I've never been one for following walking tours precisely how they're laid out in guidebooks, and that's not how I used this volume either. However, "Mystery Reader's Walking Guide: London" was one of just a handful of books I brought with us on our recent trip to the UK, and it more than repaid the slight effort of carrying it around.
The authors have divided London into about a dozen sections and crafted a walking tour of each that takes in sites associated with popular mystery novelists and their characters. You could thus take in, for example, both a building where Dorothy L. Sayers once lived and a block that could reasonably have been the location for Lord Peter Wimsey's spacious flat; the address near the British Museum where Sherlock Holmes first took rooms upon coming down from university, and the place around the corner where Arthur Conan Doyle lived when he first practiced medicine in the capital.
I can't begin to claim familiarity with all the authors and books mentioned here, and in fact there were more than a few I'd never heard of at all. But it was proof that there's more to London-set mysteries than Holmes, Wimsey, and other classics. Later writers, up to and including authors contemporary to this book's original publication date, are also included.
Each walk is about three to five miles long, and covers a good portion of the neighborhood on which it's focused. So if you approach this book the way I did, you can still find plenty of real or supposed locations in a given area even if you choose not to follow the walk verbatim. Walks also include recommendations for places to stop and grab a bite or a pint.
Using this book as a reference produced one unexpected bonus: While stopping for lunch at the Museum Tavern ("Echoes of the Bloomsbury group can be heard among stained glass and velvet draperies." -- p. 67), my wife and I met, entirely by coincidence, a reasonably well-known American mystery-writer and his family, vacationing in London! I can't guarantee your mystery reader's walking tour will have the same serendipitous result, but I for one cannot complain.
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About the reviewer
Andrew S. Rogers (Cascadian)
Mostly, I'm a moderately prolific Amazon.com reviewer who's giving Lunch a try as another venue for my reviews.
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An intriguing 13 walks in London, featuring mystery writers and their detectives from Sherlock Holmes to Lord Peter Wimsee and Scotland Yard's Adam Dalgleish. An Ideal book for exploring London by foot or snug in your favorite armchair. Includes places of interest and restaurant suggestions.