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Crime In The City

A summertime series about fictional detectives and the cities where they live


Click on the pins to discover the cities featured in this series. (You can also click here to view a larger map.)

Hardcore With A Heart: Joburg Thrillers Star A Spunky P.I.()  

Jassy Mackenzie was born in Rhodesia and moved to South Africa when she was eight years old. She edits and writes for the annual publication Best of South Africa.

September 2, 2013 Jassy Mackenzie's crime novels, set in Johannesburg, star the not-always-law-abiding private investigator Jade de Jong. Mackenzie says that de Jong and "Joburg" are well-matched: both the P.I. and her hometown are intimidating on the outside, but kind once you look beyond the surface.

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Mystery Series' Portly P.I. Peels Back The Layers Of Delhi Society()  

Humayan's Tomb, a 16th-century Mughal garden tomb that helped inspire the Taj Mahal, is one of several UNESCO World Heritage sites in Delhi.

August 29, 2013 Tarquin Hall's mystery novels, starring the Punjabi detective Vish Puri, are a merry introduction to India's cultural and culinary delights. Puri, who calls himself the subcontinent's "most private investigator," tackles corruption, forbidden love and the clash of science and superstition.

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Awaiting The Apocalypse In The Quiet Town Of Concord()  

The view down Main Street in Concord, N.H., reflects the community's small-town feel. Author Ben Winters doesn't live in Concord, but he sets his mystery novels there — he says the city's peaceful, unpretentious atmosphere makes it an appealing setting.

August 22, 2013 Ben Winters' mystery novels are set in the capital of New Hampshire, a community hardly known for its crime or intrigue. The twist? In his books, the planet is about to be hit by an asteroid, and everyone knows they're soon going to die. Amid the chaos, one Concord cop fights for law and order.

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In 'Alphabet' Mysteries, 'S' Is Really For Santa Barbara()  

The Santa Barbara County Courthouse, a Spanish-Moorish landmark, was built in 1929.

August 15, 2013 Private investigator Kinsey Millhone is one of the most well-known characters in modern crime fiction, but there's another star in Sue Grafton's thrillers: the fictional city of Santa Teresa, based on Santa Barbara, Calif.

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Bodies On The Boardwalk: Murder Stirs A Sleepy Jersey Shore()  

The Jersey shore's iconic Star Jet roller coaster was inundated after Superstorm Sandy.

August 1, 2013 When he was a kid, writer Chris Grabenstein loved tourist towns, so he set novels in one of his favorites — the Jersey shore. He says one of the great joys of writing is coming up with an interesting place to drop the body, like a roller coaster or a tilt-a-whirl.

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In Nairobi, A Maasai Detective Pursues Elusive Justice()  

Richard Crompton sets his novel in 2007 Nairobi, a time when a small elite held power over an impoverished, restless majority.

July 22, 2013 Former journalist Richard Crompton set his first novel, a crime thriller, in a city that many still know as "Nairobbery." His protagonist, Detective Mollel, is a warrior for justice in a city that would happily settle for peace.

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G-Man Fights Crime, And A Medical Disorder, In Kansas City()  

Author Joel Goldman has found there's plenty of true crime to write about in the Kansas City metro area.

July 15, 2013 When Joel Goldman was diagnosed with a medical condition that makes him shake and stutter, he quit his law practice and started writing novels inspired by true crime in the Kansas City area. Eventually, he gave his disorder to FBI Agent Jack Davis, one of his main characters.

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Rotenberg's Toronto Thrillers Mix Canadian Courtesy With Murder ()  

From the Toronto Islands, one of many real-life Toronto locales in Robert Rotenberg's legal thrillers, visitors have a clear view of the city's skyline.

July 1, 2013 Lawyer turned author Robert Rotenberg takes great pains to re-create the relatively calm atmosphere of Canadian courtrooms in his suspense novels. But not all of his characters play by the rules. "Well, they are murder mysteries," he says.

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Code Switch

Ever-Changing L.A. Links Walter Mosley To His Mid-Century P.I.()  

Little Green opens in 1967 and follows Easy Rawlins' search for a young man who disappeared after visiting the Sunset Strip, seen here in 1966.

June 24, 2013 Six years ago, the mystery writer sent Easy Rawlins off a cliff, seemingly killing him. Now, Easy's back on the streets his creator once called home. Mosley says other than Los Angeles, he and his detective hero don't have much in common, but NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates begs to differ.

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In Neville's Thrillers, Belfast's Violent Past Still Burns()  

Bonfires light up the Belfast skyline on July 12, 1997, as Protestant loyalists commemorate the 17th century victory of a Protestant king over his deposed Catholic predecessor. Known as the Battle of the Boyne, the confrontation is part of a long history of tensions in the region.

June 17, 2013 The capital of Northern Ireland is no longer the city of snipers that it was before the Good Friday Agreement, but novelist Stuart Neville still draws inspiration from the decades of violence. In The Ghosts of Belfast, he examines the shattered life of an IRA killer in the aftermath of The Troubles.

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