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View Full Version : Worst mystery novel/story you've ever read?


La Llorona
11-10-2005, 03:30 AM
For me, it's this atrocity (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0440119448/102-9209455-3343329?v=glance&n=283155&n=507846&s=books&v=glance), which I can say without a doubt is the most boring, non-mysterious, non-intriguing mystery novel I've ever read in my life--not even worth the fifty cents at the used bookstore. :(

So what about you? Share your wrath!

twickster
11-10-2005, 07:10 AM
It's never a good sign when the title is missing an apostrophe.

Luckily, I don't feel compelled to finish books that begin badly, so I don't have anything to contribue.

Annie-Xmas
11-10-2005, 07:17 AM
Sue Grafton. I'm convinced there's a special place just waiting for her in hell.

astorian
11-10-2005, 08:34 AM
Well, I KNOW there are hundreds, maybe thousands of terrible mystery writers out therew whome I've never heard of, and whose books I haven't read. Most of them are undoubtedly FAR worse than the guy I'm about to name.

Still, Isaac Asimov was a piss-poor mystery writer, when he tried his hand and that genre. By far the worst of the famous mystery authors I've read.

I don't think he had much talent as a stylist in ANYY genre, and he had NO talent for characterization in any genre, but he usually had nteresting ideas and plots in his work in science fiction. His mysteries failed on EVERY level.

Peter Morris
11-10-2005, 08:44 AM
Anything by John Creasey in any of his 28 aliases.

RealityChuck
11-10-2005, 09:42 AM
Still, Isaac Asimov was a piss-poor mystery writer, when he tried his hand and that genre. By far the worst of the famous mystery authors I've read.

I don't think he had much talent as a stylist in ANYY genre, and he had NO talent for characterization in any genre, but he usually had nteresting ideas and plots in his work in science fiction. His mysteries failed on EVERY level.Not as puzzle stories, which they are: they set forth a puzzle and come up with a solution that was always fair but not obvious. The Black Widowers are all good mysteries, since they're all good puzzles, and his Wendell Urth stories are among the best blending of SF and mystery written.

sj2
11-10-2005, 01:51 PM
Kay Hooper - Hunting Fear = utter poo

Elizabeth Lowell - Moving Target = so crappy I had to hold my nose.

I couldn't finish the Lowell book. I got it from Audible so I feel very peeved. So much chatter from her dead daughter. Ick. And to have a great narrator have to read this garbage was just the poo-icing on the cake.

Luckily, I get books for a dime to a buck so no great loss.

Interrobang!?
11-10-2005, 03:13 PM
Loaded Dice, the fourth Tony Valentine novel by James Swain. The whole series is poorly written and researched dreck. (In the first book, Swain gets American time zones backwards, asserting that it's earlier in Florida than in Vegas.)

But it's kind of fun for a while, considering that each book takes maybe two hours to read and includes inside info on busting casino scams, something Swain used to do.

The fourth book, however, is just as ham-fisted, but also throws in a gratuitous link to terrorism and al Quaeda. It's one of the few books I finished where I was just mad at the author for writing it.

Scissorjack
11-10-2005, 05:03 PM
Sue Grafton. I'm convinced there's a special place just waiting for her in hell.

Right next to Sara Paretsky and Ruth Rendell.

Rube E. Tewesday
11-10-2005, 06:11 PM
Right next to Sara Paretsky and Ruth Rendell.


A mystery fan who doesn't like Ruth Rendell. Let us swear eternal friendship.

My own candidate would be something with a title like "The Half-Hearted Detective". The whole gimmick was that the detective had had a heart attack, and had to be really careful lest he have another one. That brilliant device apparently absolved the author from having to come up with a decent dialogue, believable characters, or an interesting mystery.

I used to devour mysteries -- now I haven't read one in years. Probably from reading too many like that.

Sampiro
11-10-2005, 06:17 PM
Does Da Vinci Code count?

Otherwise, The Linz Testament (http://www.lewisperdue.com/book-covers/linz-testament.shtml) (which actually has similar themes).

Marley23
11-10-2005, 06:37 PM
Does Da Vinci Code count?
Even if it doesn't, I'll second that nomination.

panamajack
11-10-2005, 06:44 PM
Otherwise, The Linz Testament (http://www.lewisperdue.com/book-covers/linz-testament.shtml) (which actually has similar themes).

Or even worse, also by Lewis Perdue (and also with similar themes), The Da Vinci Legacy. I read a re-issue which apparently was 'updated' for modern times (set in 2012, now). It's almost funny to see some of the more obvious modifications (like Vietnam becoming Desert Storm). But it's more 'crappy suspense/thriller' than 'crappy mystery'. The 'mystery', such as it is, is vaguely sketched near the start, and then explained in a lengthy prisoner death speech during which even the hero checks his watch (and no, not ironically).

It made me think that if Dan Brown did steal from him, he at least made it more entertaining.

Exapno Mapcase
11-10-2005, 09:28 PM
Not as puzzle stories, which they are: they set forth a puzzle and come up with a solution that was always fair but not obvious. The Black Widowers are all good mysteries, since they're all good puzzles, and his Wendell Urth stories are among the best blending of SF and mystery written.
Yeah, but his one real mystery novel was Murder at the ABA, a snoozefest if ever there were one.

John Creasey's Gideon series started off quite well, although he wrote too many of them too much the same. I also had a liking for his Toff series when I was younger, though I have no idea if they would hold up today.

I am evidently that rare mystery fan who hates, hates, hates Lord Peter Wimsey. I really have no idea of whether the books are any good or not. I just want to strangle that twit with my bare hands.

But for true lead weights on the eyeballs boredom, try the classic British mystery writer John Rhode. Few people have heard of him today and for very good reason. Even though he wrote 140 mysteries, usually four a year under a variety of pseudonyms, he was the dullest writer I've ever tried to slog through. Apparently none of those 140 books are in print in the U.S. or even in the U.K. Admittedly, even the best classic writers are next to impossible to find if their last name isn't Christie, but here's a rare instance of taste on the part of both publishers and the buying public.

Hello Again
11-10-2005, 09:37 PM
I can't remember the title* but it was by Patricia Cornwell. I do remember that I traded an *extremely cheesy* SF novel for it (Lucifer's Hammer) on a train and subsequently felt entirely ripped off. It was so overwrought and wordy and had ridiculous dialogue.

I won't make that mistake twice.


*It may have been From Potter's Field

Scissorjack
11-11-2005, 01:29 AM
A mystery fan who doesn't like Ruth Rendell. Let us swear eternal friendship.

I'm not that wild about P. D. James either: if pressed, I'll admit to believing that crime fiction - and yes, I know about Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie et al. - is not a genre that women excell at.

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