I had a wobble when I tried to decide what to read for this category. Firstly, I’m in the UK, so I had to decide how I would ‘translate’ the word state – home county? home town? Then, I had the usual problem that I’ve never really known where home was. I spent the longest period of my childhood, I suppose, in Oxford. A small village outside the city centre, which was both quaint and dull and -it’s beginning to dawn on me – I’ll miss it bitterly when my parents finally leave there next summer. But I’ve lived for nearly as long in London, now, and Crystal Palace has begun to feel like a forever home for me.
So, I thought I’d see if there were any novels set in my little part of South East London. Sure enough, Deborah Crombie (who lives in Dallas, Texas of all places) has set one of her Duncan Kincaid / Gemma Jones detective novels not 5 minutes from my house. The first murder happens in a hotel at the top of my hill, the characters frequent my local pub. The police spend hours of their time trying to navigate Westow Hill and the Triangle. It’s great. One character spent his teenaged summers playing his guitar under one of the sphinxes, something I would love to be able to do. That this character then got as far as he could from Upper Norwood because it was so scummy did nothing to quell the magic.
It’s not a bad little crime novel, either. I’ll certainly consider reading some of the others in the series, perhaps on my next holiday (I love a good crime series by a sunny swimming pool; or on a cold, English campsite). It also has the unusual quirk of being a novel about the Met where women detectives are in the majority. I’m not sure how true to reality that is, but it made a nice change.