Dear Miss Snark,
Well, I started researching agents today and came upon a crucial question that I don't believe has been asked before.
Now, I know better than to address something 'Dear Agent.' But this person doesn't have a listed phone number, AND their first name is androgynous- let's say Pat. Patricia? Patrick? No idea. No phone number, so I can't ask.
Is it terribly inappropriate to address it "Dear Agent Pat Bellbottom"? And if it is, how should I handle this, since there's no phone number for me to call?
Dear Pat Bellbottom is fine. However, there's one step missing in your sleuthing process. Google the agent's name. Chances are you'll come up with some sort of bio from a writer's conference, a PW article, a media bistro article, something, that uses a pronoun.
I do this ALL the time when I'm getting ready to fling myself upon new editors. Actually I do it to all editors before I query I cause I still remember in vivid detail the horror on a colleague's face when I referred to an editor as 'she' and that was wrong wrong wrong. The only thing that kept me from self-defenestration was that I'd actually not called the editor yet.