Maggie King is the author of Murder at the Book Group, published in 2014 by Simon and Schuster. She contributed the short story, “A Not So Genteel Murder,” to the Sisters in Crime anthology Virginia is for Mysteries. Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor.
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.
Murder on Tour is the name of the book group featured in 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, much of the pleasure of traveling is reading crime stories set in my destination spot.
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?
I read Murder in Mykonos by Jeffrey Siger before embarking on my cruise through the Greek islands. I gave five stars to Petros Markaris’s Deadline in Athens; unfortunately, the author does not depict Athens in a good light. The few references he makes to the city are comments on the traffic-clogged streets and the smog. The story could be set in any city plagued by traffic and air quality problems. Did Mr. Markaris want to discourage tourism? He didn’t discourage me and by the time I got to Athens in 2012 the city had made great strides in a massive cleanup effort. I’d go there again in a heartbeat.
Before visiting Ireland I read several titles by the late Bartholomew Gill whose police procedural series, set in Dublin, features quirky characters and plots. Dicey Deere’s The Irish Village Murder is a cozy set in Ballynagh and Ken Bruen’s The Magdalen Martyrs features a private investigator in Galway. I didn’t make it to Ballynagh but I found Dublin and Galway charming cities in a charming land.
Moving on to Turkey, honorable mention goes to The Gigolo Murder: A Turkish Delight Mystery by Mehmet Murat Somer. The Turkish delight series takes place in Istanbul and stars Burçak Veral, an IT professional who moonlights as a transvestite nightclub hostess. While in Istanbul, I did not run into anyone who might have inspired the entertaining Gigolo Murder ;-).
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 quirky and hilarious whodunit penned in 1939. It’s a traditional English manor 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, the old-timey type where I could have spent days. I only had time to visit 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.
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.
The New York Public Library offers suggestions in “Travels as an Armchair Detective: Mysteries with a Sense of Place”.
Bon voyage and happy reading!
One lucky reader will win an audio
book of Murder at the Book Group by
Maggie King, narrated by Susie Berneis.
To enter the drawing, leave a comment
below naming your favorite destination
spot for crime stories. The winning name
will be drawn Friday evening, April 24th.