Saturday, May 3, 2008


You might just need the June, 2008, issue of's their memorial issue for Ed Hoch, and includes reminisces from a number of writers and editors along with one of the last stories, though not the last, in Hoch's unbroken string of contributions to every issue since 1973 (Hoch had contributed regularly going back into the '60s, after first selling to Robert Lowndes's magazines in the late '50s). I met him at the 2001 World Crime Fiction Convention, the BoucherCon, in the Virginia DC suburbs only weeks after 9/11, and he was a complete gentleman, as everyone else's testimony seems to agree (you don't get too many criticisms under these circumstances, but the worst I've ever heard about him was that he tended to include one of his own stories in the volumes of the series of the Year's Best CF stories he edited for a couple of decades...may this be the worst anyone can say about any of us).

Hoch's story in the issue is made slightly unbelievable by featuring an insurance detective who chooses not, at this late date, to have a cell phone of his own, though it's a decent example of what Hoch did; Peter Lovesey likewise contributes a typical, not the best, example of his usual work, unbelievable but amusing enough in its tale of a Regular Bloke sucked into impersonating a thug, who manages to do so Very Well indeed; things look up with a typically unmelodramatic Clark Howard and an amusing conceit involving a Nero Wolfe wannabe (in a world where there already is a Nero Wolfe in the copious flesh) by Loren D. Estleman. That's as far as I've gotten with the fiction, so far, but as usual Bill Crider and Jon Breen's columns are helpful, deft, and could be longer.

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