Monday, 6 February 2012

Coming home from the Canaries








Many thanks for your comments whilst I was away - apologies again for the delaying in publishing them. I'm now back in Britain, and as I look out of the window, there is fog, ice and traces of yesterday's snowfall. All a far cry from life last week, when I was on a cruise around the Canaries and it was about 25 degrees warmer.

Islands fascinate me, but I've never visited the Canaries before, and I can't recall coming across a book set there. There must be one, surely? Or more, given that Tenerife and Lanzarote are such popular destinations? If you know of any mysteries set in the Canaries, please do let me know.

I'd also be interested to know recommendations generally of good mysteries set on islands. My own list would be topped by And Then There Were None. It's a long time since I read The Skull Beneath the Skin by P.D. James, but I did find it less satisfying than her best books. Panic Party by Anthony Berkeley has its merits, and of course Ann Cleeves, with her Shetland Quartet, has captured the fascinating yet sometimes claustrophobic nature of island life very effectively. A very clever and little known book by Eileen Dewhurst, Death in Candie Gardens, has a splendid setting in Guernsey, where Eileen used to stay with the widow of the late thriller writer Desmond Bagley. And Chris Ewan is soon to publish a new book set on the Isle of Man, which I will feature here before long.

Other ports of call included Agadir, in Morocco, a place I found interesting but less so than Marrakech. Of the Canaries, I think my favourite was Lanzarote, with a trip to some fascinating places designed by Cesar Manrique, including the amazing grotto (second picture from the top; others feature Lanzarote, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, the lovely La Palma and Agadir.) But the stand-out destination was one I'll mention in a separate post tomorrow.

13 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - Oh, gorgeous 'photos!! Thanks for sharing and welcome back.

jiescribano said...

Martin I don't recall at this moment of any book set there, but certainly some books were written there. You can see my posts on Agatha Christie visit to the Canary Islands: http://jiescribano.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/following-agathas-steps-canary-islands-february-1927/
and http://jiescribano.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/agatha-christie-route-puerto-de-la-cruz-tenerife/

Carol said...

Hello, Martin. This is my first time to post here but I've been following your blog for some time, and enjoy your books as well. I'd add Christianna Brand's "Tour de Force" and "The Three-Cornered Halo" to your list of island-based mysteries.

Hannah Dennison said...

I haven't been to Lanzarote for twenty years but I really liked it. Great photos!

Christos G. Makrypoulias said...

Lovely photos, Martin. There is a guy called Jose Luis Correa, a professor at the University of Las Palmas, who writes crime fiction set in the Canary Islands. Unfortunately for you, it is in Spanish and I could not locate any English translation of his work yet. This is his agent's site: http://www.thesusijnagency.com/JoseLuisCorrea.htm

Paul Beech said...

Hi Martin,

I’ve noticed you always seem to return from cruises creatively inspired! Hope you managed to get some useful thinking done for the novel in progress.

As for murder mysteries set on islands, I can wholeheartedly recommend ‘The Blackhouse’ by Peter May, the first novel in his Lewis trilogy. Wow, this is gripping stuff, a dark, atmospheric, beautifully crafted psychodrama in which DI Fin Macleod returns to his native Lewis to investigate a grisly murder, a mission which takes him deep into his own past. Maybe you could post a review?

All best, Paul

Jessica Mann said...

Oh Martin, many many island mysteries! Just for example,
Christie - And Then There Were None
P.D.James The Lighthouse
Natasha Cooper's new series set on Isle of Wight
Lots in Scandinavia, eg Johan Theorin uses Oland, Mari Jungstedt uses Gotland
Roderick Jeffries' series on Majorca
And lots of older ones, Andrew Garve (Scillies), my own No Man's Island -I could go on for pages.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks very much for your comments.
Jose Ignacio - terrific! Thanks for reminding me. In fact, I did see a photo of Christie in Gran Canaria, though there was no explanation of her visit. Your blog post on the topic is splendid.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Carol - welcome, and thanks for your comment.
How could I have forgotten Tour De Force when I read it less then three months ago? Gosh. I haven't read The Three Cornered Halo - is it good?

Martin Edwards said...

Christos, thanks - that really is tantalising! Sadly my Spanish is confined to a few words....

Martin Edwards said...

Paul, the great thing about a break is the chance to think more widely, isn't it? I've heard good thing about Peter May's book. I met him a couple of times years ago. But my current TBR pile is already daunting...

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks. Jessica. Now I confess I haven't read No Man's Island. A gap I really must remedy!

Carol said...

I'd recommend it - same colorful setting as "Tour de Force," a few of the same characters, and if memory serves, the detective here is Inspector Cockrill's sister. Same terrific writing, of course. I've never read anything by Brand I didn't like.