Diagnosis Impossible: The Problems of Dr. Sam Hawthorne by Edward D. Hoch

Crippen & Landru (first), 1996

Life just keeps getting easier. Publishers Crippen & Landru, sweeter-natured than their murderous namesakes, are providing gorgeous surprises for mystery lovers. Here we have a dozen of the best “Dr. Sam” stories by the ingenious Edward Hoch, attractively packaged with an afterword and chronology by Marvin Lachman and an introduction by the author (who is, to our joy, still authoring). Rather than scouring through anthologies and back copies of EQMM, here the stories are, ready to read and relish. Each is steeped in the history of early twentieth century America, and each is a perfectly plotted vignette in which an impossible event is neatly explained by Dr. Sam, physician and raconteur. Two favorites among a delightful set are “The Problem of the Covered Bridge,” — Dr. Sam!: “What is it?” “There are no tracks goin’ off the bridge! He came into it, but he didn’t leave it! Dr. Sam, where is he?” — and “The Problem of the Voting Booth,” in which one of the candidates for sheriff comes out of the voting booth, ballot in one hand, pencil in the other, and falls dead, stabbed with a knife that no one can find. Here’s a perfect gift for history buffs and mystery enthusiasts. (Jeanne M Jacobson)

Originally published in Issue # 145 – September/December 1996

Find in a libraryBuy a copy
Your purchases using these links help support this site through commissions.