There’s no mystery about the popularity of mysteries. We all love to search for clues and figure out whodunit and, with luck, figure out whodunit before the author tells us. But just beneath the mysterious surface, there’s something else which is extremely entertaining and, often, even more intriguing. Mysteries always introduce us to new, or at least unexperienced, places, the people who inhabit those places and the times and the cultures which make the locations come alive.
New England? Mystery writer Robert B. Parker takes you to Boston (check out the Spenser novels) and the shore (Jesse Stone).
England between and after the wars? Agatha Christie is an expert on cities and villages and those who live in them. Old England? Conan Doyle, Sherlock and Watson at your service. Oxford? Ask Colin Dexter and Inspector Morse for an insider’s tour.
Southern law firms? John Grisham will take you inside.
Police Departments? In New York, hang out with New York’s 87th Precinct (Ed McBain). Prefer L.A.? Joseph Wambaugh and Michael Connelly open the doors for you.
Have a yen to watch 1950-60s Florida evolve from sugar cane fields to condominiums? Travis McGee (John D. MacDonald) is a wry, wise tour guide.
Seedy neighborhoods old and new, urban and rural on your itinerary? There’s no finer expert than Elmore Leonard. Rough and tumble Hollywood? Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett will lead the way. The west of cowboys and tribal casinos capture your fantasy? Robert Craig’s Walt Longmire will show you.
California’s coast sound inviting? Start at “A” and let Sue Grafton do the driving.
Those are just a sample. Dorothy Sayres can take you to 1920s London; George Simeon’s Inspector Maigret is your man in Paris. Louise Penny knows the remote Canadian village of Three Pines like the back of her hand; Harlan Corbin can help you join the golf tour or the pro tennis circuit.
Travel the world, meet new and interesting people, see glorious sites, dine with the locals, check out the scenery – wherever you want to go, a good mystery will take you there.