Murder on Tour
Murder on Tour is the name of the book group at the center of my debut mystery, Murder at the Book Group. As reading and traveling are my two favorite activities, it’s no surprise that my fictitious characters share my passion. For me, half the pleasure of traveling is reading crime stories set in my destination spot.
Before visiting Ireland I read several titles by the late Bartholomew Gill whose police procedural series, set in Dublin, features quirky characters and plots. I was taken aback on finding that Mr. Gill (pseudonym for Mark C. McGarrity) was an American of Irish descent who lived in New Jersey! He did, however, earn his masters’s degree from Trinity College in Dublin.
Siren of the Waters by Michael Genelin did not prepare me for Bratislava. The author made Slovakia’s capital dark and shadowy, with danger lurking around every corner. But I got off the tour bus and saw a bright and charming city on the banks of the Danube River. Granted I was just there for two hours … did Bratislava don an appealing façade for my visit?
Finding mysteries while traveling is always a treat. At the Alexandra Book Store in Budapest I asked for a mystery by a Hungarian author. Translated, naturally (otherwise I’d be in the market for a really good dictionary!). The helpful staff directed me to a section devoted to Hungarian-translated-into-English titles. I selected Quarantine in the Grand Hotel by JenŐ RejtŐ (authentic Hungarian letter “o”), a hilarious whodunit penned in 1939. It’s a traditional English country house mystery, Hungarian style.
The Alexandra Book Store is celebrated for its magnificent ballroom turned café. I could have spent hours in this Renaissance style space, gazing at the fresco ceiling, gilded molding, and exquisite chandeliers. I enjoyed a tasty lunch that was quite reasonably priced. View this video of the café.
Juneau, Alaska boasts three independent bookstores where I could have spent days. I made it to two of them—the call of the ship, you know—Hearthside Books and Rainy Retreat Books. The friendly proprietors recommended works by Alaskan authors Sue Henry and John Straley.
Back to the Murder on Tour group: in chapter one the group gathers to “travel” the state of Florida. Soon-to-be victim Carlene Arness is pitching a fit about the poor writing that pervades Murder in the Keys by an Annette with a last name containing a string of consonants. Out of respect for my fellow authors, I made up this title and kept the author name vague. I hope and pray that an Annette with a consonant-laden last name doesn’t up and publish such a title.
The other selections are shared without drama or author maligning. Among them are The Paperboy by Pete Dexter, the dark story of a Florida newspaper family during the late sixties; Raymond Chandler’s classic Key Largo; and A Deep Blue Good-By, the first in John MacDonald’s color-coded series. Due to my runaway word count, works by Carl Hiaasen, Nancy J. Cohen, Elaine Viets, and Edna Buchanan ended up on the cutting room floor, to borrow film parlance.
Bon voyage and happy reading!
My favorite resource for travel reading ideas is the Stop You’re Killing Me! Location index. SYKM is a mega database that lets you hunt down mystery authors by location, anywhere in the world.
Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive.
Visit Maggie’s web site at www.maggie.king.
Nothing can kill a good book group discussion like cold-blooded murder. Especially when the victim is one of the group’s own. Cyanide is the topic du jour for the mystery fanatics of Murder on Tour, but for their poor hostess, Carlene Arness—who just published her own whodunit—it makes for a surprise ending. One minute, Carlene is speaking animatedly about featuring the poison in her new book. The next, she’s slumped over in a chair, dead from a sip of tea. Did the writer take her research too far? Or did one of the group’s members take a love of true crime to the extreme?
Founding member Hazel Rose is rounding up suspects. Any of her fellow bibliophiles could be the killer. And she soon discovers that almost all of them had a motive. Even Hazel herself, whose ex-husband married Carlene, could be accused of harboring jealousy. The truth is, Carlene wasn’t just hard to read, she was also hard to like—and the scandalous secrets Hazel unearths would make Carlene’s idol, Agatha Christie, turn over in her grave.
Purchase Link AMAZON
Sounds interesting! Again, Maggie, thank you for sharing with us today!