Bad cozy mysteries are educational

Over the weekend, the kids and I hit the library. I’ve had a hankering for a nice, fun cozy mystery, so I browsed around and picked up one at random, pretty much because of the cover. I won’t give out the name of this unfortunate book to keep from embarrassing the author, but it’s probably nobody you know.

I started reading, and … well, oh my. It’s pretty bad when the detective commits almost as many crimes as the killer (and victim, in this case).

The premise is that the heroine runs a restaurant (like most culinary cozy heroines). She has the bad luck to find her shady business partner dead in the kitchen.

At this point, most books would go into the crime scene, the clues, all that jazz.

Not this one. The heroine and her sister grab the body and drag it into the alley behind the restaurant “so as not to ruin business”.

I was astonished at this, and utterly certain that this would come back to bite them. So I kept reading in suspense.

640px-FoodApplePie
Apple pie via Wikimedia Commons

The heroine’s lowlife sister steals the dead man’s wallet and goes on a shopping spree with his credit card, leaving a plain trail for the police. This puts the spurs to the heroine to solve the mystery before the cops close in.

Continually astonished at the stupidity of these characters, I kept reading, waiting for the hammer to fall.

The body disappears, then reappears in a lake up the road. The investigation begins. The heroine is sweating bullets. The suspense mounts. Clues contradict each other and many secrets come to life as the suspects sing like canaries. Typical mystery stuff.

And then … the killer is found. And for some reason, the cops stop asking questions about who moved the body, and they quietly stop investigating the credit card fraud.

WHAT.

I got all the way to the end.

No consequences for the heroine and her sister’s asinine actions. The police just drop everything. Tampering with a crime scene is a felony! Credit card fraud is a felony! There should have been some kind of repercussions, but … just … nothing.

I got on Goodreads and found that a lot of people threw the book at the wall over this. I also learned that in book 2, the heroine steals the victim’s car. So … I think I’m done with this series. The detective can’t run around committing crimes and getting away with it. If she’d had to pay a fine, at LEAST, I would have bought it. But … just getting away scot-free?

Let that be a lesson to you, authors. Don’t let your characters get away with anything. Let them make bad choices, sure, but then let the consequences come back to bite them. Otherwise, readers will be throwing your book at the wall and saying nasty things on Goodreads.

Here are some other cozies you should read instead:


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