Whenever I travel I can’t help but think, “Man, this place would be an amazing setting for a mystery.”
Back in 2011, my husband and I took a trip to Key West, Florida. The haunting City Cemetery, the oppressive humidity, the island’s dark history, it’s buoyant nightlife, and the constant throng of tourists all inspired Dead and Breakfast, the first book in my Cayo Hueso Mystery series. When we were there, I kept jotting down notes. Trying to describe the sounds and smells that emanated from the island. Roosters roam free. Scooters buzz at all hours of the night. Banyan trees encroach on sidewalks. I didn’t finish writing Dead and Breakfast until 2015 but those notes were so instrumental in trying to nail down a sense of place. And I think I achieved the effect.
Recently, my family took a vacation to Niagara Falls. The American side of Niagara Falls is an interesting place — incredibly diverse and incredibly depressed. Lots of boarded up houses and shuttered business. You cross to the Canadian side and you’re inundated with tourists from all over the world. I saw women in headscarves, women in saris, men in sikh turbans, and men in yarmulkes. I heard German and Spanish and French Canadian. Just walking around Downtown, we saw chain restaurants such as Applebees, but we also found hole-in-the-wall, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Kabob places and Indian restaurants and I’m starving just typing this. Niagara Falls on both sides seems like an interesting mix of the bright, cheerfulness of vacationers and the struggling working class of those who support the tourism industry. It also seems like an amazing spot to set a mystery. If only I could’ve been there longer.
What places have you traveled to that you feel would be the perfect setting for a mystery? Where would you like to set a mystery? Please sound off in the comments.