Tuesday, August 25, 2009

By a Woman's Hand

By a Woman's Hand: A Guide to Mystery Fiction by Women
by Jean Swanson and and Dean James [809.387 Swa]

This is one of my favorite mystery-fiction reference books, but the library has it available for checkout. By a Woman's Hand: A Guide to Mystery Fiction by Women provides brief biographical descriptions of 262 different female authors of mystery fiction (running the gamut from cozies to police procedurals to thrillers). Each "blurb" highlights the author's best-known works as well as some of her best critically-received works, and concludes with a concise "If you like this author's works, you may like the following authors as well..." The book commentaries provided brief but helpful plot descriptions. The back of the book includes a guide to recommended anthologies featuring mysteries by women authors, and index to series characters, an index by regional geographic settings (New England, Midwest, Pacific Northwest, etc.), and an index by the type of sleuths these authors write (Artists, Journalists, Police, Older Sleuths, Teachers, etc.). The original volume came out in 1994 -- so don't expect to find any of today's "newer" authors profiled. But for fans looking for some of the classic authors of mystery fiction, this is an indispensible volume still valuable after all these years. [Note: A second volume was released in 1996 but is not in the Lincoln City Libraries' collection. It is available through our InterLibrary Loan service. The same authors also produced Killer Books: A Reader's Guide to Exploring the Popular World of Mystery and Suspense in 1998.] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.

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