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Otto Penzler: Man of Mystery

Otto Penzler's Contributions to Mystery Book Publishing


Otto Penzler and Joyce Carol Oates at the Edgar Awards

Otto Penzler and Joyce Carol Oates at the Edgar Awards

Matthew Peyton / Getty Images Entertainment
Bookseller, publisher, editor, author--Otto Penzler wears many professional hats, but all are... mysterious. That is, Penzler's bookselling and book publishing career revolves around the mystery genre. Penzler's contributions to mystery book publishing include his being:
  • Publisher of The Armchair Detective, the Edgar-winning quarterly journal devoted to the study of mystery and suspense fiction, for seventeen years
  • Founder and publisher of The Mysterious Press
  • Creator of publishing firms Otto Penzler Books and The Armchair Detective Library
  • Series Editor of The Best American Mystery Stories of the Year at Houghton Mifflin
  • He is also the co-Series Editor (with Thomas H. Cook) of the annual Best American Crime Reporting (Ecco/HarperCollins)
  • Editor of his own imprints at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the U.S. and Atlantic Books in the U.K.
  • "The Crime Scene" columnist for The New York Sun for five years
  • Writer of a number of mysteries
Through his writing and publishing, Penzler has worked with such venerated mystery and suspense authors as Robert B. Parker, Sue Grafton, Ed McBain, Donald E. Westlake, Lawrence Block, James Ellroy, Michael Connelly, Nelson DeMille, Scott Turow, Carl Hiaasen, George Pelecanos, and Jeffery Deaver and even Joyce Carol Oates.

Over the years, Penzler has won numerous awards from the Mystery Writers of America, including the Ellery Queen Award (for his exceptional contributions to mystery publishing), and more than one Edgar® Award (1977 for his Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection; in 2010 for The Lineup: The World's Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Detectives.) and the Raven Award (for his work as owner of the Mysterious Bookshop).

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