RARA-AVIS: geography guiding plot?

From: Carrie Pruett ( pruettc@hotmail.com)
Date: 29 Nov 2001

Mark wrote:

<<. I'd be curious if there are crime novels that make
>strong use of a city's geography to guide plot >>

I'm not exactly sure what you're looking for but a few come to mind - Lehane's "Mystic River," though strictly speaking dealing with an "invented" neighborhood is very much about the tension between old and new in a changing city. I don't see this much in his other books, except "A drink before the war," where Patrick's crossing into Roxbury (the "black" Boston, at least as laid out in the book) has a lot of significance to the racial geography and tensions in the story.

George Pelecanos's DC books give a lot of importance to place - I'm thinking of the Sweet Forever particularly. Granted I may just be more aware of it because I know DC better than most of the cities I read about, but when I read these books I've always got a mental map of where the characters are at any given time. (This is somewhat inherent in DC-area geography where so many things are defined as Northwest, Southeast, or by their position relative to the beltway).

Someone mentioned John Shannon's LA books, which focus on the natural as well as the manmade landscape (geology as much as geography). Then there's Connelly who uses the Angels Flight railroad - as well as canyons freeways and drainpipes - symbolically.


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