Monday, December 23, 2013

Hoch and Tinseltown

Edward D. Hoch (1930-2008) produced volumes of cinematic stories which Hollywood has almost entirely ignored:
As prolific as Edward D. Hoch was—with over 900 short stories to his credit—the movie and TV media have made virtually no use of his output. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) lists just 9 films derived from his works (9/900 = 1 percent). No more eloquent testimony against the obtuseness of Hollywood can be adduced. — Mike Tooney, MYSTERY*FILE (4 December 2011)
Another Ellery Queen like feature of Hoch's tales: his ability to make the criminal be someone the reader has never suspected. Hoch has repeatedly surprised me with ingenious choices of murderer, someone in the tale that did not fall under suspicion. Yet these choices are always fair, someone present in the tale, and with clues pointing towards the criminal's identity. This is especially hard to do in the space of a short story. One can bury a murderer far more easily in a 200 page novel than in a 20 page short story. Hoch has also come up with some surprising motives. They too are often far removed from the conspicuous motives discussed in the body of the story; yet also fairly present and clued. — Mike Grost, GAD Wiki
Hoch was 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 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. — Wikipedia ("Edward D. Hoch")
Resources:
- "Cop of the Year" (1972), IMDb.
- "Freefall to Terror" (1973), IMDb.
- "The Man without a Face" (1974), IMDb.

Category: Detective fiction

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