According to Sophie Hannah, the author of the new Poirot novel, crime writers are often forced to use fictional towns and counties because of a British obsession with class. This is to avoid, she says, readers attaching preconceptions and regional prejudices to a real place in their novel. I can understand the point but it’s outweighed by the feeling of place that many readers enjoy. Iceland, Oxford, Ystad in Sweden and Edinburgh have all been settings for crime novels and enjoyed an increase in tourism as a result, although it must be strange to be shown into the (real) Oxford bar in Edinburgh where (fictional) Rebus is a regular.
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