Otto Penzler Squared

Otto Penzler, editor, writer, and bookshop owner, is the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop located in Tribeca.  His contributions to the genre of mystery and suspense literature are outstanding, and he is recognized as an exceptional member of the publishing field in general.

Born in 1942, Mr. Penzler is nothing less than a household name for mystery lovers.  He has won several prestigious awards, including two Edgar Awards (one in 1977 and another in 2010), the Raven Award in 2003, and the Ellery Queen Award in 1994, all from the Mystery Writers of America.  His editing credits include, among many others: The 50 Greatest Mysteries of All Time (1998), Dead Man’s Hand: Crime Fiction at the Poker Table (2007), The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives (2009), and Black Noir: Mystery, Crime, and Suspense Stories by African-American Writers (2009).  He was the founder of The Mysterious Press, which he sold and recently reacquired, created the publishing firms of Otto Penzler Books and The Armchair Detective Library, and has imprints at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Atlantic Books.  He was also the writer of a weekly column for The New York Sun, called “The Crime Scene,” which lasted for five years.

Mr. Penzler has also written about noir fiction for The Huffington Post, saying:

“Noir fiction has attracted some of the best writers in the United States (mostly) and many of its aficionados are among the most sophisticated readers in the crime genre. Having said that, I am constantly baffled by the fact that a huge number of those readers don’t seem to know what noir fiction is. When they begin to speak of their favorite titles in the category, they invariably include a preponderance of books and short stories that are about as noir as strawberry shortcake.”

He continues with the idea that “Noir is about losers.”

(For more on his opinions of noir fiction, this is a pretty neat Q&A: Library Journal w/ Otto Penzler)

Mr. Penzler also wrote 101 Greatest Movies of Mystery and Suspense, and is the Series Editor of The Best American Mystery Stories of the Year, which features guest editors such as Joyce Carol Oates, James Ellroy, and Sue Grafton, and is the co-Series Editor of Best American Crime Reporting.  He now lives with his wife in New York and Connecticut.

~~ Logan Hasson


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