Whether it be the London of Sherlock Holmes or the Ystad of the Swedish Wallander, Dashiell Hammett’s San Francisco or Donna Leon’s Venice, the settings chosen by crime fiction authors have helped those writers to bring their fictional investigators to life and to infuse their writing with a sense of danger and mystery. FOLLOWING THE DETECTIVES follows the trail of over 20 of crime fiction’s greatest investigators, discovering the cities and countries in which they live and work. Edited by one of the leading voices in crime fiction, Maxim Jakubowski, each entry is written by a crime writer, journalist or critic with a particular expertise in that detective and the fictional crimes that have taken place in each city’s dark streets and hidden places. The book includes beautifully designed maps with all the major locations that have featured in a book or series of books - buildings, streets, bars, restaurants and locations of crimes and discoveries - allowing the reader to follow Inspector Morse’s footsteps through the college squares of Oxford or while away hours in a smoky Parisian cafe frequented by Inspector Maigret, for example. Aimed at the avid detective fan, the armchair tourist and the literary tourist alike, FOLLOWING THE DETECTIVES is the perfect way for crime fiction fans to truly discover the settings of their favourite detective novels.Maxim let yours truly loose on the fictional private eyes of Dublin, but don’t let that put you off. The intriguing line-up includes Barry Forshaw (Brighton, Edinburgh, Sweden and Venice), Sarah Weinman (New York and Washington DC), Peter Rozovsky (Iceland), John Harvey (Nottingham), Oline Cogdill (Florida), J. Kingston Pierce (San Francisco), Martin Edwards (Shropshire), David Stuart Davies (London), and Maxim himself on virtually every city in Christendom not already mentioned.
The title is due in September, and already I’m dreading its arrival - the fear of not coming up to the mark has me quaking in the boots I bought specially for the occasion. For what it’s worth, though, the ‘Dublin’ entry concerns itself with the private eyes created by Vincent Banville, Arlene Hunt and Declan Hughes, all of whom are terrific writers, and all of whom I quote liberally, so hopefully I can skate by on their talent.
Incidentally, for those of you wondering where Benjamin Black comes into all of this, he doesn’t, given that his protagonist, Quirke, isn’t a private eye. Which is a shame, but there you go - that’s remits for you. Boo, etc.