MURDER IS EVERYWHERE—Sunday, 25th February 2018
Writers must make for strange travelling companions. And crime writers must make for the strangest travelling companions of all. Mostly, we are not there simply for the view. When I visit anywhere that I’ve pencilled in as a possible location for a novel, I’m looking for something specific – something that could only happen in that place, or where the place dictates the action to begin with. I generally want to see the grubby backstreets rather than the tourist hotspots.
Take my trip to France earlier this month, for instance. On the homeward leg, I was due to fly out of Nice, which presented the ideal opportunity for some on-the-ground research.
Nice is a beautiful city on the Mediterranean, if you discount the package jets flying into the beachfront airport at regular intervals during the day. The Promenade des Anglais runs from the airport for 7km along the seafront. Known to locals as “La Prom” it is a place to stroll, cycle, skate, or sunbathe, and to be seen doing so. Until the Bastille Day attack of 2016, that is.
I was interested to see a bit of La Prom, but mostly to check what additional security barriers and precautions had been brought in over the last two years. London bridges these days have concrete and steel central reservations worthy of a motorway.
Mainly, though, I wanted to see the harbour. Or, more particularly, the boats therein. Ever since I lived aboard as a child, I’ve been fascinated by yachts, from the traditional to the sleekly modern.
Their ports of registration were interesting to note. The majority were from the Channel Islands or Malta, and the reasons behind that will make intriguing further reading for me, no doubt.
This week’s Word of the Week is Pantagruelian meaning enormous, and originating in the late 17th century from Pantagruel, who was the giant in Rabelais’s novel of the same name.
This week sees the launch of CULPRITS: The Heist Was Just the Beginning, edited by Richard Brewer and Gary Phillips. The book is an anthology, but not in the usual way. The editors wrote the opening set-up – the heist and the complications that followed. The contributors wrote what happened next, and I’m proud to be a part of it. If you’re on NetGalley, you can order a copy for review now.