A reference guide to mystery fiction
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The number of women writing mysteries continues to grow, as this volume attests. Following up on the success of Detecting Women (1995) and Detecting Women 2 [RBB Jl 96] (which Bleiler calls "a monumental achievement)," the guide now covers approximately 4,000 titles in 815 mystery series written by 690 women who were alive in 1998. Alphabetically arranged author entries are provided in the "Master List," each including a brief overview and a list of series characters and titles. The 225 authors who are new to this edition are identified; they include Ann Livesay, a geologist whose series is set in such exotic locales as the Amazon and the Great Barrier Reef; Sujata Massey, whose award-winning first novel, The Salaryman's Wife (1997), introduced a series featuring a Japanese American antiques dealer; and Caroline Rowe, whose detective is a "1350s blind physician and bishop" in Spain. Information is quite current, even covering some new books and series planned for 2000 and 2001, although Ruth Rendell's 1999 Inspector Wexford mystery Harm Done is not here.
The Master List is followed by indexes of mystery types, characters, and settings. A title chronology groups books by publication year, beginning in the 1940s. There are also an alphabetical list of titles, a guide to pseudonyms, a list of awards, a bibliography, and a general index. Appendixes list authors who were dropped (primarily because they have died) and titles that have been eliminated because they are not part of a series or were never published, among other reasons. This volume provides the most comprehensive coverage by far of contemporary women mystery writers. A companion, Detecting Men, was published in 1998 [RBB Ap 15 98].
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Detecting Women is beautifully designed and laid out and comes in hardcover, so it stands proud on your shelf, ready at hand. I suppose someone could put all this on a CD-ROM that offers a complete search function, but I can't imagine why. It would work just as well as the book, but denies the reader the pleasure of spinning the pages and discovering new authors by accident. -- The Rock Hill, SC, Herald, Bill Peschel
Detecting Women is definitely on the case when it comes to the mystery genre. Mini-biographies featuring tidbits about nearly 700 of today's women mystery authors make it as interesting as a well-plotted mystery. -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Oline Cogdell
Do we even have to tell you how useful this book is? If you're a die-hard fan or a mystery newbie, you need this book. With 225 new authors, you have a lot to learn, and a lot of reading to catch up on. -- Lambda Book Report, Deborah Peifer
Willetta L. Heising's indispensable guide (also available in hardcover and pocket guide editions) and its companion, Detecting Men, have become as important a part of my social baggage as the Internet Movie Database, and all are equally effective in putting pompous quasi-experts in their place. -- Chicago Tribune, Dick Adler
You'll be happy to learn that the answers to just about any question you might have involving crime fiction penned by living women are to be found in the new edition of Detecting Women, a remarkable reader's guide. -- The Los Angeles Times, Dick Lochte
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