Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Five Places to Tap Into Your Inner Sleuth

Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon, authors of Novel Destinations, a new book about literary locations around the world, join us today to tell us about a few sleuthy vacation destinations. Come back next Wednesday when we review their new book. 

Raymond Chandler Tour, Los Angeles
Explore the city Raymond Chandler knew and portrayed in his hard-boiled detective fiction, beginning with the introduction of private eye Philip Marlowe in 1939’s The Big Sleep. Among the stops on Esotouric’s “In a Lonely Place: Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles” bus tour are the grand lobby of the 1896 Barclay Hotel, formerly the Van Nuys Hotel, where a murder-by-ice-pick occurs in The Little Sister, and the locale where a likely model for Marlowe worked as a beat cop. 

Oxford, England

Oxford resident Colin Dexter used the medieval-era city as the milieu in thirteen novels feaaturing Inspector Morse, who debuted in Last Bus to Woodstock and later became the star of a popular TV series. Morse had a taste for Oxford’s copious drinking establishments, among them the Eagle and Child (49 St Giles), where he and his sidekick, Inspector Lewis, theorize over pints. Fans can follow in the character’s footsteps on the Inspector Morse Walking Tour. Another mystery writer with Oxford ties is Dorothy L. Sayers, who hails from the city and used it as a setting in Gaudy Night and Busman’s Honeymoon

The Sherlock Holmes Museum, London
Visitors to Sherlock Holmes’ Victorian-era quarters at 221b Baker Street can be forgiven for thinking he might appear there at any moment. The fictional detective’s space has been vividly re-created just as it’s described by Arthur Conan Doyle in “A Study in Scarlet” and other tales. On display are his most prized possessions, including his deerstalker cap and the Persian slipper where he stored his tobacco. Then have a pint at the memorabilia-packed Sherlock Homes pub, which featured as the Northumberland Hotel in The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Agatha Christie’s Greenway, Devon, England
In the drawing room at her elegant riverside estate, Agatha Christie entertained lucky guests with readings from her newly completed manuscripts. The writer’s 18th-century holiday home-turned-museum—which inspired the setting for the Hercule Poirot tale Dead Man’s Folly—looks much as it did when she was in residence with personal possessions intact. Visitors are invited to stroll through the house at their leisure, admiring objects like Christie’s 1937 Remington portable typewriter and a mother-of-pearl inlaid chest, a souvenir from Damascus. 

Dashiell Hammett Suite, San Francisco
The atmospheric Dashiell Hammett Suite at the Hotel Union Square is fashioned to evoke Sam Spade’s office in The Maltese Falcon, complete with the name of his detective agency, “Spade and Archer,” stenciled on the window. Hammett booked his fiancĂ©e a room at this hotel (then known as the Golden West) before their 1921 wedding. Around the corner is John’s Grill, a favored haunt of both Spade and Hammett, who was a regular during his stint as a Pinkerton operative. Their preferred meal, lamb chops with a baked potato and sliced tomatoes, is still on the menu.


  1. Thanks for featuring Shannon and Joni for the tour!

  2. Nice post.Thank you so much for sharing this post.