The selection was not very good, and I wound up buying a "cozy" mystery mostly out of pity for the owner. It was a terrible book. Well Read, Then Dead by Terrie Moran is set in the Florida keys and the amateur sleuth is the co-owner of a bookshop/cafe who investigates a book club member's murder in an incredibly boring fashion. At the end, she does the thing that I detest the most in mysteries -- goes off to meet someone who sent her a cryptic note about the crime in an isolated location all by her lonesome and naturally winds up in danger. Jeez. I threw it away.
Last month I tried a few historical mysteries and wound up disliking every single one. Mr. Churchill's Secretary had intriguing background around WWII London, but the 21st-century attitudes, lack of character development, and absurd plot ruined it for me. Reviewers who disliked it said, "If you want a much better historical, try Jacqueline Winspear", so I did. Maisie Dobbs was set in 1929 London and featured the most dour heroine I've ever encountered. As my coworker, who also hated it, said, "The biggest thing wrong with Maisie Dobbs is Maisie Dobbs." Sigh. I threw it away.
Finally, I decided to give the French a go, with Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner (a pseudonym for two sisters), set in 1890s Paris at the time of a world exposition. The sleuth is a journalist and he was dull and lifeless, except for his infatuation with a young artist that bordered on stalking. And the plot turned out to be completely wacky. I threw it away.
There was one shining light in my past month or two of mystery reading: Bryant & May: The Bleeding Heart, by Christopher Fowler. This series features two elderly detectives working for contemporary London's Peculiar Crimes Unit, and it is just as fabulous and fascinating as the earlier books. The first in the series is Full Dark House. Highly recommended.
I leave you with a one-paragraph description of a side character in Fowler's novel, which shows exactly why I find his work delightfully entertaining:
Rosa Lysandrou was a virtuous, decent woman who knew that the world was a wicked place and that life was short, ugly and disappointing. Most of the time sin and ill fortune surrounded her, seeping into her bones like damp and dragging at her limbs until she sometimes longed for the release that eternal sleep would bring. On other days she cheered up a bit and went to bingo.