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Otto Penzler

Otto Penzler is a publisher, editor, bookseller, television host, and writer who is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable and influential members of the crime writing community. He is the founder of The Mysterious Press, a publishing house entirely devoted to mystery and crime fiction, and The Mysterious Bookshop, which after thirty-four years remains the largest and most successful book store of its kind. Penzler also founded MysteriousPress.com, which is devoted to electronic publishing of backlist and original mystery fiction.

Penzler is the co-author, with Chris Steinbrunner, of the Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection, for which he won the Edgar Allan Poe Award, given by the Mystery Writers of America, in 1977. He is editor of The Lineup, which was selected by the New York Times as one of the Ten Best Books of the Year and won the Edgar Allan Poe Award in 2010. In all, Penzler has edited more than seventy anthologies of crime fiction, both of reprints and newly commissioned stories, including the prestigious Best American Mystery Stories of the Year. His 2012 title, In Pursuit of Spenser, was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award.

Penzler’s weekly column for the New York Sun, “The Crime Scene,” ran for nearly five years, while his monthly column for Hayakawa Mystery Magazine in Japan has run for twenty-seven years. On television, he was the host of a series of great crime films for the Turner Classic Movies channel.

Penzler served on the Board of Directors of the Mystery Writers of America for fourteen years. His awards and honors include the Romance Writers of America’s Publisher of the Year Award; the Mystery Writers of America’s Raven Award (its highest-non-writing award); and the Ellery Queen Award (for lifetime achievement).

Online Resources


Selected Bibliography

The Best American Mystery Stories 2013 (with Lisa Scottoline) (2013)
The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries (2013)
The Best American Noir of the Century (with James Ellroy) (2010)
The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps (2007)
The Best American Mysteries of the Century (with Tony Hillerman) (2001)
The Great Detectives (1979)