In 1999, Edward D. Hoch received the Society's first Golden Derringer for Lifetime Achievement, followed by Henry Slesar (2000) and John Lutz (2001).
At his passing in 2008, with more than 900 published mystery & crime stories to his credit, Ed Hoch was considered the most prolific writer of the form. With the permission of his wife, Patricia Hoch, the Society resumed giving the Golden Derringer in 2009, renamed the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer. Its first recipient was Clark Howard.
The Society further honored Hoch in 2010, with induction to its Short Mystery Fiction Hall of Fame.
The Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer procedure was drafted by 2008–10 Vice President Jim Doherty and ratified by group vote. See Derringer Award results for the full record of recipients and acceptance remarks.
1) The Short Mystery Fiction Society (hereafter, the "SMFS") shall give an annual award for Lifetime Achievement, to be called the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer (hereafter, "the award").
2) The recipient of the award shall be selected by a special committee.
3) The committee shall consist of the following members:
a) The SMFS President, who shall serve as the committee's chair.
b) The SMFS Vice-President
c) The SMFS Derringer Coordinator
d) The SMFS Assistant Derringer Awards Coordinator
All of the above committee members shall serve for the duration of their terms of office.
In addition, there shall be two more committee members selected:
e) A Permanent Member, who shall serve for life or for as long as the member chooses to serve. The permanent member should be selected on the basis of long-standing membership in the SMFS (if possible a founding or charter member should be chosen), and broad knowledge of the mystery genre in general and the mystery short story in particular. The permanent member's function, in addition to being a voting member, is, first, to provide some long-term continuity to the committee, and, second, to bring to the committee a sense of historical perspective and institutional memory. The permanent member shall be proposed by the SMFS President, based on suggestions from members and the President's judgment, and shall be ratified by the general membership.
f) A member selected from the general membership, chosen at random from among those rank-and-file members volunteering for the position. This member shall serve for one year and shall ensure that the rank-and-file membership has some say in the selection.
4) a) The criteria for selecting a recipient should be having produced an impressive body of short crime fiction, and having made a major impact on the genre.
b) The award should be reserved for writers, not editors, who may be honored by other awards. Notwithstanding this, if a candidate, who is a writer, is also well-known as an editor, and his/her editing is part of what has made a major impact on the genre, the committee shall be free to consider this aspect of the candidate's career in making the selection.
c) Candidates who are better-known as novelists than as short story writers, but who have nevertheless produced an impressive body of short fiction, shall not be barred from consideration because they are primarily perceived as novelists.
d) The lack of recent productivity shall not be regarded as a bar to consideration, as long as the work produced when the candidate was active meets the criteria described above.
e) Only living candidates should be considered, with the exception that if a candidate was alive at the time deliberations began, but died while they were going on, in such a case the award might be given posthumously.
5) The deliberations of the committee shall be kept strictly confidential, and all members must agree to this, each year, prior to the beginning of deliberations.
6) Nominations from the general membership shall be encouraged. Nominations shall take the form of short essay of no more than 200 words, sent to the SMFS President, in his/her capacity as the chairman of the committee, OFF-LIST. It should not be construed, however, that the candidate who has the most nominations, or who is the subject of the best-written nomination, shall be chosen. The committee members shall seriously consider nominations from the general membership, but are free to ultimately choose any candidate they consider worthy, even if no one from the general membership nominated that particular candidate. In other words, nominations from the general membership are suggestions, not mandates.