Posted by: nancycurteman | December 8, 2012

Great Settings Make Great Mysteries

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Mont smMost mystery novel readers are adventurers. That’s why they read mysteries. One element of a great mystery book is its setting. My novels take place in a variety of settings—“Murder in a Teacup” is set in Eastern Montana, “Murder Down Under” in Australia, “Lethal Lesson” in California. The book I’m writing now is set in Cape Town South Africa. I love to read books set in places I’ve only heard about. Through the printed pages of well-written mysteries I learn about life in far off places. Here is a list of great mysteries set in places around the world.

 South Africa James McClure is the winner of both Gold and Silver Dagger awards from the Crime Writers Association (CWA). His Kramer and Zondi series a white police lieutenant with a black Bantu Detective.

Botswana In Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Precious Ramotswe sorts out the problems in the daily lives of the Botswanans.

India Award-winning author H. F. R. Keating wrote about Inspector Ghote who solves crimes in Bombay.

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Japan Miyuki Miyabe is a prolific author of mysteries and the winner of several awards.

Canada Barbara Fradkin writes a series featuring Ottawa Police Inspector Green. Her novel “Honor Among Men” won the 2007 Arthur Ellis award for best mystery novel.

France Cara Black is the author of a series featuring Paris private Detective Aimee Leduc. Her novels make you feel you’re walking the streets of Paris.

Iceland Award winning author of Icelandic mystery novels, Amaldur Indridason’s most recent novel is “Black Skies” set in Reykjavik.

Sweden Steig Larsson has achieved fame for his trilogy detective novels beginning with “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

Turkey Barbara Nadel’s sleuth is Cetin Ikman, a detective of the Istanbul police force.

Saudi Arabia Zoe Ferraris writes mysteries that expose the position of women in this country. Her latest novel, “Kingdom of Strangers” is set in Jeddah.

Great settings make great mystery novels. Check out Around the World in 80 Sleuths for a good selection of novels from locations around the world.

More tips:
Write Excellent Mystery Novels by Reading Excellent Mystery Novels


  1. Have you been to all these places, then?


  2. Don’t forget Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series…set in Canada in the fictional town of Three Pines. Great series with believable characters.


  3. Alexander McCall Smith books are fun. He has also written mysteries set in Edinburgh.


    • Nancy, It interests me that Alexander McCall Smith has also written books set in Ireland. I went to his web site and I plan to explore more of his witty books.


  4. Thanks Nancy! Great post — I hadn’t heard of many of these authors. I’m looking forward to reading the Turkish series.


    • Nancy, It’s amazing how many great mystery writers there are throughout the world. So many exotic settings. I’ve only touched the tip of the author iceberg.


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