Monday, February 13, 2012

Location, Location: Creating Fictional Towns for Mysteries

It's a cold, windy day up here on the ridgeline, and it's hard to tell from one minute to the next whether it's snowing, or just gusts of February throwing up flakes from an earlier dusting. I shot a few photos last week of the river at the foot of the road, to remind myself of how tricky it can be in winter: From some angles it looks frozen solid, as if you could walk across it, but the movement of water under the surface keeps the ice fragile and treacherous. I expect I'll include this aspect in an upcoming story.

The Maine Crime Writers blog has a great new piece by "traditional" mystery author Kaitlyn Dunnett, on how she created the Maine town of Moosetookalook for her character Liss MacCrimmon. I enjoyed Dunnett's newest mystery, Scotched, and look forward to more in this series of neatly enfolded plots and likeable characters.

So, along the same train of thought, here's an interview with Louise Penny, provided by J. Sydney Jones -- I like Penny's approach to "playing God" with the village of Three Pines, where more than half the action of her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series takes place.

And here's one more intriguing post, from Rob Kitchin -- with reference to crime novel locations as handled by Raymond Chandler and Janet Evanovich, as well as his own.

Your turn: Do you prefer a fictional location for crime fiction, or a place you already know, like Lawrence Block's New York City? Give an example, would you please?

1 comment:

Helen Pike said...

I want the real thing! Or as close to it as possible. Grafton changed some of the coordinates for the fictionalized Santa Theresa for her alphabet series, but left enough of the town's character intact so that if you visited Santa Barbara you could experience a "look and feel" of where Kinsey Milhone exists. Besides, why should New York, Boston, Los Angeles or Chicago reap all the cross-marketing opportunities? The Trenton (NJ) historical society had their highest turn-out (3 buses had to be ordered) for a tour and lunch in 'the burg' of Stephanie Plum's Jersey corner. What a hoot to tour the public rooms of a funeral home, a bakery, and a bail bonds office! Mine, natch, would be somewhere (!) on the Jersey Shore!!