Top Ten Tuesday: Settings I’d Like to See More Of

I’m a day late with this post!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topicSettings I’d Like to See More Of. One of the joys of reading is that you can be transported in time and place to anywhere in the world. I love to read about places I’ve visited as well as those I never have.

Places I’ve visited:

Wales is one of my favourite countries within the UK. . I Bought a Mountain by Thomas Firbank is just one of the books I’ve read, set in Snowdonia, or more precisely the Dryffyn Valley where on the south slopes of the Glyders Thomas Firbank bought a sheep farm in 1931. It’s a book that made me want to move to Wales immediately. 

Oxford – the City of Dreaming Spires is one of my favourite places and is captured in Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse books. The Dead of Jericho (not the Jericho in Israel, although I have been there too – I haven’t read any books set in that Jericho) is an area of Oxford near the Oxford Canal, just outside the original Oxford City wall. It was originally a place for travellers to rest if they had reached the city after the gates had closed

Martin Edwards’s Lake District Mystery series  are novels based in various locations in the Lakes, one of the most beautiful areas of England – one of my favourites is The Arsenic Labyrinth in which Edwards explains that although the crime scene is imaginary, arsenic was mined at Caldbeck.

Appin between Oban and  Ballachulish is in a beautiful area of Scotland. Castle Stalker, a 15th century tower house built by the Stewarts of Appin is on a small island in Loch Linnhe, just north east of Port Appin. It’s the setting for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped, a fictionalised account of the “Appin Murder” of 1752.  Castle Stalker is the location of Castle Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh in the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The Cairngorms are in another beautiful part of Scotland. A book that tells of real-life mountain rescues is Cairngorm John by John Allen who was a Team Leader in the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team. ‘Cairngorm John’ was his call sign when in contact with Search and Rescue helicopters.

Cambridge – there must be many books set in Cambridge, but the only one I’ve read in recent years is Ninepins by Rosy Thornton set in the Cambridgeshire Fens. I’ve visited Cambridge, but not the Fens, but I learnt a lot about them in this book.

Rome – I’ve been there a few times inspired by my love of history, reading about Ancient Rome, for example in Colleen McCullough’s Master’s of Rome series of novels, and more recently in Mary Beard’s SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome.

Paris – I have plenty of books set in Paris to choose from, including Simenon’s Maigret books, Claude Izner’s Murder on the Eiffel Tower set in 1889 when the Tower was newly opened, but my favourites have to be Fred Vargas’s Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg novels. The first one, The Chalk Circle Man is set in Paris where strange blue chalk circles start appearing on the pavements.

Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, Italy – Robert Harris’s novel, Pompeii begins just two days before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and builds up to a climax. A wonderful book.

Places I haven’t visited but would love to are:

Shetland Isles – to see in person the locations shown in the BBC TV Shetland series based on Ann Cleeves Perez novels with their beautiful descriptions of the landscape, conveying a real sense of place. They are all excellent, an example is Dead Water, the fifth in the series.

Another place I’d love to visit is Venice. I’ve read a few books set in Venice and amongst them are Donna Leon’s excellent Commissario Guido Brunetti detective series, for example in Drawing Conclusions. Venice comes to life for me in the descriptions of the locations. I want to read more of these books and am on the lookout for other books set in Venice.

14 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Settings I’d Like to See More Of

  1. I’d love to visit Venice and Shetland, too, Margaret! And I couldn’t agree more about both Cleeves’ and Leon’s ability to evoke those places. For me, it’s the mark of a talented author when you really feel that you’re in the place depicted, but also not overburdened with detail, if that makes sense.

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    1. No, I haven’t! thanks for the info – I’ve just checked the library catalogue and they have several of her books, but not Cambridge Blue! I shall investigate further.


    1. Well, if only … My mother’s side of the family are Welsh and although I’ve been there many times and for a while we did own a static caravan we’ve never actually made a permanent move.


  2. I’d like to go to most of your destinations. Wales is about the only one I do actually know fairly well after many holidays there plus my grand-daughter at is uni in Swansea. Oddly though I hardly ever read anything set there.

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    1. The Living Mountain sounds lovely, Nan – I hope I can get a copy! And I’ll have a love at the Oxford Tearoom books too. thanks for letting me know about them. I don’t care for Endeavour much either.


  3. Fellow blogger Victoria Blake has written a great historical novel set in Venice. It was originally called Titian’s Boatman though the name was later changed to The Return of the Courtesan, which I think makes it sounds too much like a romance, which it isn’t. I 5-starred it, and not because I “know” her… 😀

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