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The Thefts of Nick Velvet: Stories

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  69 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Thirteen stories of outrageous heists starring one smooth thief

The dictator of the island of Jabali wants a baseball team, and he doesn’t care how he gets it. He has assembled nine of the finest players on the island, and is about to hire Nick Velvet to steal him some competition. Ordinary thieves might not be up to pinching a whole ball club, but Velvet specializes in lif
ebook, 216 pages
Published November 26th 2013 by Road (first published 1978)
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Jason Speck
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Edward Hoch was a ridiculously prolific writer, with more than 800 short stories to his credit. This wonderful collection features Nick Velvet, a master thief with one rule: he never steals anything of value. No money, gold, paintings or jewels. What will he steal? In this collection of tales, a toy mouse, a Bermudan penny, and the water from a swimming pool, just for starters. Oh, and did I forget the baseball team? You will binge the stories and then want more, I promise.
Jan 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of stories that I ran across somewhere. Clearly, Lawrence Block was not the first to create the congenial thief, nor was Donald Westlake. Nick Velvet — he changed his name from Velvetta to avoid the obvious confusion — takes on rather bizarre assignments. In one case he was hired to steal — and keep — the water from a particular swimming pool. He learned later that the water was to be used as evidence by the daughter of the owner's first wife to prove that her stepfather had ...more
The idea of a thief who only steals worthless things is a fascinating idea, and these stories show some of the interesting things Hoch has done with his unique idea. These are puzzle stories, without a lot of character development or insight into life -- but some of the puzzles are very fun and interesting. I think "The Theft of the Onyx Pool" was my favorite: Nick being hired to steal all the water out of a swimming pool. It reflects what works in these stories best, a puzzle about how Nick can ...more
Linda Watson
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nick Velvet Short Stories

I have probably read all the stories before in Ellery Queens Mystery magazine but Hoch comes up with some amazing stories if Velvet stealing items of no value
Masayuki Arai
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simple and clever setting!
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Very enjoyable bingable procedurals.
Despite his having written about 1000 short-stories, I'd never previously heard of Hoch until I read his afterward to Ehrengraf for the Defense. Thankfully several collections of his stories are available for free on Scribd Premium[1]. This set are about Nick Velvet — a thief who steals to order, no questions asked (but only items of no value), for a flat fee of $20,000 a time ($30k if it's likely to be especially dangerous). Most of the time, in order to successfully actually carry out the thef ...more
Richard Mann
I love the Nick Velvet stories by Ed Hoch. Nick is a specialized thief; he only steals items of no value. Yeah, that's right, items of no value. And he charges a flat fee, $20,000 in the early stories. I believe the fee went up over the years.

The client's reasons for wanting these items stolen reveal the fertile imagination of Ed Hoch. Half the delight in these stories is finding it why they want the general's trash stolen (for example). The other half is in the genius of how Nick does it.

Michael Brown
Simple and easy to read tales about a thief who steals trash, water, pennies and lots of stuff that is only worth something to the client but has little real value otherwise. They are slightly silly and a bit dated (1960s and 70s ) but we see were Nick is in his nitch, known to various police and governments yet tolerated for his aid in solving more serious crimes while stealing a 99 cent toy windup mouse.
Despicable Me
Short stores, easy to read. A bit straightforward, so does not become boring. Each story presents a new surprise. It sort of is like the tree the Syracuse University professor made!
Jim Krotzman
Interesting. Concise writing.
David Houston
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think they did better being read one at a time in EQMM than collected together.

I do plan to buy more of this author's work.
Jan Moens
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Richard Mann
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Edward D. Hoch is one of the most honored mystery writers of all time.

* 1968 Edgar Allan Poe Award (Mystery Writers of America): "The Oblong Room", The Saint Mystery Magazine, July 1967
* 1998 Anthony Award (Bouchercon World Mystery Convention): "One Bag of Coconuts", EQMM, November 1997
* 2001 Anthony Award (Bouchercon): "The Problem of the Potting Shed", EQMM, July 2000
* 2007 Ellery Queen Readers

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