Thursday, August 11, 2011

I love a mystery

I love to travel and I love a mystery! That's why, whenever I go on vacation and visit a city that I've never been to before, I search for a local bookstore where I scan the shelves, looking for mystery/suspense novels by local authors. I do this for two reasons. First, I think it's important to support writers everywhere (maybe someday, someone will return the favor) and secondly, because, when I come home and return to my daily life, I can open the pages and escape to the place I've just been. It's a way to hang on to the "vacation" mode, I guess.

Two examples come immediately to mind. In 2004, I visited Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, my favorite of the three. I found a bookstore on Martha's Vineyard and purchased a mystery novel, Murder on Martha's Vineyard, by David Osborn, a local writer. Back at home, I read the book and really liked it so, eager to see if I could find more of his novels, I went to the library and was thrilled to see that they were available. I read them all and was able to stay on Martha's Vineyard a lot longer than my one week vacation allowed.

Another example, in 2009, a friend and I went to Wilmington, North Carolina where I bought two mystery novels by Wanda Canada. I found Island Murders and Cape Fear Murders to be very enjoyable reading. When I got home, I read both novels and felt as if I were still sitting on a pier, gazing out at the Cape Fear river, watching the boats go by. Delightful!


  1. Well, Patricia, if you ever come to Fresno (highly unlikely!) pick up my Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries. I set the stories in Fresno County and the San Joaquin Valley, a part of California overlooked by the rest of the states, overshadowed by San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. Here we are, smack dab in the middle, making raisins!

  2. Hello Patricia, your post about reading local authors hit home with me. I am a Florida writer, and my books are set in Florida. Well, not entirely, but they always will contain Florida content.

    Keep reading locally, we all appreciate it.

  3. Hey there Patricia,
    I enjoy reading about areas I recognize and have visited. I've just started writing a mystery set smack in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY- my long time hood. Can't wait to share it in print. Promise it will have all the highlights that makes this area so dynamic.

  4. Patricia,
    I know of several Iowa writers that base thier mysteries in Iowa. A couple of my stories are based in small towns in Iowa, fictious names, but real none the less. People in the towns might recognize the towns and others will think the town is thiers too. Small towns, you gotta' love them. Great article too.

  5. My East of Los Angeles is in the San Gabriel Valley, which is the part of Los Angeles that no one knows. That's the great thing about reading though. I've passed through Fresno about 30 times, but I never got to know it until I read Sunny Frazier's books. I never would have known Watertown without Exley and without Daphnis and Chloe how would any of us really get a feel for Greece in 300BC?

    --John Brantingham

  6. Hello Patricia, You can travel to the North Carolina mountains through my Appalachian Adventure Mystery series. "Murder at Blue Falls" is set on a dude ranch, "Perfect for Framing" is outside Boone and "One Shot too Many" is in Triplett Valley north of Boone. My romances include downhill skiing (Emeralds in the Snow) and backpacking (Appalachian Paradise. Can you tell that I love vacations?

  7. It's not just mysteries. I based my most recent Kindle re-print in Northwest Arkansas, specifically Fayetteville where the Cherokee and white businessmen organized a wagon train to blaze a new trail to California for the gold rush. It's a western historical romance with lots of action and plenty of history going on around it. Arkansas offers many tourist sites including the new Crystal Bridges Museum scheduled to open November 11, 2011. See you at the new Lake Ft. Smith State Park in the heart of the Ozarks where you can buy lots of books about the area by local authors.

  8. I'm posting for Leslie Diehl, who had trouble commenting on this site:

    I too love to read mysteries set in the area I'm visiting. In general, I find mysteries with a strong sense of locale good reads because they educate me about the area. I love the mysteries set in the Hill Country of Texas by Susan Wittig Albert as well as Mary Daheims's two series set in the state of Washington. If you're in upstate New York, check out my microbrewing series set in the beautiful Butternut Valley and you'll learn about beer and ale The first one is called A Deadly Draught. I also write about rural Florida and what it's like to be a winter visitor there among the cattle, cowboys, and gators. That one is Dumpster Dying.

  9. I know what you mean, Patricia. Last fall, I had a fantastic family trip to Savannah, so naturally I picked up Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I also love Key West, and "extended" my many vacations there by writing a novel that's largely set there.

  10. Sunny Frazier pointed me here. I am a fellow Oak Tree Press author. My mystery novel, A Lesson in Murder, takes place in the exotic locale of Philadelphia. It focuses on the city's Quaker past. I think the TV show with Dana Delaney does a good job of showing Philly, except for the photo-shopped building where she works.

  11. My soon-to-be-published book is set in Evansville, Indiana. It's a "fish out of water" story with a protagonist from Los Angeles who has a West Coast snobbery about smaller towns. I grew up in Southern Indiana but I don't live there anymore.
    Sally Carpenter
    "The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper"
    Oak Tree Press

  12. In my western novel, Blessings, Bullets and Bad Bad Men, you not only get the flavor and feel of a story set in New Mexico, your vacation also takes you into the area's colorful past

  13. My books are set in Des Moines, Iowa. I'm familiar with the area and I get to use reall place. Of course, I change the name of some of the businesses. Good luck!

    Stephen L. Brayton

  14. Place can be so important in work of literature. I love how you figured out reading about the vacation destination can extend the experience.

    I like to go to Berlin. Lots of books about Berlin are very heavy but I enjoy reading them anyway.

    It's kind of like when I was living in Spain. I ran to the TV to watch every Matlock or Telly Savalas show (I know, I'm dating myself and boy am I a fun date) just to see some "home".

    Marta Chausée, author
    Resort to Murder mystery series