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Otto Penzler’s collection of mystery, crime, suspense, espionage, and detective fiction was generally regarded as the best in the world. The result of decades spent obsessively acquiring the best and rarest books in the field, its unique contents and immense scope will never be replicated. In late 2018, this magnificent library was disassembled and sent to auction, scattering its precious volumes across the globe.
Now, the man who compiled it tells the story of the collection—and of his career as a collector—through the anecdotes surrounding some of its key titles. Featuring tales of dogged pursuits, chance discoveries, and all sorts of adventures in the world of books, these are the memoirs of “gentle madness” (to borrow Nicholas A. Basbane’s elegant term). But they are also the chronicles of a life’s work, as the book collection grew alongside Penzler’s other burgeoning enterprises—most importantly, The Mysterious Bookshop.
Illustrated with photographs from the collection, and enlivened by the author’s reminiscences of booksellers, fellow collectors, and writers he’s encountered along the way, Mysterious Obsession offers a unique perspective of not only crime fiction, and not only book collecting, but of the literary life as a whole as experienced by one of its greatest proponents.
Relating the stories surrounding the acquisition of key titles in the collection, these memoirs also tell of a life spent in the world of books—including anecdotes about the authors, booksellers, and fellow collectors encountered along the way. Anyone interested in collecting or in the history of The Mysterious Bookshop won't want to miss. Signed Hardcover, $40.00.