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June 7, 2014

So these are a few of my least favorite things:

Poor proofreading.  It probably should be a minor annoyance, but for me it’s more than that.  After the first couple of errors, I find myself asking why the copy editor was so lax.  Did the editor find the book so uninteresting that he/she barely read it?  That makes me wonder why I’m wasting my time with it.

When one character calls another with vital information but refuses to disclose it over the phone, saying that they have to meet.  In every case, the caller will be murdered before the next chapter.  This ruse has appeared in so many mysteries that it’s a device well past its prime.  The reader knows that if only the caller had been willing to tell what he/she knew, which ostensibly is the reason for the call, the novel would end there and then.  But this way there will have to be another hundred pages or so before the detective figures it out.

When the bodies keep piling up.  When in doubt, kill someone.  That seems to be the mantra of some authors today, as if a higher body count makes the book better or more frightening.  Not true.  One perfect crime is all it takes to tell a good story.

Print too small/lines too close together.  This complaint, I know, is due to my age, but I’ve come to the point of checking the publishing house before I buy/borrow a book.  There are two publishers whose books I don’t read because the format is so difficult, at least for me.

However, enough complaining.  The good news is that there are so many excellent mysteries published every month that, with a little care, one can avoid all the above annoyances and get on with the enjoyment of reading a good book.




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