Edward D. Hoch wrote hundreds of short stories. I’ve always harbored a fondness for Hoch’s “Nick Velvet” adventures. Nick Velvet is a master thief. But he’s a thief with a strange quirk: he only steals items that have no value. In The Velvet Touch Nick Velvet steals a bald man’s comb, an overdue library book, a menu, and several other seemingly valueless objects. These clever stories entertain and delight. Crippen & Landru should be praised for keeping these wonderful adventures in print. Don’t miss them.

23 thoughts on “FORGOTTEN BOOKS #44: THE VELVET TOUCH By Edward D. Hoch

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    I can’t believe it. My entire comment got wiped out!

    Anyway, all the Hoch collections from Crippen & Landru – indeed, all the Crippen & Landru collections – are worth getting. If you subscribe you get 20% off each book.

    /end commercial

    My favorite Hochs are the Dr. Sam Hawthorne impossible crime/historical ones, though I like the Velvets too. They’ve also published Ben Snow, Jeffery Rand and Michael Vlado collections by Hoch.

  2. Richard Robinson

    Good pick, George, the Velvet stories are terrific. I have read many of them and have this collection in the TBR. At least I think I do, I don’t see it right this minute.

    My quibble is this: it’s not really a Forgotten Book, it’s pretty new. It may indeed be an unknown book, but it doesn’t meet the older book criteria. Still, Patti probably won’t object so why should I?

    1. george Post author

      Evan’s comment is a great rejoinder to your quibble about FORGOTTEN BOOKS, Rick. I don’t really look at the publication date of the volume, I focus more on when the original material was published. It’s sad to consider there won’t be any more Nick Velvet stories.

  3. Jeff Meyerson

    What’s weird about the Simon Ark books was that there were two collections published by Leisure Books in 1971 – THE JUDGES OF HADES and CITY OF BRASS. Even though you rarely saw them here, for years I found them in bookstores all over England! I didn’t keep mine but I have read them.

    Can’t believe I forgot Ark, but then Hoch had so many characters it was easy to miss one.

  4. Todd Mason

    Well, Simon Ark was mostly published early in Hoch’s career, and aside from “The Oblong Room” I don’t think most of the stories have been widely reprinted…it so happens that my entry today deals with the MAGAZINE OF HORROR, where Hoch published at least one Ark story, iirc…Hoch’s “discoverer,” Robert Lowndes, being the editor of MOH.

    1. george Post author

      You’re right about the Simon Ark stories not being widely reprinted, Todd. I suspect that’s what makes those Simon Ark collections so pricey.

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