Until this point, I hadn't really seen the allure of mysteries; and it's possible you could say I still don't, in one sense, since I'm not exactly flipping my reading/writing preference from "F&SF" to "M." But I do now "get" why people read these books, and understand that these books are worth reading, and, without further ado, it's been a blast to enjoy them for myself - for two reasons.
One, they're awesome. Hard Case Crime has yet to disappoint me. Partly, this may be because I'm new to the genre, and certain little gooferies - like two-dimensional villainesses, and generally shallow protrayals of women all around - I can laugh off, insofar as I'm a novice to the club and I haven't yet seen how the club next door is a lot nicer (proverbially speaking). Contrarily, when I read a fantasy novel, the writer's got a lot of work to do to impress me - because I've seen this, this and that already, and I'm about to go for it again. Still, I'm generally impressed with Hard Case's authors: the works are short (me like), fast-paced (me also like), and deliver satisfying tales with good apotheoses (also also like).
But the other reason it's good to read this stuff is just simply that I don't read this stuff. It's a blast to pack away some enjoyable fiction that's written in a realm I don't quite understand. The fact that this is still a "genre" definitely weighs on the tomes: I can smell the capital-M mystery shelves from which they have come. But that's in a good way, and the various structures, dialogues, archetypes and techniques that these authors use are handy material for expanding my own vocabulary of style. Much as I love fantasy and sci fi, you've got to get beyond your comfort zone sometimes - especially when you get really, really picky about your comfort zone.
Although, in a cosmic irony - or, whatever - it was fantasy that turned me on to noir in the first place. Although Pornokitsch gave me the necessary tools, the inspiration was drawn down when I read in an interview that Joe Abercrombie was reading a bunch of noirs before he got cracking on his First Law trilogy. I, being an enormous fan-boy, decided to do the same.
Because, y'know, I've got a best-selling fantasy series awaiting me in the near future.