Why would somebody write "the biota exhibited a 100 percent mortality response" when he really meant all the fish died? Sometimes people use jargon to be taken seriously, sometimes to be clear and precise, sometimes to not work so hard, and sometimes to deliberately evade and confuse. This essay humorously examines the various motivations for using jargon in both good and bad communication.
Love mystery? Then you'll love this book. Hate mystery? Then YOU'LL love this book. Pronzini is a fount of information about the "best" (read: hilariously inept) in mystery fiction. He's read every book ever written in the genre, it seems, and shows genuine affection for the form.