Wednesday, August 22, 2012


     While straightening out my files, I came across an article I had written about the Holy Meteora in Greece on the north-west border of Thessaly where clusters of surreal, rugged black masses of rock stand guard over the villages of Kalambaka and Kastraki. On their giant pinnacles, disciplined communities of monks and nuns live in isolated monasteries known as the Holy Meteora. By the end of the 15th century there were 24 monasteries that served as a repository for Greek culture. A system of ladders, nets, ropes and pulleys, in a winching tower suspended over an abyss, transported food, bulding materials and the monks. Religious faith (or a sense of humor) would be needed--the ropes--the story goes--were only replaced when they frayed and snapped. Seems like the perfect place for a mystery. Agia Tridada, the monastery of the Holy Trinity, located on a narrow spire, was the site for the James bond film, For Your Eyes Only with Roger Moore.
     I began thinking about how place affects the mystery and my first thought was about Ellis Peters and her books about Cadfael, a monk who lived in the 1100s in Shrewsbury, England in the monastery of Saints Peter and Paul. Could Cadfael have lived anywhere else?
     Then there's Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti who lives in Venice, well respected and well-fed by a loving wife. Where else but Venice?
     Tony Hillerman's mysteries take place in the southwest amongst the Navajo tribes. Here Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee solve crimes and keep criminal behavior in check. the land was made for Hillerman's mysteries.
     Mention Oxford, England--the fictional Oxford England and the reader is enthralled with Inspector Morse and his fictional heir, Inspector Lewis. Walk around Oxford and you'll find fans of the series wandering around looking for the places where they solved crimes usually committed by Professors and students.
     What mysteries and authors and places can you suggest?



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