One of the very best mystery writers of our time is gone.
Ed Hoch, author of nearly a thousand mystery short stories, died suddenly this morning, according to Janet Hutchings, editor of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.
Hoch wrote traditional puzzle mysteries in a wide variety of settings and featuring a diverse roster of detective characters. Hoch’s stories had strong plotlines, were intellectually stimulating, and played fair with the reader (openly presenting all the clues to the solution while still managing to fool the reader). Since the early 1960s he wrote at least one story per month for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, along with numerous other publications, and appears to have been the only author to make a living strictly by selling short stories during the past half-century.
His work was not overtly ambitious, but Hoch gave little insights into human life in everything he wrote, and the accumulation of his observations over time is a laudable intellectual accomplsihment.
According to all who knew him, Hoch was a likeable, kindly man, just as one would deduce from reading his stories.
Hoch was a giant of the mystery form, an entertaining and artful writer, and a great blessing to the American culture.