Otto Penzler, The Mystery Man

Mr. Otto Penzler is a celebrated publisher and editor of mysterious fiction. He also is the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop, which recently celebrated its 31st anniversary on April 13, 2010. As a publisher and editor he founded The Mysterious Press in 1975, which was later sold to Time/Warner Book Publishers and recently reacquired by him. He has published The Armchair Detective, an Edgar winning quarterly devoted to mystery and suspense fiction, for seventeen years. Mr. Penzler still publishes The Armchair Detective Library, which reprints classic detective fiction for collectors and libraries. He also continues to publish books through his very own publishing firm, Otto Penzler Books. Mr. Penzler currently has imprints at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the United States and Atlantic Books in the U.K., publishing authors such as Thomas H. Cook, Andrew Klavan, Thomas Perry and Joyce Carol Oates.

Throughout his years within this industry he also wrote a weekly column, “The Crime Scene,” for The New York Sun. One of his own titles includes 101 Great Movies of Mystery and Suspense, and he has published a number of mystery collections for some very well-known authors. Mr. Penzler’s tremendous contribution to the publishing and editing industry has enabled for his work to be recognized and for him to win a variety of awards for his works. In 1977, he won an Edgar Award for the Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection. The Mystery Writers of America gave him the prestigious Ellery Queen Award in 1994 for his exceptional contributions to the publishing field. He was also honored with its highest non-writing award, the Raven, in 2003. In 2010 he won the Edgar Award from Mystery Writers of America again for The Lineup.

Even though Mr. Penzler has won all of these awards, he has been the Series Editor of The Best American Mystery Stories of the Year since 1997. He also has been a co-series editor of The Best American Crime Writing, which has been an annual series since 2002. Mr. Penzler’s most recent work includes a century’s worth of noir fiction that he edited along with James Ellroy titled, The Best American Noir of the Century.

-Sydney Alston


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