Chronicling mystery series written by women, this successor to a volume published in 1994 contains a master list of more than 500 authors, more than 675 series characters, and nearly 3,600 titles. The author, an avid mystery reader herself, has turned an avocation into a career with forthcoming volumes on detecting men and kids (books for young adults)
The major portion of this oversize volume is a master list arranged alphabetically by author name, including a short biography and bibliography in narrative form for each writer. The primary detective in each series is briefly identified. Dorothy Gilman's Emily Polifax is described as a "New Jersey grandmother and CIA agent," for example. Titles in each series are listed by publication date, and awards won are noted where appropriate. Their place in the series is indicated by a numeral found next to boxes that are meant to be used as a checklist
The rest of the book arranges the information from the master list in different categories. Readers can search by mystery type (police procedural, amateurs, or private investigators), character, setting, title, or author pseudonym. The volume also includes a chronology of mysteries by decade. It is interesting to see the increase in female mystery writers over the years. Heising also lists 25 short story anthologies, awards and organizations, other resources such as reference books and periodicals, concluding the text with a glossary, a bibliography, and an index
"Detecting Women 2 Pocket Guide" ($14.95, 0-9644593-2-9) is a list of authors, characters, and titles intended as a handy reference source for trips to the bookstore or library. Since both volumes are organized as checklists, they are most useful for home use. Public libraries with ample mystery circulation might find the larger volume useful for collection development or patron browsing. The second edition of "By a Woman's Hand: A Guide to Mystery Fiction by Women" (Berkley, Sept_. 1996, paper, $12, 0-425-15472-6) covers more than 300 writers but does not include complete lists of their works. The first edition of this book was reviewed here ["RBB" Je 1 & 15 94].