Looking for Some Writing That Evokes a Sense of Place? Pick up a Good Whodunit.

Travel Blog  •  Michael Yessis  •  06.11.03 | 12:16 AM ET

So says Reggie Nadelson in a vivid essay in the June issue of Travel + Leisure. The author of “Red Hot Blues” and “Hot Poppies” examines the importance of place in crime novels and recounts a few events from her own travels that led to specific scenes in her books, including a trip to Hong Kong that influenced the latter book.

“I was interviewing some very rich people, who took me gambling in Macao and shopping in the Central District,” she writes. “It was just before the Chinese took back the city; there were demonstrations, people were nervous. It was infectious. What I remember most clearly is getting off the train from still-British Hong Kong into Shenzhen in the People’s Republic. Thousands of workers poured off as well, and I felt myself drowning in a sea of people. All I could see was a man near me, his hands rising out of the mob, holding a toilet aloft. The scene went into the book whole.” The piece includes a sidebar on the most evocative “travel thrillers,” if you will. Among the featured books and the places they reveal: Peter Høeg’s “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” (Denmark and Greenland); Martin Cruz Smith’s “Gorky Park” (Russia); and Raymond Chandler’s “The Big Sleep” (California).

Tags: Asia, China, Hong Kong

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