World Crime Atlas

Retirement project to read a crime novel set in each country listed in The Times Atlas of the World, with special interest in how the author creates a Sense Of Place.

Afghanistan: A Curse on Dostoevsky, by Atiq Rahimi. “If you want a debate about the nature of killing, and about vengeance and guilt in a society where there is no crime as serious as that of betrayal, this is the book for you.”

Albania: Sleeping Dogs, by Thomas Mogford. “A classic detective story with larger-than-life characters.”

Algeria: Double Blank, by Yasmina Khadra. “A bleak vision of a city and people beyond hope and redemption.”

American Samoa: Pago Pago Tango, by John Enright. “Recommended if you have any interest in South Pacific culture, or wonder why there appear to be two places called Samoa.”

Andorra: Death has a Thousand Doors, by Patricia Grey. “Worth reading if you want to know more about a little-known European country.”

Argentina: Needle in a Haystack, by Ernesto Mallo. “A good man swimming against a tide of evil. Don’t expect a neat and happy ending.”

Australia: Truth, by Peter Temple. “Corruption eats at the heart of an ugly, violent city, as huge forest fires threaten to scorch the earth. Recommend you read it with its prequel The Broken Shore.

Austria: Rain Girl, by Gabi Kreslehner. “I struggled to get a sense of location. ”

Barbados: Missing Barbados, by Willem Pain. “Lots of historical and geographical information in travelogue style”

Belgium: The Square of Revenge, by Pieter Aspe. “Lots of references to Bruges’s streets. The author is good at describing the interiors of buildings. But no real feel of the city.”

Botswana: A Death in The Family, by Michael Stanley. “Strong on the cultural landscape, and the hidden tensions that lie beneath the benign face of the country.”

Brazil: The Body Snatcher, by Patricia Malo. “Heat and decay in a sun-blasted landscape.”

Cambodia: Death in the Rainy Season, by Anna Jaquiery. “A fast-growing city where everything is blurred by the intense monsoon rainfall, and the shadow of a brutal past is always present.”

Canada: The Beautiful Mystery, by Louise Penny. “Set in a monastery hidden in a wilderness of forest and lake.”

Cape Verde: Other American Dreams, by Sergio F Monteiro. “Places the small island nation’s problems in the context of global issues of migration and racial prejudice.”

Chile: The Shadow Of What We Were, by Luis Sepulveda. “A land of ghosts flitting in the shadows of what once was.”

Faroe Islands: The Blood Strand, by Chris Ould. ” Strong sense of place, especially in the first third of the book. A place of shrouded mountain and valley, of rain and sea mists.”

France: Three Days And A Life, by Pierre Lemaitre. “A mental landscape of guilt and terror.”

Hong Kong: The Borrowed, by Chan Ho-Kei, trans by Jeremy Tiang.”Limited physical description of place, but a good overview of 50 years of profound social and cultural change.”

Pakistan: Mule Train, by Huw Francis. “Several faces of Pakistan, from its noisy and hot cities to idyllic pastoral countryside.”

South Africa: Nowhere, by Roger Smith. “Peopled by extraordinarily vivid characters, it exposes the ugly, brutal truth behind the Rainbow Nation facade.”



Georgia: Darktown, by Thomas Mullen. “A gripping, shocking tale of a city suffocated by heat and racism.”

Texas: The Last Second Chance, by Jim Nesbitt. “A landscape of heat, dust, danger and deranged people.”


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