Mean girls and their ingenious female creators top my mysteries and thrillers list this year. Maybe it takes the special discernment of a female writer (who's presumably suffered through the "Queen Bee and Wannabee" cliques of middle school) to really capture the cruel mental machinations that can hide behind a pair of shining eyes and a lip-glossed smile.
It's ironic to recall that American pulp detectives used to dismissively refer to women as "frails." Those tough guys wouldn't dare use that term about the women in — or authors of — some of these books. They'd be garroted with their very own Y chromosomes faster than you can say "Nancy Drew."