I have a confession to make: I love old pulpy mysteries. The hard-boiled detectives. The overuse of the adjective "hard-boiled". The hyperbolic titles, such as "A Fistful of Death" or "Pay-off in Blood" (actually a pretty good one, by Brett Halliday). But, like a desperate punch thrown by a self-confessed murderer/ess, sometimes the titles just don't land. Also, I didn't buy any of these.
Exhibit A: Don't Die Under the Apple Tree
Accused of: Being preposterous--it's okay to die, just not THERE--and overly confident--First in a new series!
Verdict: Guilty on all counts.
Exhibit B: Dumb Witness
Accused of: Being overly judgmental and confusing--dumb as in stupid or dumb as in unable to speak or both?
Verdict: Guilty of an unnecessary pejorative
Exhibit C: 10 Little ... did I read that correctly???
Accused of: Racism.
Verdict: Guilty in the UK. Not Guilty in the USA.