When I reviewed Jenn McKinley's Books Can Be Deceiving, I had a few complaints about the amateur sleuth. I complained that she left her door unlocked, and went off on her own without informing the police. One person who commented begged me to allow everyone to discuss their pet peeves about mysteries. (I'm talking about you, Karen Russell, so you better participate!) Then, Esri Allbritten, author of Chihuahua of the Baskervilles, mentioned a couple things she didn't want to see her characters do. She said she would, "Prefer that they not behave stupidly, hide things from the police, or act against their own interests."
So much of that goes along with an abbreviation that was once coined by someone on Dorothy_L, the mystery listserv. I totally agreed with the person who complained about women who were TSTL, "Too Stupid To Live." Why are they meeting someone in a spot in an isolated spot in the middle of the night? Why don't they tell someone where they're going? And, how many covers did you see on Gothic novels in the '70s (dating myself), with a woman in a flowing gown and high heels? High heels? I've complained about amateur sleuths who forgot they had children when they investigated, or forgot about their pets. I've always admired Sara Rosett's character, Ellie Avery, for remembering her children, and placing their safety first. Darn, people. If you're going to give the character children, don't let them go off without regard to the safety of the kids. Or, don't bother to give them kids or pets. I have cats. I go home to feed them BEFORE I go someplace in the evening. So, should a sleuth.
I've already complained about book jackets that are nothing like the book, and that's nothing the author can really address. So, today's your chance to talk about it. What drives you nuts with mysteries? What are your pet peeves? And, Karen? I'm waiting to hear from you.