On the Poe’s Deadly Daughters blog, there was a post recently about using small town settings.
Sandra Parshall mentions several appealing aspects of these settings: descriptions of attractive scenery, reader nostalgia for simpler times, and limited suspects.
I love the gossipy elements that small-town settings provide. I grew up in Anderson, SC (pictured above….my kids and I went to see my family over July 4th) and well remember how everyone knew everyone else. And, actually, how they could put this knowledge in context with their family. Like: “Oh, well. Yes, he was messing around. But his daddy messed around and his granddaddy messed around and I can remember that his grandMAMA messed around, too. It’s in his blood….”
When you have an amateur sleuth and no forensic lab helping him or her out, gossip and scuttlebutt is incredibly important. It can supply red herrings or actual clues….the reader and the sleuth won’t know which is which until the end of the book.
Books I’m reading: The Private Patient by P.D. James