Mysterious Matters: Mystery Publishing Demystified: "Mysterious Matters is designed to educate and entertain both writers and readers of mystery and suspense novels with tips, comments, and the inside story of the mystery publishing business."
from my usenet email:-
"This has been a pretty busy season for manuscript submissions, despite (or perhaps because of) the economy. Since Mysterious Matters seems to get the most hits when I write about "things not to do," I thought I'd offer the most common reasons for rejection in the last couple of months. We may not say these things directly in our rejection letters, but we turned down your book because...
1. Your story didn't start in the first 25 pages of your manuscript. You'd be amazed at how many manuscripts have absolutely no action, or no initiating mysterious incident, in the first couple of chapters. Boring your readers in the first two chapters is no way to get a book published.
2. You burdened your early chapters with backstory. You gave me your protagonist's entire life story almost immediately, before I really developed an interest in learning about the protag. Your manuscript was so mired in the past that I couldn't get excited about the present.
3. Your protagonist was too old. Ouch--hard to say this (though it is one of the benefits of blogging anonymously), but the market for geriatric sleuths is limited. So many manuscripts with retired amateur sleuths, living in Florida or some other retirement mecca, and not enough people who want to read about the elderly.
4. You don't write very well. Either your prose is clunky or too ornate; too simple or too complicated; too heavy to sustain your topic or too light to have any gravitas. The ironic thing is that your story may have had potential, but your writing skills just aren't polished enough."
[...] [and so forth ...]