Barney Hamet

Created by Edward D. Hoch
Pseudonymsinclude Stephen Dentinger, Ellery Queen, R.L. Stevens, Anthony Circus, R. E. Porter and Pat McMahon

It was so quiet you could hear a name drop…

The Shattered Raven by Edward D. Hoch is a 1969 paperback original revolving around  a murder at the Mystery Writers of America’s annual Edgar Awards Banquet in New York City, with various well-known mystery writers (and known accomplices) dropping in for cameos. The book isn’t shy about naming names.

It’s all a bit of an in-joke, what with many actual mystery writers mentioned and plenty of Mystery Writers of America trivia. The main character is BARNEY HAMET, the MWA vice-president , a former private eye turned writer who;s churning out a couple of novels.

The Shattered Raven‘s not exactly hard-boiled, but a fun read. Even the name-dropping is enjoyable, albeit a little dated now.

It’s also dated, but a little more contemporary is Barney’s only other appearance, in a 1983 short story, “Murder at the Bouchercon,” in which Barney attends attending Bouchercon XIV in New York City. Just like the title says, somebody gets bumped, and once again Barney has to rely on his detective skills to discover the culprit.

For author Ed Hoch, it was a return to form. The scarily-prolific writer wrote over 700 short stories in his long, long career, and was the only writer in the mystery genre since the death of the pulps that I know of who’d been able to support himself as a full-time freelance writer of mystery short stories. Wanna catch the latest story by Hoch? Just pick an issue of Alfred Hitchcock or Ellery Queen–chances are one of his stories will be in there. Among his many creations are upper New York State cop Captain Leopold, master thief Nick Velvet, crime-solving gypsy Michael Vlado and 2000-year old Coptic priest Simon Ark. He’s also written a series of P.I. stories, featuring gumshoe Al Darlan. In 2000, Hoch received The Eye, the Private Eye Writers of America‘s award for lifetime achievement.


Among those making an appearance:

  • Rex Stout
  • Charlotte Armstrong
  • “Kenneth Millar and his wife, Margaret”
  • Fred Dannay (“one half of Ellery Queen”)
  • Clayton Rawson
  • Otto Penzler
  • Chris Steinbrunner
  • Donald Westlake
  • Mary Higgins Clark
  • Phyllis White



  • “Murder at the Bouchercon.” November 1983, EQMM)
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

Leave a Reply