Edgar Award-winning editor Otto Penzler's new anthology brings together the most cunning, resourceful, and brilliant female sleuths in mystery fiction. A Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original.
For the first time ever, Otto Penzler gathers the most iconic women of the detective canon over the past 150 years, captivating and surprising readers in equal measure. The 74 handpicked stories in this collection introduce us to the most determined of gumshoe gals, from debutant detectives like Anna Katharine Green's Violet Strange to spinster sleuths like Mary Roberts Rinehart's Hilda Adams, from groundbreaking female cops like Baroness Orczy's Lady Molly to contemporary crime-fighting P.I.s like Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone, and include indelible tales from Agatha Christie, Carolyn Wells, Edgar Wallace, L. T. Meade and Robert Eustace, Sara Paretsky, Nevada Barr, Linda Barnes, Laura Lippman, and many more.
Penzler's entertaining eighth Big Book (after 2017's The Big Book of Rogues and Villains) spans 150 years and assembles 74 stories featuring female sleuths from both sides of the Atlantic. The anthology carries bloat several women are but ancillary characters, and a section highlighting "bad girls" seems thematically incongruous but it also packs plenty of substance. Charlotte Armstrong's "Meredith's Murder" and Phyllis Bentley's "The Missing Character" illustrate the shrewdness of adolescents and elderly ladies, respectively. Mary Roberts Rinehart's "Locked Doors" makes a strong case for nurse detectives. Agatha Christie's "The Secret Adversary" firmly establishes the coequality of investigative duo Tommy and Tuppence. Mignon G. Eberhart's "Introducing Susan Dare" proves that manor-house mysteries can have high stakes and a ticking clock. Sara Paretsky tackles homophobia with "Strung Out"; Nevada Barr's "Beneath the Lilacs" argues for the subjective morality of murder"; and in Marcia Muller's "All the Lonely People," Sharon McCone the first fictional female PI written by a woman pillories dating culture while baiting a thief. This is an essential volume for crime lovers of all genders.