The Da Vinci code by Dan Brown. Long after everyone else, I’ve finally got around to this publishing phenomenon. It kept me turning the pages reasonably steadily, which I suppose is the crucial test for a best-seller. But I found the code and the hero’s efforts to solve it pretty annoying. At one moment, he’s performing incredible feats of reasoning, worthy of a Harvard professor and world-leading symbologist. The next he’s stumped by the most simple-minded of anagrams and unable to recognise mirror-writing. And when the readers need information, we either get presented with slabs of facts directly from the author or, even worse, one character lecturing another about things both should know. Couldn’t we just have links to Wikipedia inserted at appropriate points.
fn1. The contorted plot machinery required to justify the whole thing being in English, despite the setter and intended solver being French, are also fairly annoying.