Book of the Week: ‘The Big Book of Female Detectives’

The Big Book of Female Detectives

Otto Penzler (editor)

2018, 1115 pages

Mystery/short stories

This large volume is a treasure trove of mystery short stories featuring female detectives and crime solvers. It is arranged chronologically in sections starting with The Victorians and Edwardians (British) and ending in modern times. There are some authors that you might recognize: Agatha Christie, Sue Grafton and Nevada Barr. And some names that might not be as familiar: Edgar Jepson, Robert Eustace and Ethel Lina White.

I especially liked one by Grafton – “A Poison That Leaves No Trace.” It has a terrific twist at the end. And “The Tea-Leaf” by Jepson and Eustace is a mystery with a very unusual murder weapon. The weapon disappeared after the murder, but there was no one there to take it away. A female scientist is the one who discovers the solution. There are tales of suspense and ones of revenge, dark mysteries and stories with happy endings.

This is a great way to find new mystery authors. You could read through the stories as they are listed, or pick a time period, or just an intriguing title. This hefty collection (1115 pages!) has something for every mystery reader. And each mystery has a female sleuth who solves the crime.

Robbin Bailey Concord Public Library

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Author: Insider Staff

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