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Ruth Cavin, the “First Lady of Mysteries,” dies

The Associated Press is reporting that Ruth Cavin, an editor at the Thomas Dunne Books imprint of St. Martin’s Press in the U.S., has succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 92. Cavin was in her sixties when she started editing mystery novels, but her skill and output garnered her the unofficial title “First Lady of Mysteries.”

From the AP:

Her many authors included Laurie R. King, Charles Todd and Steve Hamilton. Sue Grafton once called her a “soul mother to mystery writers,” while Todd marveled that his kindly, white-haired editor liked to loosen up after hours with a Marlboro and a bottle of Budweiser.

Among her honors was an Ellery Queen Award in 1988, given by the Mystery Writers of America to “outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry.” In her office at St. Martin’s was a plaque naming her the “First Lady of Mysteries.” Publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin, an industry veteran and longtime friend of Cavin’s, called her the “nicest person on the planet.”

Cavin also wrote books of her own, sometimes using the pen names Sallie Brody and Jenny Soble.