I love islands – especially small ones. They seem to me to be tranquil places, yet full of mystery. The best Golden Age detective story (in my opinion) is set on a small island – Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. And the enduring appeal of the island setting is highlighted by the success of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
For years, my favourite island has been Herm, in the English Channel, a marvellous little place, but now it has been displaced at the top of my list by Holy Island, aka Lindisfarne (not to be confused with the 1970s folk/rock group of the same name), off the coast of Northumberland, not far from the Scottish border.
Staying overnight in the Old Manor House, right next to the ancient priory, was a great experience. The weather was glorious and that meant plenty of opportunity to explore the main sights, even though time ran out before it was possible to roam to some of the less visited parts of the island.
Holy Island is a place of pilgrimage, and no wonder. I found it utterly fascinating. I am not aware that it has featured in any mystery novels, though perhaps Ellis Peters or Peter Tremayne may have set medieval stories there. But it would be a perfect setting for a modern day mystery in the classic mould.