Thursday, August 07, 2014

Bibliomysteries, ed. by Otto Penzler

Otto Penzler, founder of the Mysterious Press and New York City's Mysterious Bookshop, has been 
collecting first editions of mysteries for over forty years. His collection of more than 50,000 volumes, and his vast knowledge of the mystery field, has helped in the compilation of the first annotated bibliography devoted to bibliomysteries. Bibliomysteries includes first editions of mystery fiction set in the world of books, 1849-2000.

Admittedly, this is not a book for the casual mystery reader. Most of us are not looking for the first editions of mysteries. But, it's a beautiful, fascinating book. "In order to qualify as a bibliomystery, a book, library, bookshop, book collector, manuscript, or book collection must be a significant element of a novel or short story." It's a comprehensive listing, in alphabetical order by author.

Remember, though, that it's a listing of bibliomysteries, so not every book by an author will be listed, unless they all take place in the world of books. For instance, there are only two Robert B. Parker titles, The Godwulf Manuscript and Looking for Rachel Wallace. One involves the search for a priceless stolen illuminated manuscript. The other involves the protection of an author as she attends book and publishing-related events. Both titles, in their American and British editions are included.

Penzler has also included more than 130 full-color photographs of rare dust jackets or covers, along with ones that he found interesting. For someone who loves mysteries about books, the entire book is interesting. The introduction explains the decisions made for exclusion or inclusion of books, as well as the reason that the book includes books only up to 2000. (Later books are easy to find, and Penzler doesn't view them as very interesting bibliographically.)

Bibliomysteries is truly a book for the collector, but those who love mysteries dealing with the book world will find it fascinating.

Bibliomysteries, ed. by Otto Penzler. The Mysterious Bookshop. 2014. ISBN 9781613160664 (hardcover), 149p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I bought a copy of the book.

Note: The fall edition of Janet Rudolph's Mystery Readers Journal will be devoted to Bibliomysteries. Mystery Readers Journal is a quarterly thematic mystery Journal. Each issue contains articles, reviews, and author essays on a specific theme, as well as special columns and other mystery related material. Journals run an average of 80 pages. So, if you're interested in more recent mysteries set in the world of books, watch for it!


ckubala said...

Definitely going to find Bibliomysteries. It sounds fascinating.

I love Janet Rudolph's Mystery Readers Journal and have been waiting for a redo on Bibliomysteries. Can't wait to get that Fall edition though I'm currently enjoying the Extreme Weather edition.

Lesa said...

I'm with you, Carol. Big fan of Mystery Readers Journal. I have to say Donis Casey's article in the Extreme Weather edition scared me to death. I can see why she's more comfortable in Arizona.

Kaye Barley said...

and this is a book I cannot wait to get a hold of!!