Location, Location, Location

When my first romantic suspense novel, The Paris Secret, was on submission to publishers, I was stunned when an editor rejected it because of the Parisian setting. This editor said that foreign settings didn’t work for her readers. Really? I’m a reader and I certainly enjoy books set in foreign countries. And I know I’m not the only one. Can you say Stieg Larsson? Reading about far off places I’ve never been brings those places alive for me. They take me on journeys I might not otherwise take and all from the comfort of my own home. Here are some of my favorite mystery/suspense/thrillers set in foreign countries.

Murder in the Marais By Cara Black – This is the first book in Cara Black’s wonderful series set in Paris and featuring half French half American private investigator, Aimee Leduc. In this first book, Aimee encounters neo-Nazis; corrupt government officials and fierce anti-Semitism.

Garnethill By Denise Mina - Set in a Glasgow suburb of the same name, Garnethill features troubled Maureen O’Donnell, a woman just released from a stint in a Glasgow psychiatric institute who becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a social worker.

Labyrinth By Kate Mosse – If you’ve read my book, The Paris Secret, you can probably tell I’m a big fan of ‘timeslip’ novels. Set in the Languedoc region of France, Labyrinth features two heroines born centuries apart and connected through time by a quest for the Holy Grail.

Haunted Ground By Erin Hart – The first book to feature American pathologist Nora Gavin and Irish archeologist Cormac Maguire. The two meet when the perfectly preserved head of a young woman is found in a bog west of Ireland.

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death By MC Beaton – This is the first book that introduced the world to the unforgettable Agatha Raisin, a London publicist who takes early retirement and moves to a village in the Cotswold’s. When she cheats by entering a store bought quiche in a local competition, a judge ends up poisoned and Agatha is the prime suspect.

Vodka Neat By Anna Blundy - features Faith Zanetti, the new Moscow correspondent for a leading newspaper--chosen for the job because she married a Russian when she was a teenager. But the minute she steps on Russian soil, she is instantly arrested in connection with the murders, fifteen years before, of a couple from a neighboring apartment.

What about you guys? Do you like reading books set in foreign cities?

Angela : )

Comments

MaureenAMiller said…
Whether I'm a reader or an author, I enjoy foreign settings. Either way I end up learning something that I might not have the opportunity to learn due to the size of my wallet.

I was reading a book set in Australia yesterday and I learned that the light jackets we call "windbreakers" they call "windcheaters". I like that. :)
Rita said…
I certainly agree. I enjoy foreign settings. A character live there be visiting ot simply dream about going. The world is shrinking. In six hours I can be in London or Madrid. Seven in Paris or Roma. Of course this is excluding all the fal-da-ra airport experience. In a foreign setting there are so many ways to up the conflict.
Vannie Ryanes said…
I enjoy reading about adventures in foreign settings. I started Agatha Christie at a very young age, later had a pen pal that lived in London and traveled extensively with her parents.

Since much research often goes into these books, not only do you get a good read, you learn and you can travel to exotic places without leaving your living room.
Elise Warner said…
Since I'm hooked on travel, I love foreign settings in books. Three favorites--England with Reginald Hill's Pascoe and Dalziel and Colin Dexter's beloved Inspector Morse, and Venice with Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti and his family.
Toni Anderson said…
As a Brit and Canadian I enjoy domestic and foreign settings. The States is foreign for me :) BUT I ran into the same 'foreign' setting response from publishers for my Scottish novels. Thank goodness Carina was more 'adventurous'. I love visiting new places through the eyes of writers. I love Paris and have THE PARIS SECRET on my TBR list.
Whoever you sent your book to must be crazy! Of course people like reading novels set in places they've never been to... Setting can even be a character in a book - if it is exotic enough and has a central role to play. BTW like your list of books - I've not read any of them so they are now on my 'to read' list.
Angela Henry said…
Hi Guys!

Maureen-I love learning new cultural things in books, though I wish I had the money to travel instead.

Rita-I agree. Foreign settings are ripe for conflict, which is one reason I wanted to set a book someplace other than the US.

Vannie-My favorite part of writing The Paris Secret was the research. I'm a librarian so I'm all about the research!

Elise-I've heard so many good things about Donna Leon's series. I'm going to have check out.

Toni-Yes! Carina is the best. And I've got Storm Warning on my iTouch!

Pat-Thank you! I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I did ; ).
Kathy Ivan said…
Angela, I love reading books with foreign settings. Who wouldn't love a book set in Paris?

I find if its a well-written story, I can immerse myself into it and just soak up all the culture that spills forth on the page, learning new things as I'm reading.
Marcelle Dubé said…
Yep, I love exotic locations, too. Ken Bruen's Galway... Connie Willis' London... Elizabeth Kostova's Europe... Take me out of my normal setting and you have me curious and paying close attention. All good!
Shirley Wells said…
I adore foreign settings. Given the amount of Scandinavian mysteries we're being treated to at the moment, a lot of other people do too!
Wynter Daniels said…
I love books set in foreign countries. It adds a freshness to a book and I learn more about the setting through the story. European settings are my favorites.
Mike Keyton said…
As a Brit a huge amount of the stuff I read is set in a foreign country ie America! Seriously though, I'd recommend Alan Furst for immersing you in the France and Europe of the interwar years. Also Olivia Manning's 'The Balkan Trilogy'
Stevie Carroll said…
Personally I love reading about as wide a variety of places as possible. I prefer, usually, to write about places I've been, but as that's mostly within Europe they'd all count as foreign to UK editors.

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