born in Rochester, New York, and 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’, then 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 2007 the author had gone an astonishing 34 years without missing a single issue.

Other magazines Hoch wrote for included ‘Adventure’, ‘Double-Action Detective’, ‘Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine’, ‘Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine’, ‘The Magazine of Horror and Web Detective Stories’.

Hoch was a master of the classic detective story, emphasizing mystery and deduction rather than suspense and action; EQMM has called him “The King of the Classical Whodunit.” His stories are very well written and are usually tightly plotted puzzles, with carefully and fairly presented clues, both physical and psychological. He was particularly partial to “impossible crime” tales, where to all appearances the crime (usually a murder) could not have been committed at all; he 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, as crowds of witnesses watch both ends of the bridge. Hoch cited Graham Greene, John Dickson Carr, Ellery Queen and Jorge Luis Borges as influences on his fiction.

Hoch also published magazine stories under the names “Stephen Dentinger”, “R. L. Stevens”, “Pat McMahon”, “Anthony Circus”, “Irwin Booth”, “R. E. Porter”, “Mr. X” and the House Name “Ellery Queen”. In many cases he also had a story under his own name in the same magazine issue. Hoch also wrote a novel published as Ellery Queen, under the supervision and editing of Manfred Lee, half of the writing partnership known as Ellery Queen.

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

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

Source: Edited from Wikipedia: Edward D. Hoch

Dr. Sam Hawthorne Stories (72)

Dr. Sam Hawthorne is a retired family practitioner who is also a specialist in impossible murders. His tales are told as reminiscences of his small-town medical practice in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Sam Hawthorne tries to live a quiet life in the fictional New England town of Northmont, but wherever he goes someone always seems to die in a most improbable way.

First appearing in 1974, the Dr. Sam Hawthorne stories are carefully researched historical pieces, rich with period details about Sam’s cars, medical practices of the times, politics, and clothing. The stories of this series are among Hoch’s most humane tales: Sam himself is a cheerful fellow and tells his tales with humor, but his first-person narratives give readers a close look at his distress at the murders he investigates and his sympathy for the survivors. Because most of the tales take place in a single small town, the series has a larger-than-usual cast of recurring minor characters.

Diagnosis HochDiagnosis: Impossible –The Problems Of Dr. Sam Hawthorne (1996)
Dr. Sam Hawthorne Series

Available only in paperback and hardcover editions.


All twelve of these stories, set in the 1920’s are classic locked room masterpieces.

1. “The Problem of the Covered Bridge” (1974)
A man drives a horse and buggy into a covered bridge, never re-emerges, and is found dead miles away and hours later. 

2. “The Problem of the Old Gristmill” (1975)
How can a man who’s been dead for six months fill up a strongbox with journals, all of which evidently ooze through a one-eighth-inch hole leaving only a small deposit of sawdust behind?
3. “The Problem of the Lobster Shack” (1975)
 A magician – inside a small building watched by observers – is found murdered, bound hand and foot.
4. “The Problem of the Haunted Bandstand” (1976)
Right in front of the entire town, the mayor is stabbed to death and the killer disappears in a flash of light and a puff of smoke.
5. “The Problem of the Locked Caboose” (1976)
Valuable jewels are stolen from – and the dead body of a guard is found in a locked caboose, and there’s a dying clue – written in blood.
6. “The Problem of the Little Red Schoolhouse” (1976)
A schoolboy is kidnaped from a swing at recess – and his teacher has him under observation the whole time.
7. “The Problem of the Christmas Steeple” (1977)
A minister is murdered in the steeple of his own church, a place from which no one could escape unseen – and the only other person, a gypsy, who was there swears he didn’t do it.
8. “The Problem of Cell 16” (1977)
 An international criminal lives up to his nickname, “The Eel,” by escaping from the town’s brand-new jail, just the latest of “several daring escapes from police captivity.
9. “The Problem of the Country Inn” (1977)
Dr. Sam expresses it best: “Let me tell you a story… It’s the story of how William Stokes could have been killed yesterday mornin’ by a masked bandit who escaped through a bolted door.”
10. “The Problem of the Voting Booth” (1977)
A politician dies in the act of casting a vote: “Our eyes had not deceived us. Henry G. Oatis had been stabbed to death while alone in the voting booth, with no less than eight people watching from outside, and with a knife that seemed to have vanished into thin air”
11. “The Problem of the County Fair” (1978)
How does the body of a ne’er-do-well end up inside a metal time capsule – after Dr. Sam himself has viewed its contents and after it has been buried in front of hundreds of witnesses?
12. “The Problem of the Old Oak Tree” (1978)
An actor parachutes from an airplane and lands in a tree – and a few people think the tree strangled him; after all, it’s haunted.

For more information on these titles: Edward D. Hoch: Dr. Sam Hawthorne

impossible HochMore Things Impossible (2006)
Dr. Sam Hawthorne Series


Available in paperback and ebook editions.

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Fifteen more Dr. Sam Hawthorne stories, set in the 1920’s and 1930’s, all  classic locked room masterpieces.

1. “The Problem of the Revival Tent” (1978)

“Didn’t I ever tell you about the time I was almost arrested for murder?” Dr. Sam Hawthorne began….”Can’t blame the sheriff, though, ’cause it looked like I was the only one there when the murder happened. Just me and the victim, alone in a big tent.”
2. “The Problem of the Whispering House” (1979)
In a haunted house that whispers, Dr. Sam and a ghost-hunter witness the perambulations of a man who’s been dead for nearly a day.
3. “The Problem of the Boston Common” (1979)
A serial killer is poisoning his victims while they walk about on the street; the police know who he is but not what he looks like. Dr. Sam’s task: Determine how he dunnit.
4. “The Problem of the General Store” (1979)
A man is killed in his locked-down general store, and the only person there with the victim claims she’s innocent – and has a head bruise that suggests she just might be.
5. “The Problem of the Courthouse Gargoyle” (1980)
Right in the middle of a murder trial, the presiding judge is murdered; could the two events be related?
6. “The Problem of the Pilgrims Windmill” (1980)
When one man is badly burned and another dies in an old windmill, suspicion falls on the Devil. “No,” says Dr. Sam, “it was only the Devil that dwells within each of us.”
7. “The Problem of the Gingerbread Houseboat” (1981)
Four perfectly normal, sensible, middle-aged people take a houseboat out to the middle of a lake – and disappear. But nothing’s ever that simple.
8. “The Problem of the Pink Post Office” (1981)
An envelope containing a $10,000 negotiable bond is stolen, and seven people are instant suspects – including the sheriff and Dr. Sam himself.
9. “The Problem of the Octagon Room” (1981)
 Sheriff Lens is getting married, but the best man is definitely not the hobo found murdered in the nuptial chamber; a story that faintly echoes The Crooked Hinge and “The Norwood Builder.”
10. “The Problem of the Gypsy Camp” (1982)
Sheriff Lens is fit to be tied: Not only has he been assaulted, his assailant, a gypsy, has absconded to a gypsy encampment–which itself has managed to vanish into thin air, despite being under constant police surveillance, not to mention the little matter of a man dying of a bullet that evidently was never fired into his body.
11. “The Problem of the Bootlegger’s Car” (1982)
Dr. Sam gets caught in a crossfire between warring criminal factions, but is still able to solve The Case of the Vanishing Mobster.
12. “The Problem of the Tin Goose” (1982)
At the end of a barnstorming act, a plane makes a perfect landing, taxis to a stop, shuts down its engines, and the pilot is found murdered in the cockpit–yet no one else was seen to enter or leave it.
13. “The Problem of the Hunting Lodge” (1983)
When Dr. Sam’s parents pay him a visit, a wealthy man is found alone, murdered in a hunting lodge, with only one set of footprints, the victim’s, leading into it.
14. “The Problem of the Body in the Haystack” (1983)
A farmer is murdered and his body is found in a stack of hay that’s been under constant observation for hours.
15. “The Problem of Santa’s Lighthouse” (1983)
How can someone on one end of a building stab somebody else on the other end? Would it matter if you knew that, except at Christmas, “Santa’s Lighthouse” is called “Satan’s Lighthouse”?

For more information on these titles: Edward D. Hoch: Dr. Sam Hawthorne

Nothing ImpossibleNothing Is Impossible: 15 Further Problems of Dr. Sam Hawthorne (2014)
Dr. Sam Hawthorne Series

Available in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook

All fifteen of these stories are classic locked room masterpieces.

1. The problem of the Graveyard Picnic

2. The problem of the Crying Room

3. The problem of the Fatal Fireworks

4. The problem of the Unfinished Painting

5. The problem of the Sealed Bottle

6. The problem of the Invisible Acrobat

7. The problem of the Curing Barn

8. The problem of the Snowbound Cabin

9. The problem of the Thunder Room

10. The problem of the Black Roadster

11. The problem of the Two Birthmarks

12. The problem of the Dying Patient

13. The problem of the Protected Farmhouse

14. The problem of the Haunted Teepee

15. The problem of the Blue Bicycle

For more information on these titles: Edward D. Hoch: Dr. Sam Hawthorne

More Dr. Sam Hawthorne stories can be found on our

Uncollected Dr. Sam Hawthorne Page (30 titles)

Simon Ark Stories

Simon Ark was the protagonist of Hoch’s first published story and ultimately featured in 39 pieces of short fiction. Ark appears to be an ordinary man in his sixties, tall and stout, but many of the stories contain suggestions that he is actually over 2000 years old, a Coptic priest who travels the world looking for evil – specifically, Satan. However the immortality element is not played up in any way and remains incidental. Most of the Simon Ark stories have supernatural themes, though these crimes are always found to have been committed by mundane means.

City BrassCity of Brass
Simon Ark


Available in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook

Collection includes:

The Hoofs of Satan
City of Brass
The Vicar of Hell

For more information on these titles: Edward D. Hoch: More Locked Room

Simon ArkThe Quests of Simon Ark (1984)
Simon Ark


Available in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook

Stories in this volume include:

Village of He Dead
The Man from Nowhere
The Vicar of Hell (4 parts)
The Judge of Hades (5 parts)
Sword for A Sinner
The Treasure of Jack the Ripper
The Mummy from The Sea
The Unicorn’s Daughter 
The Witch of Park Place

For more information on these titles: Edward D. Hoch: More Locked Room

Judge HadesThe Judge of Hades & other Simon Ark Stories
Simon Ark


Available in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook

Collection includes:

The Witch is Dead
Village of The Dead
The Hour of None
Sword for a Sinner
The Judge of Hades

For more information on these titles: Edward D. Hoch: More Locked Room

Captain Leopold Stories

Captain Jules Leopold is a police detective, the head of the Violent Crimes Squad of the police department of an unnamed city in Connecticut. Along with his colleagues Lieutenant Fletcher and Sergeant Connie Trent, he is one of Hoch’s most conventional characters. The Leopold stories are police procedurals on the surface, showing the interaction of the officers as they investigate crimes, but the crimes themselves are frequently unusual and reflect Hoch’s skill at plotting and placement of clues. Source: Wikipedia

Of the nearly 100 Leopold tales, 19 were collected in Leopold’s Way (1985). The series represents roughly 10% of Hoch’s entire output. The majority of these stories are not locked room or impossible crime tales.

Leopolds WayLeopold’s Way
Captain Leopold


Available in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook

Note: Contains fives locked room titles:
The Oblong Room
The Vanishing of Velma
The Leopold Locked Room
A Melee of Diamonds
Captain Leopold and the Ghost-Killer (1974)

Also includes:
Death in The Harbour
A Place for Bleeding
The House of The Ferris
The Rainy-Day Bandit (1970)
The Athanasia League
End of The Day
Christmas Is for Cops (1970)
The Jersey Devil (1971)
Captain Leopold Plays a Hunch (1973)
No Crime for Captain Leopold (1975)
The Most Dangerous Man Alive (1980)

For more information on these titles: Edward D. Hoch: More Locked Room

The Nick Velvet Stories

Nick Velvet is a professional thief for hire, with only two rules: for a flat fee, he steals only objects of negligible apparent value, and the more impossible the theft, the more likely he is to accept the expensive commission. Since his first appearance in EQMM in September 1966, he has stolen such things as an old spiderweb (which he was then obliged to replace), a day-old newspaper, and a used teabag. His original fee for a theft was $20,000, raised to $25,000 in 1980!  Source: edited from Wikipedia

Thefts VelvetThe Thefts of Nick Velvet
Nick Velvet


Available in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook

Note: Contains two locked room titles:
The Theft from the Empty Room 
The Theft of the Bermuda Penny

Also included in ‘The Thefts of Nick Velvet’:
The Theft of the Clouded Tiger
The Theft from the Onyx Pool
The Theft of the Toy Mouse
The Theft of the Meager Beavers
The Theft of the Silver Lake Serpent
The Theft of the Seven Ravens
The Theft of the Mafia Cat
The Theft of the Crystal Crown
The Theft of the Circus Poster
The Theft of Nick Velvet
The Theft of the General’s Trash
The Theft of the Bermuda Penny

For more information on these titles: Edward D. Hoch: More Locked Room

Velvet TouchThe Velvet Touch
Nick Velvet


Available only in used paperback and hardcover editions.


Note: Contains two Locked Room titles:
The Theft of the Venetian Window (1975)
The Theft of the White Queen’s Menu (1983)

The Velvet Touch also includes:
The Ventures of Nick Velvet.
The Theft of the Sherlockian Slipper
The Theft of Nothing at all
The Theft of the Four of Spades
The Theft of Cinderella’s Slipper
The Theft of Gloria’s Ghost
The Wiles of the White Queen
The Theft of the Overdue Library Nook
The Theft of the Cardboard Castle
The Theft of the Faded Flag
The Theft of Leopold’s Badge
The Theft of the Bald Man’s Comb
The Theft of the Snake Charmer’s Basket
The Theft of the Birthday Candles

For more information on these titles: Edward D. Hoch: More Locked Room

Other Collections with Locked Room Stories

Night FriendThe Night, My Friend
Detectives: Various


Available in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook

Note: Only one locked room title: The Long Way Down 

For more information on these titles: Edward D. Hoch: More Locked Room

 Night PeopleNight People & Other Stories
Detective: Various


Available in paperback and ebook editions.

Book  eBook

Note: Only one locked room story: The Impossible ‘Impossible Crime’

For more information on these titles: Edward D. Hoch: More Locked Room

Hoch SherlockThe Sherlock Holmes Stories of Edward D. Hoch 
Sherlock Holmes


Available only in ebook edition.


Note: Only one locked room title: The Return of The Speckled Band

For more information on these titles: Edward D. Hoch: More Locked Room

Uncollected Locked Room stories in minor series

Edward D. Hoch authored at least 14 series of mystery stories, totalling over 950 stories. Many of his stories are still uncollected. Hoch’s uncollected locked room titles are all on our pages:  Edward D. Hoch: Dr. Sam Uncollected or Edward D. Hoch: More Locked Room. Included in these titles are uncollected locked room titles that appear in minor series, including: 

Jeffrey Rand
Jeffery Rand is a code and cipher expert, formerly with the Department of Concealed Communications of British intelligence. The Rand stories take place in exotic locations around the world, and frequently feature secret messages or codes.

Includes at least two uncollected locked room titles:
The Spy Who walked Through Walls
The Spy and The Snowman

For more information on these titles: Edward D. Hoch: More Locked Room

Ben Snow
Ben Snow features in a series of American Old West mysteries set around the start of the 20th century. Like the Dr. Sam Hawthorne series, these tales are carefully researched historical pieces, sometimes including real historical characters such as Butch Cassidy. Some of the best Ben Snow stories follow are “The Vanished Steamboat” (1984) “The 500 Hours of Dr. Wisdom” (1984) “The Trail of the Bells” (1985) “The Theft of Leopold’s Badge” (1991)

Includes only one uncollected locked room story: The Vanishing Steamboat

For more information on this title: Edward D. Hoch: More Locked Room

Sir Gideon Parrot
Sir Gideon Parrot (pronounced parroe) is Hoch’s humorous tribute to the detectives of the Golden Age of mystery fiction, particularly Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and John Dickson Carr’s Dr. Gideon Fell. These stories are gentle parodies of classic mystery devices, the ones so overused they have become cliches.

Includes at least two uncollected locked room titles:
Lady of The Impossible
The Flying Fiend

For more information on these titles: Edward D. Hoch: More Locked Room

The Interpol stories are an apparently discontinued series from the 1970s and 1980s. Interpol officers Sebastian Blue and Laura Charme investigated cases of international crime in Europe.

Includes at least two other uncollected locked room titles:
Interpol: The Case of the Modern Medusa
Interpol: The Case of the Musical Bullet

For more information on these titles: Edward D. Hoch: More Locked Room

Susan Holt
Susan Holt is a minor executive, in charge of promotions for a department store chain. She travels around the world making business deals and, incidentally, solving mysteries.

I have just discovered at that at least two impossible crimes are included in this series:
A Parcel of Deerstalkers (1995)
A Shower of Daggers” (1997) 

Awaiting review, not yet added to: Edward D. Hoch: More Locked Room

Stanton and Ives
Walt Stanton and Juliet Ives are two Princeton graduates turned international couriers that have appeared in newer stories, beginning with “Courier and Ives” in November 2002. The pair are often sent to pick up or retrieve an item, and end up picking up the mystery around it.

No known locked room titles.

Michael Vlado
Michael Vlado is the young king of a Romany (Gypsy) tribe in contemporary eastern Europe. The best stories in The Iron Angel, and Other Tales of the Gypsy Sleuth are “The Puzzle Garden” (1994) and “The Gypsy’s Paw” (1994)

No known locked room titles.

Alexander Swift
Alexander Swift, one of Hoch’s more recent creations, is an intelligence agent for General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War.

No known locked room titles.

Barney Hamet
Barney Hamet is a mystery writer who stumbles into real mysteries when he attends mystery conventions. Hamet also featured in Hoch’s 1969 novel The Shattered Raven.

No known locked room titles.

Al Darlan
Al Darlan is a private investigator whose appearances have been sparse. His last appearance was in the May 2008 issue of EQMM.

No known locked room titles.

Edward D. Hoch Bibliography

Locked Room 101: The Masters

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