Otto Penzler: The books are gone, the memories live on

Publisher/author/bookstore owner Otto Penzler is in the process of selling the world-class collection of first-edition and vintage mystery novels and thrillers that once filled the library of his home in Kent. Photo by Cynthia Hochswender

KENT — As a young man, fresh out of college and living in New York City, Otto Penzler got the idea that he wanted to read a book called “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.”

He went to a bookstore and was told it was out of print.

Penzler didn’t know what that meant. He was directed to a dense concentration of used bookshops on 4th Avenue.

“Twelve blocks, 96 bookshops,” he said recently in the living room of his home in Kent.

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