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Following the Detectives: Real Locations in Crime Fiction [Paperback]

Maxim Jakubowski
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

25 Sep 2010
Whether it be the London of Sherlock Holmes or the Ystad of the Swedish Wallander, Dashiell Hammett's San Francisco or Donna Leon's Venice, the settings chosen by crime fiction authors have helped those writers to bring their fictional investigators to life and to infuse their writing with a sense of danger and mystery. "Following the Detectives" follows the trail of over 20 of crime fiction's greatest investigators, discovering the cities and countries in which they live and work. Edited by one of the leading voices in crime fiction, Maxim Jakubowski, each entry is written by a crime writer, journalist or critic with a particular expertise in that detective and the fictional crimes that have taken place in each city's dark streets and hidden places. The book includes beautifully designed maps with all the major locations that have featured in a book or series of books - buildings, streets, bars, restaurants and locations of crimes and discoveries - allowing the reader to follow Inspector Morse's footsteps through the college squares of Oxford or while away hours in a smoky Parisian cafe frequented by Inspector Maigret, for example. Aimed at the avid detective fan, the armchair tourist and the literary tourist alike, "Following the Detectives" is the perfect way for crime fiction fans to truly discover the settings of their favourite detective novels.

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: New Holland Publishers Ltd (25 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847737013
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847737014
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 604,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"There's lots of material here to satisfy longtime crime-fiction enthusiasts as well as newcomers to the genre" --The Rap Sheet Blog

"A perfect Christmas stocking-filler for crime-fiction afficionados" -- The Times, November 2010

"..hugely informative, well-illustrated book" -- Daily Mirror, October 2010

"an entertaining new book that every crime reader will want to own" -- Suite October 2010

"...provides signposts to fresh reading matter that one might not otherwise have noticed" -- Bookdagger, October 2010

"...would make a swell Christmas gift for crime fiction aficionados"
-- Mellotone70up Blog, October 2010

"...The maps and photographs and general liveliness of the essays will make them hugely appealing to any detective fiction enthusiast - particularly to those who want to experience the haunts and sights of a city in relation to their reading of favourite crime writers"., December 2010

About the Author

Maxim Jakubowski spent many years in publishing, during which time he was responsible for several crime imprints. He opened London's Murder One bookshop, which he ran for 20 years, and now writes and edits full-time. He is a winner of the Anthony Award for best non-fiction crime book of the year for 100 Great Detectives, and has also been shortlisted on a further occasion. He has compiled many anthologies including the annual Mammoth Book of Best British Mysteries for six years, Pulp Fiction, Future Crimes, London Noir, Paris Noir, Rome Noir, Murders for the Fireside, No Alibis and many others. He is a regular broadcaster on radio and TV, reviewed crime fiction for Time Out and the Guardian for 17 years and lives in London.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but the maps are sadly lacking 17 Dec 2010
By Annabel Gaskell VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Taking twenty key locations in crime novels and investigating what the areas mean to the authors and their detectives, this book contains a mine of useful information. From Inspector Morse's Oxford to Wallander's southern Sweden, from Brunetti's Venice to Marlowe's LA each of the locations gets an essay by various crime cognoscenti summarising the authors' uses of their chosen setting, together with sidebars on other detectives based there, films set there, useful websites etc, illustrated with book covers, stills and graphics. All good stuff.

Then there are the maps ... At the end of each section is a map of the area or city in question, with a few key locations and street names marked, plus some small text boxes with pointers to locations specifically used in the books being analysed. This was where the book fell down for me, for the maps were so bland, so lacking in detail and they were hardly worth bothering with. Take Laurence Block's New York where his two most famous creations, Bernie Rhodenbarr and Matt Scudder work - A lot of Scudder's work takes place in Brooklyn - but there's no text box pointing to this borough, which isn't even named on the map, and three of the eleven boxes on this map are general explaining Hells Kitchen etc. I could make similar comments about Sara Paretsky's Chicago - no real landmarks on this map, in Dennis Lehane's Boston Harvard doesn't exist, and neither does the Eiffel Tower in Simenon's Paris. Added to that some of the maps would have been better turned on their sides so there was less wasted space at the sides, and a bigger scale to fit in more detail. I just felt that more detail really helps to fix the location, how districts link together etc.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Withnail67 TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This book would make a great present for any reader or enthusiast of crime fiction. In essence, it's slightly misleading in its title: what you really get your money, in addition to N interesting guide to the locations of various sequences of crime novels, is an efficient and attractive readers guide to modern crime fiction, rooted in place, and providing loads of useful connections to other books that might take your fancy. As such it would make a really really good gift, and I enjoyed reading it a great deal.

The book is sizeable and chunky, and runs to a good 254 pages the paper quality is good, thick and cardboard like! I am a little concerned about the binding, which is quite simply paper and glue: I'm a little worried about how durable alternate B. Anyway, if your copy falls apart, it will be to repeat reading and enthusiasm! The range of writers covered is impressive obviously, the Sherlock Holmes's London, but you have to wait until the very last couple of entries for that. British readers will enjoy seeing Brother Cadfael's Shropshire, and Inspector Morse's Oxford of course. Then the book really takes off, and you get a range of different locations ranging from Rankin in Edinburgh John Harvey's Nottingham and Paretsky's Chicago. I was familiar with all of these already, but the book is pleasingly balanced between Maigret's Paris and Wallander's Sweden, as well as newer writers such as John McDonald, Arnaldur Indridason and George Pelecano.

The book is really attractively produced with of us really energetic and lively use of graphic design and text. The lavishly coloured location maps would be pretty attractive as posters. The book is really is a treat for a crime fiction reader and I can thoroughly recommend it. The editor has managed the Murder One bookshop in London for some years, and his enthusiasm for, and mastery of, this genre really shines through in this book. Enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight and Lukewarm on Locations 18 April 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It was a great idea to explore the real-life haunts of fictional detectives, but the lack of any real detail made this book a bit of a let-down for me. For example, in the Sherlock Holmes chapter, a host of buildings featured in the novels of Conan Doyle are listed in an uninspiring bare-bones fashion (Kings Cross Station, House of Commons, St Pancras Hotel), with no additional detail whatsover provided. Wouldn't it have been infinitely more interesting if the author had visited one of the locations in question, perhaps bought a drink, stopped to people-watch and described the interior decor to us, at the same time reminding us how the buildings in question featured in the novel? Likewise, in the Brighton chapter, though Sussex House and Patcham's All Saints Church get a mention, there are also many infuriating references to anonymous backstreets and grocery stores supposedly frequented by Roy Grace, which are far too sparse to bring the locations to life.

There's quite a lot of superfluous padding too, in terms of plot rehashes, lists of TV versions of the books, and biographies of some of the detectives (height, weight and colour of eyes don't seem that relevant to real-life locations to me). Visually it's an attractive book, with colour photos, cartoon-like artwork with a crime theme, and double-page maps. Though even the visuals don't stand up that well to close scrutiny, with hardly any street names on the aforementioned maps, making them essentially useless.

This could have been a really good book if the locations had been confined to Europe, or even just the UK, and the author had made more effort to visit them (or, if he did, to convey a sense of location and atmosphere more convincingly).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite useful
This is the sort of book that could be a good present for a crime fan, or perhaps yourself. There's lots of information here, regarding both the authors, and the particular series. Read more
Published on 15 Mar 2012 by Basement Cat
4.0 out of 5 stars A guide to the mean streets
If you enjoy reading crime fiction you'll probably love this book. Editor Maxim Jakubowski, crime writer and retailer himself, has collaborated with various crime cognoscenti to... Read more
Published on 27 Oct 2011 by Pitoucat
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag; interesting but a little unrewarding
This large-format coffee table book should have been a winner for me: the majority of my reading comes from the crime/thriller genre, and I'm extremely familiar with many of the... Read more
Published on 19 July 2011 by Rowena Hoseason
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost but not quite...
With Maxim Jakubowski in charge, you know this is going to be good.

Its impressive in its choice of detectives and locations, from Morse to Marlowe, from LA to Venice. Read more
Published on 22 Mar 2011 by El Loro
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must For Crime Fans
This book is a nice idea. It describes those locations featured in a number of well known crimes novels. Read more
Published on 4 Mar 2011 by Nick Huckle
1.0 out of 5 stars A dissapointing cash-in
I ordered this with some anticipation, being a great fan of detective fiction, expecting some quality photographic travelogue of the famous places where foul deeds had fictionally... Read more
Published on 14 Feb 2011 by The Penguin
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Fascinating
This book is a great guide to the locations featured in some of the best crime fiction out there. From Robicheaux's New Orleans to Rebus' Edinburgh, the locations are as varied as... Read more
Published on 14 Feb 2011 by ratscat13
4.0 out of 5 stars Crime scene locations - stalking the detectives?
This is a very well-presented, nicely laid-out book that provides comments on the geographical locations of detective stories in 15 cities and 6 regions around the world. Read more
Published on 28 Jan 2011 by G. E. Harrison
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately a bit superficial
I wanted to get on with "Following the Detectives". I enjoy travelling, experiencing the atmosphere of strange new places. Read more
Published on 16 Jan 2011 by Alexander Whiteside
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read for crime fiction fans
Following the Detectives is a sort of travel book for fans of crime fiction. The book features a large number of famous fictional detectives (Morse, Wallander, Sherlock Holmes etc)... Read more
Published on 7 Jan 2011 by TheLibrarian
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