I’ve posted before about the website Associated Content, from the point of view of writing for them and getting paid for it. Since then I attempted to sign up, but flunked out as I was alarmed by their apparently stringent rights agreement. Seemed to me that if you sign up and write a piece for them, they can then do anything they like with it and, by contrast, you can’t post it anywhere yourself, or have anything else to do with it. I sent them an email to ask them to clarify, but not surprisingly have not had a response.
That story aside, Associated Content has a useful page about free online reading. I am not a fan of online reading, I prefer to read anything at more than a few pages in length in print rather than on screen. But if you are broke and/or don’t mind online reading, the AC page links to some useful portals, for example Gutenberg, University of Pennsylvania and Questia, where you can read online books or find out whether a book you want to read is available online in full-text. Google book search is not on the list, nor does there seem to be a text ad to it 😉
One of the recommended sites is www.mysterynet.com. I went to take a look at that as it bills itself as "Online mysteries, mystery games, mystery books and resources. For everyone who enjoys a mystery… "
My verdict: the site seems a great resource if you are interested in crime fiction, but it is not primarily a source of free online reading of mystery books. There are links to some stories online, for example Sherlock Holmes, but the site is mainly an online magazine. One resource on the site that looks very good is Mystery Books & Resources : "Uncover mystery book picks and authors by genre, and thoughts and perspective from today’s mystery authors." There is a long list of articles, many of which look to be excellent — one is by Jodi Compton, for example, who is a very good author based on the two books she has written so far. There are also articles by Laurie R. King, Lisa Gardner, Lawrence Block, an interview with Margaret Maron, and many others.
On this same link, there is a list of just about all the classic as well as current popular crime-fiction authors, each with a link to a page about their books — blurbs, author biographies and purchase options. Together with resources (eg awards), puzzles, games, etc, this site seems a brilliant one. It is now listed on Connotea Detective. (Not quite sure how I managed to miss listing it thus far.)