Funeral in the Fog

Edward D. Hoch. Crippen & Landru, $22 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-936363-48-3
The 16 ingenious stories in this memorable collection from MWA Grand Master Hoch (1930–2008) feature the colorful and enigmatic Simon Ark, who claims “to have traveled the earth for close to 2000 years in search of Satan.” Despite that supernatural mission, Ark is adept at coming up with rational solutions to all manner of impossibilities. Along with the unnamed narrator, an editor at a New York publishing house, Ark brings his intellect to bear on conundrums such as how a rock star can disappear from a glass elevator and how a knife that vanished in midair a century earlier could have returned to claim a life. In the atmospheric and baffling title story, Jason Bloomer fears being murdered by someone, or something, capable of strangling “a person without even touching them.” Bloomer, a resident of New York’s Putnam County, witnessed such a killing in Java six years earlier. The prolific Hoch is without peer at devising hundreds of variations on the puzzle mystery while fairly disguising clues, even in the short-story format. More Ark collections would be welcome. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 12/29/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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