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Murder Is My Racquet: Fourteen Original Tales of Love, Death, and Tennis by Today's Great Writers (Original Tennis Mysteries) Hardcover – June 2, 2005

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Product Details

  • Series: Original Tennis Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press; First Edition edition (June 2, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892960159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892960156
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,565,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mystery maven Penzler's latest all-original sports anthology offers 14 mostly high-quality tales of the underside of lawn tennis, the traditional game of sometimes not so gentle men (and women). There's something to suit every taste, from the short and light (Daniel Stashower's "A Peach of a Shot" and Kinky Friedman's "Tennis, Anyone?") to grittier psychological stories (John Harvey's "Promise" and Robert Leuci's "A Killer Overhead"). In Lisa Scottoline's amusing "Love Match," the tennis-playing protagonist is just plain lucky to be in the right place at the right time. Set in the South in 1948, Stephen Hunter's gripping "Stephen Longacre's Greatest Match" provides a lesson in race relations when a young white man, a ne'er-do-well from a wealthy family, tries to redeem himself by taking on a poor black man as his doubles partner. Notable chiefly for its closing pun is David Morrell's "Continental Grip," about the baffling murder of a Sante Fe, N.Mex., tennis pro. Other top-rank contributors include Lawrence Block, James W. Hall, Peter Lovesey and Judith Kelman. This tome is the perfect companion to have in the bag for those rain delays at Wimbledon.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Booklist

^BPenzler, the venerable mystery editor and anthologist, has compiled several top-notch thematic anthologies (on boxing and baseball, for example). This time his thematic arrow misses the mark. Although most of these 14 original stories are good (and some are excellent), too few of them have any real connection to the game of tennis, which is supposedly the book's raison d'etre. Lawrence Block's contribution is a standout: a clever story about a tennis player with anger-management issues in which the game is integral to the story. On the other hand, Kinky Friedman's "Tennis, Anyone?" is only peripherally about tennis; it feels as though the game was inserted into the story to make it fit the anthology's theme. Tennis enthusiasts may be disappointed by the way their passion is given such short shrift; fans of mystery short stories, however, at least those for whom thematic relevance isn't so important, will be more forgiving. With James W. Hall, Mike Lupica, Lisa Scottoline, Peter Lovesey, and others, some of the genre's best are on display here, even if they don't seem much interested in tennis. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Otto Penzler (born July 8, 1942) is an editor of mystery fiction in the United States, and proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, where he lives.[1]

1 Biography
2 Works
2.1 Publisher
2.2 Series Editor
2.3 Editor (Recent Books)
2.4 Guest appearances
2.5 Awards
3 References
4 External links


Penzler, who graduated from the University of Michigan, is the co-author the "Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection: for which he won an Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1977. He also wrote 101 Greatest Movies of Mystery and Suspense (2000). For the New York Sun, he wrote The Crime Scene, a popular weekly mystery fiction column that ran for five years. He has worked with authors including Elmore Leonard, Nelson DeMille, Joyce Carol Oates, Sue Grafton, Mary Higgins Clark, Robert Crais, Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke and Thomas H. Cook.

He founded The Mysterious Press, a publishing house devoted entirely to mystery and crime fiction, in 1975. Among the authors it published (works published in America for the first time, not reprints) are Eric Ambler, Kingsley Amis, Isaac Asimov, Robert Bloch, James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler, Jerome Charyn, Len Deighton, James Ellroy, Patricia Highsmith, P.D. James, H.R.F. Keating, Peter Lovesey, Ed McBain, Ross Macdonald, Marcia Muller, Ellis Peters, Ruth Rendell, Mickey Spillane, Ross Thomas, Donald E. Westlake and Cornell Woolrich. In the 1980s it was publishing more than 100 books a year and the imprint was affiliated with major publishers in England (Century-Hutchinson-Arrow), Japan (Hayakwa Publishing), Italy (Mondadori) and Sweden (Bra Bocker). The Mysterious Book Club became a division of the Book of the Month Club and Mysterious Audios an imprint with Dove Audio.

After selling The Mysterious Press to Warner Books in 1989, he created an Otto Penzler Books imprint for Macmillan (later Scribner). He moved the imprint to Carroll & Graf, then to Harcourt (later Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). He also established the Otto Penzler Books imprint in London, first with Quercus, now with Atlantic/Corvus. He reacquired The Mysterious Press name from Hachette in 2009; it is now an imprint at Grove Atlantic.

Penzler founded The Mysterious Bookshop in mid-town Manhattan and after twenty-seven years moved to Tribeca. It is now the oldest and largest mystery specialist bookstores in the world.

In 2002, he hosted a television series of great mystery films for the Turner Classic Movies channel.

He has edited more than fifty anthologies of crime fiction of both reprints and newly commissioned stories, including the prestigious Best American Mystery Stories since 1997.

Penzler served on the Board of Directors of the Mystery Writers of America for fourteen years and was awarded the organization's Ellery Queen Award and a Raven (its highest non-writing award. He won a second Edgar for editing "The Lineup," a collection of profiles of famous detectives, written by their creators.

On April 8, 2010 Swann Galleries auctioned The Otto Penzler Collection of British Espionage and Thriller Fiction. The sale represented a select portion of Penzler's private library with works by Eric Ambler, Ian Fleming, Graham Greene, John Le Carre, William Le Queux, H. C. McNeile, E. Phillips Oppenheim, and Dennis Wheatley. Penzler also befriended many noted authors including Ambler, Ken Follett, John Gardner and others, who inscribed copies of their works. "British spy novels are among the greatest of all works in the mystery genre," Penzler said in the introduction to the Swann auction catalogue. "This is the first auction ever devoted entirely to this important literary genre."

Penzler lives in New York City and in Connecticut with his wife, Lisa Atkinson.

Otto Penzler Books. An imprint at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2005-2010).
The Armchair Detective Library. Reprinted classic crime fiction for collectors and libraries.
The Mysterious Press. Established in 1975. Sold to Time/Warner in 1989; reacquired by Penzler in 2009 and now an imprint at Grove/Atlantic.
The Armchair Detective. A quarterly journal for studies of mystery and suspense fiction (17 years).

Series Editor

The Best American Mystery Stories. Annual series since 1997, with guest editors. Writer Robert B. Parker wrote "Otto Penzler knows more about crime fiction than most people know about anything, and proves it once more in this brilliant anthology."
The Best American Crime Writing. Annual series since 2002, with Thomas H. Cook and guest editors.

Editor (Recent Books)

"The Big Book of Ghost Stories" (2012)
The Big Book of Adventure Stories (2011)
"Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop" (2010)
"The Greatest Russian Stories of Crime and Suspense" (2010)
"The Best American Noir of the Century" (2010)
"The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories: (2010)
"Agents of Treachery" (2010)
The Lineup: The World's Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives (2009)
The Vampire Archive (2009)
Black Noir: Mystery, Crime, and Suspense Stories by African-American Writers (2009)
The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps (2007)
Dead Man's Hand: Crime Fiction at the Poker Table (2007)
The Vicious Circle: Mystery and Crime Stories by Members of the Algonquin Round Table (2007)
Murder in the Rough (2006)
Murder at the Racetrack (2006)
Murder at the Foul Line (2006)
Murder is My Racquet (2005)
Dangerous Women (2005)
Murderer's Row (2001)
Murder On the Ropes (2001)
Best American Mystery Stories of the Century. Edited with Tony Hillerman. (2000)
Murder and Obsession (1999)
The 50 Greatest Mysteries of All Time (1998)
Murder For Revenge (1998)
Murder For Love (1996)
The Crown Crime Companion : The Top 100 Mystery Novels of All Time. Edited with Mickey Friedman. (1995)

Guest appearances

Author Lawrence Block wrote a Christmas story, "The Burglar Who Smelled Smoke", set in The Mysterious Bookshop, where Otto Penzler appeared in character.[2]

Author Elmore Leonard's novel, Up In Honey's Room, features an escaped World War II German soldier, a Waffen SS major named Otto Penzler.[3][4]


2010. Edgar Award from Mystery Writers of America. For The Lineup. Best Biographical/Critical Work
2003. Raven Award from Mystery Writers of America. As owner of Mysterious Bookshop.
1994. Ellery Queen Award from Mystery Writers of America. Contributions to mystery publishing.
1977. Edgar Award from Mystery Writers of America. For The Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection. Best Critical/Biographical Work.

External links

Mysterious Bookshop
Otto Penzler

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Betsie's Literary Page on July 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
June 27,2005

There's something for everyone in Penzler's anthology. From a tennis player with anger-management issues to Lisa Scottoline's "Love Match," to a baffling murder of a Sante Fe, New Mexico tennis pro.

Murder is My Racquet is a dark-suspense novel and an excitingly new way to read about the elite game of tennis. Murder and mayhem seeded deep within the world of aristocratic tennis. From eye-popping vile drop shots, to overhanging smashes, and butchering serves, this is certainly a side of tennis you've never encountered before.

Readers will get a first-hand glimpse and salty taste of ordinary human beings trampling over one another as they deal with the eminence of a high-strung race in becoming an international tennis star. No matter what your level of understanding is of the game, readers will learn of the many promotional opportunities these misfits may garner upon winning, the elimination of tournament competition, and the strategy of tennis in general.

Some of the genre's best are on display within the pages of Murder is my Racquet and just to name a few: Lawrence Block, James W. Hall, Stephen Hunter, Peter Lovesey and Judith Kelman. Tennis enthusiasts and mystery fans are sure to sink their teeth into this thematic compilation!

Reviewed by Betsie
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shelley Bush on September 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Murder Is My Racquet is an interesting collection of short stories revolving around the sport of tennis, including backyard tennis all the way to the U. S. Open. Usually thought of as a gentle sport, Otto Penzler gathers a collection of stories to change our minds. In "Terrible Tommy Terhume," we meet a good tennis star with a temper problem, but only on court. He goes to great lengths to change his personality. In "Six Love," a loving father tries murder to help his daughter become a champion only to have a surprise ending. In "Promise," a superstar tennis player is blackmailed, only to be shocked when she finds out who.

"A Debt to the Devil" begins with a surprising death which becomes ruled as being a break in. An investigator finds out the amazing truth. "Stephen Longacre's Greatest Match" is about a spoiled rich kid who gets into trouble. Instead of punishment, he must play in a tennis tournament, only to upset the whole country club. In "No Strings," a college tennis squad appears to be under a spell. Anyone who is better than Roy Duchamps gets hurt, one way or another. "A Killer Overhead" tells about a father's concern that is taken care of differently than expected. Death happens on Court Eleven in the short story "Needle Match." In "The Rematch," we learn of an umpire who gets his revenge. A tennis coach is murdered holding his racquet using his beloved Continental Grip in a story of the same name. "Close Match" is a story about a superstar tennis player trying to forget about being blackmailed. While playing tennis, two cops find a dead body in the park in "Love Match." The last story, "A Peach of a Shot," is about two couples playing tennis.

A fast paced book, Murder Is My Racquet, is an enjoyable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R S Cobblestone VINE VOICE on May 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As you would expect in a book with 14 authors contributing stories, there is variety here that is both irritating and exciting. The theme is tennis... matches, competition, scoring, and the underbelly of tennis "fandom" and playing... murder, extortion, and more.

Ironically, I bought this book for a tennis fan. It didn't grab her! But I found the stories enjoyable and entertaining. What is it I don't know?
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