...The Big Book of Female Detectives is another amazement in a long line of doorstop anthologies that bid fair to being the final word on their subjects ... As usual with Black Lizard paperback volumes, The Big Book of Female Detectives is fat, oversized floppy monstrosity of a book, with extra-wide double-columned pages. It’s so flexibly bound that your copy will look like a First World War artifact after one week in your shoulder bag. But you’ll keep carrying it around until you’ve soaked up every last story. Otto Penzler knows exactly what he’s doing.
Most of the 74 stories Penzler has chosen are beyond cavil. The first 10 entries, originally published between 1864 and 1911, may not set your pulse racing, but they’re historically indispensable, and the tales by L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, and Richard Marsh will set many readers to searching for more stories featuring Florence Cusack, Lady Molly Robertson-Kirk, and Judith Lee.
Penzler’s entertaining eighth Big Book spans 150 years and assembles 74 stories featuring female sleuths from both sides of the Atlantic ... This is an essential volume for crime lovers of all genders.