It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of a good 60,000 books must be in want of a very big house.
At some point in the mid-1980s, Otto Penzler, the indefatigable founder and proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop, the Manhattan store specializing in fictitious tales of crime and espionage and whodunits of a high order, could no longer ignore the evidence: His personal collection of first editions had outgrown his office, and cartons containing the overflow were stashed in a pal’s garage. They needed a room of their own.
“I was hoping to buy a place in the country large enough to hold all those books,” said Mr. Penzler, 79, who is also the founder of The Mysterious Press, a publishing company, and the editor of numerous anthologies. The latest, “The Big Book of Victorian Mysteries,” is due out Oct. 19.
Sharon, Conn., and on Sunday afternoon we picked up The New York Times, looked in the real estate section and there was an ad for property in Kent,” Mr. Penzler recalled. “I asked, ‘Where’s Kent?’”
It was just 20 minutes down the road.
The couple made a last-minute appointment with the broker, and fell in love with the area as they drove to their destination. Buying the eight-acre property was a foregone conclusion.
The design of the house was similarly preordained. When Mr. Penzler was a preadolescent living with his family in straitened circumstances in the South Bronx, he and his best friend, a boy named Ted Kvell, were leafing through a magazine and came upon an ad featuring an imposing stone manor flanked by a pair of turrets.
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