Editor and publisher Ruth Cavin died Sunday in White Plains, N.Y., after a short illness. She was 92. For the past 22 years, Cavin was associate publisher of Thomas Dunne Books, where she acquired and edited some 900 books, mostly mysteries. Among the writers whose first novels Cavin published are Laurie King, Charles Todd, Steve Hamilton, Donna Andrews, and Julia Spencer-Fleming.
Cavin graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon) and married Bram Cavin, who also worked in publishing, primarily at Doubleday (he died last year). In the 1960s and ’70s, Cavin wrote or ghosted more than a dozen books, including children’s titles, cookbooks, and travel guides. She joined Two Continents Publishing as publicity director in the early 1970s. When that company was sold, she went to work at Walker and Company. It was then, at age 61, that she started her career as an editor. She joined Thomas Dunne around 1980, where she worked until just three weeks before her death.
Known as “The First Lady of Mysteries,” Cavin won numerous awards, including the Mystery Writers of America’s Ellery Queen Award, and the Poirot Award. She also published a variety of nonfiction titles, including the recent Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which sold over 200,000 hardcover copies in its first two years.