This dictionary evaluates 117 widely read historical and contemporary women mystery writers and over 1000 novels. From the sensationalist women mystery writers of the 19th century to the mid-1990s practitioners such as Margaret Maron, Karen Kijewski, and Sue Grafton, this work celebrates the contributions of women writers to mystery fiction, with an emphasis on contemporary writers. The dictionary also serves as a reader's advisory to frequently asked questions: Which novels shouldn't be missed? In what order should you read them? What other writers will you enjoy if you like a particular writer, setting or type of mystery? Signed interpretive and evaluative essays by 86 scholar-critics in the field are 4-5 pages in length and review the writer's work: the relationship among her novels, her place in the genre; recommendations of her best books; whether to read a series in order; and which novelists have similar settings, writing styles or reader appeal. A mystery bibliography and selected appendices conclude the volume.