The total number of mysteries reviewed in monitored publications declined overall from 2009 to 2010, but the percentage of mysteries by women authors reviewed was slightly higher than in the previous year.
The New York Times Book Review held fairly steady, with about one third of mysteries reviewed having been written by women authors. The total number of mystery reviews in the Washington Post and Toronto Globe and Mail were down, but the percentage of reviews of books by women authors was up slightly, totaling 31 percent and 37 percent respectively. As in 2008, local newspapers reviewed fewer mysteries than the national newspapers, and women had a smaller share of them, totaling 31 percent, up slightly from 2008 and 2009.
In prepublication review sources, women authors fared better, with percentages up across the board. Kirkus devoted 54 percent of its mystery reviews to books by women writers. As usual, Booklist lagged, but increased from 37 percent in 2009 to 39 percent in 2010.
The news was not so good in genre publications. Ellery Queen published more reviews overall and raised the percentage of books by women reviewed slightly, but male authors still had a three to one advantage. In Deadly Pleasures, women authors got the smallest share of reviews in years, receiving 29 percent of mystery review coverage. As usual, Romantic Times reviewed more mysteries by women than men, but that percentage fell to 69 percent, down from 78 percent in 2009 and 82 percent in 2007 and 2008.
Though there is no complete figure for the percentage of published mysteries written by women, of the 775 full-length adult mysteries submitted by publishers for 2010 Edgar Award consideration, 48 percent were written by women.